A friendly reminder: October 1st marks the deadline for reporting your Washington state recreational crab totals from the summer season. As you can tell from this post's title - our scorecard wasn't that impressive this year. The crabs won...and here's how they did it.
Trick the humans.
Before this season, I'd never crabbed. I was born in Iowa, alright people? The fact that I've lived a little bit salty these past few years feels like triumph enough. So, it may come as no surprise that I picked up my first trap and it turned out to be the wrong kind.
It was right in the front, on sale, and it was even on display in a boat! This was the wrong kind (pictured above). This is the kind that you use from the dock...not what we needed since we were setting the trap from a boat. But there we are, setting it, leaving it, and returning to catch...our bait. Crabs: 10 points.
Turn your captors vegetarian.
How in the world can so much seaweed end up on my trap? Well, at least there is a crab inside. Actually, no, there isn't. At least I have something to do on my dinghy ride home - clean the veg off of the trap. Crabs: 5 points.
We come in peace.
No they don't. The first time I pulled up my trap with one of these dudes I was excited that I actually caught a crab! These are not crabs. These guys do however eat all of the crab bait. I'm also pretty sure that crabs are scared of them...and I am a little bit too. Crabs: 7 points. Sunflower sea stars: 21 points (1 for each tentacle on the dude below).
Distract the captors.
I do like watching sailboat races. Sometimes I would go out to mess with my traps and instead end up enjoying a front row seat at some of Shilshole's CYC sailboat races. I always wondered though - why do the big boats usually race right next to the breakwater while the little dinghies usually race way out towards the shipping lane? Crabs: 5 points. Dinghies: 10 points.
Send in the ladies.
As you can see by the mark on the bottom of that crab (one that I finally caught) - she's a she. That means no go - throw her back. Which I did. Crabs: 5 points. This fisherman playing by the rules: 5 points.
Turn the humans against each other.
Do you see my crab trap in the picture above? You don't? Me either. Someone stole it. Maybe I just lost it? But then it happened again. Crabs: 5 points. Thieves: -100 points. Isn't there supposed to be some law of the sea about stealing?
Finally, despite being down by 32 points, I finally came through. "Barnacle Bill" (below) was male and big enough to bring in. Me: 5 points and a crab dinner.
Location, location, location.
I listened to some advice from folks who were scoring major crab-catching points and dropped my trap in some different locales. It worked. Me: 10 points and 2 crab dinners.
I crabbed a lot this season. I dropped traps by kayak, sailboat, & dinghy. Morning, evening, you name it. My total catch for the entire season? 3. Not so good. I demand a rematch next summer...until then crabbies!
Crabs (winner) - 37
Me - 20
Thieves - negative 100
Sunflower sea stars - 21
Dinghies - 10