The crabs have won.
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
9/24/2012 12:27:36 pm
Well done! And how true. Not the best year for crabs, but like you I lost my best trap to a trap thief, a low, dirty dog if there ever was one, I say.
dave in kent
9/24/2012 03:07:55 pm
Crabbing in Elliott Bay is a tough. However, if you stick with it there are some crabs (and lots of starfish) there. We've lost pots (note the plural) but after considering how many recreational and commerical (huge) ships pass through the stretch of water from the Elliott Bay Marina to West Point, we've decided to chalk it up to a pilot driving over our crab bouy and dragging it off to "who-knows-where".
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