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Diving for crab in the puget sound

Discussion in 'Pacific Northwest' started by JZA, Jun 29, 2013.

  1. JZA

    JZA Angel Fish

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    I've been crabfishing my whole life in the sound, both with traps and by hand in tide flats. Crab season opens on Monday, and this will be my first summer in the sound as a diver... I know all the WDFW regulations as they pertain to trapping crab, but I'm struggling to find any info from WDFW regarding diving specifically. I have my shellfish license for the season. Can anyone direct me to this information?

    Also, I've recently heard about the kelp crab, which can't be caught by traps, as they are vegetarians and have no interest in your bait, but I've seen them while diving and know I could catch them. Is it legal? If so, what are the regs?

    Anything else out there I should be looking for that can contribute to a tasty 4th of July feast?
     
  2. Mustang29

    Mustang29 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Oregon
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    Here is the State of Washington crab info: Recreational Crab Fishing | Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife

    There are no specific diver related regulations. Just general size and take limits.
    Depending on where you are diving, look for clams and oysters to add to your feast.

    As for me, now that I'm a diver, I will never throw another pot. Much better to just go get 'em.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2013
  3. TSandM

    TSandM Missed and loved by many. Rest in Peace

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    My understanding is that the tastiest crabs are the Dungeness. The red rock crabs are nearly as abundant, but not supposed to be as good to eat.

    Catching crabs on scuba is an absolute HOOT, and it's very popular. Make sure you have a good catch bag and a measuring device -- if you get out of the water with undersized or female crabs, you can get ticketed, even if your intent was to figure them out on land and put the forbidden ones back in the water.

    Be prepared for totally blown viz when crabbing on scuba.

    There is nothing on earth like eating lightly boiled, totally fresh Dungeness crab!
     
  4. BRT

    BRT Giant Squid

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    Hey Lynne, You should try some Red Rock Crab. I think they are better than Dungeness, but certainly not as big.
     
  5. TSandM

    TSandM Missed and loved by many. Rest in Peace

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    One of my friends went crabbing yesterday and said they were virtually all soft-shell. I don't think he found any to take home.
     
  6. JZA

    JZA Angel Fish

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    He went yesterday? Season just opened up today. Thanks for the info guys, like I said I was aware of the general regulations, just wanted to make sure that nothing was different when diving. Looks like it isn't.

    Mustang - already dug two 5 gallon buckets of clams, and the neighbors have oyster beds :D We've also got some frozen shrimp left from when shrimping was open in May.. maybe I can try to find scallops?

    As for the soft shells, I would have to guess they just weren't looking in the right place? At the place I go on Whidbey, there is never a shortage. In the past we've just waded in knee-deep water and picked them up, it's really easy - even the kids do it and we always catch our limit. Seems to be even more effective than traps. I really don't need SCUBA to catch crab, I'm just looking at it as a way to incorporate what have previously been two separate hobbies!

    Dungies and red rocks both taste great. A little more claw meat on the red rocks, more leg meat on the dungies. Harder to find red rocks that are big enough, but you can take both male and female.

    I'll report back with the results once I get out there. I didn't get to dive today, and crabbing is closed the next two days - I'll be diving on the 4th.
     
  7. TSandM

    TSandM Missed and loved by many. Rest in Peace

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    Maybe he went yesterday morning. I get confused about my days when I'm working nights :)

    This was at Mukilteo. He said all of them appeared to have molted recently. He could not find hard-shelled ones.
     
  8. JZA

    JZA Angel Fish

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    Ok... I believe when dungies reach maturity they only molt once a year compared to about six times a year as juveniles. So I would guess they're juveniles, because I don't think the adults molt this time of year (that would make it bad timing for the beginning of crabbing season IMO - could be wrong though?)
     
  9. nwbrewer

    nwbrewer Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Woodinville, Wa
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    They did molt recently, but are now firming up nicely. Still some soft shells for sure, but better than a 50/50 split. Go out and get some!
     
  10. ADeadlierSnake

    ADeadlierSnake DIR Practitioner

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    Location: Seattle, WA
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    Lynne, I second the suggestion that you should try red rock crab! They taste just as good as dungeness (in my opinion). Although maybe I only felt that way because I am not one to be picky about fresh crab. I do also enjoy taking the red rock crab because they seem to pinch much harder than the dungeness, and I always enjoy a good fight with a crab. It is entertaining =P
     

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