As part of expanding our access to local food year round, Brian and I have taken up fishing in the last year. Lake fishing, mostly trout so far, but we’re interested in expanding into saltwater – and I’ve got a nascent interest in flyfishing that I might investigate this fall when I accompany Brian on some hunting expeditions (I don’t hunt, but I’m thinking it’s the perfect opportunity for some fishing and photography).
So! In keeping with the get-out-and-learn-new-stuff-about-food theme, we went to Belcarra on Saturday with our friend (who just bought a crab trap) Leung and spent the afternoon on the sunny dock getting nicely toasted (read: burned) while waiting for the crabs to take our bait. In general, I would not recommend Belcarra on a sunny Saturday as the pier is overcrowded – but for a first time it was excellent because 1) they have a park employee and volunteers out there on the weekend to answer all your questions and 2) there are so many people crabbing that you get a real feel for the variety of traps and techniques out there.
While we didn’t catch anything we could keep (all female and/or undersized), I did come away with a lot of confidence for doing more crabbing in the future. If you are interested in heading out for an afternoon of crabbing in the lower mainland, here are some things worth knowing:
As with anything there is lots ot know about trap types and locations – but it turns out that the crabbing itself is really very simple. Bait trap, drop or throw it in the water, wait (15 minutes with the half-circle traps, one hour or longer with the drop traps), pull in and discard whatever you aren’t allowed to keep. You can use tongs or work gloves to minimize risk of being pinched, or simply pick the crab up from its back end so the claws are out front. Also picking it up from the top of its carapace and turning it upside down is another way to avoid claw injuries.
Obviously this is a popular time for outdoor activities, so crabbing anywhere on a weekend is bound to be busy. We’re hoping to take advantage of my Mondays off work, and our willingness to go out in the dismal months of late fall to get some quieter and more productive crab fishing done.