First of all, let me apologize profusely for seemingly abandoning my faithful readers for such a long dry spell of writing inactivity. Life happens sometimes. It’s been an interesting, challenging, and transitional past year, but I feel like I’m finally getting my inner muse back, which will hopefully translate into a bit more consistency of articles here.
Probably the most popular question I’m asked by readers is “Where can I go crabbing without a Boat?”
Up until just recently, I really haven’t had a reasonable response. Good deep water public docks are a rarity these days, and the ones still around don’t produce much success, with the exception of a few barely legal rock crabs.
One of my good friends, Bill Bailey, a fellow real estate professional here in Kitsap County, is a wealth of knowledge and practical expertise when it comes to all things in a shell. Last year, he introduced me to the fine science of ‘Squid Jigging.’ And this past month, I was initiated into the elite club of Crab Rakers.
Yes, you heard it right, Virginia, crab raking. What, pray tell, is crab raking, you ask?
Imagine crabbing where you don’t need a boat – that deep, fathomless, money-sucking vacuum. Or gas at nearly $5.00 a gallon. Or towing the boat on a trailer that constantly loses a hub/bearing nearly every season, or losing rubber rollers that cost an arm, leg, or firstborn child! Or where you don’t have to pay through the nose for salmon guts for bait!
Imagine that you’re on a Easter Egg Hunt, only this time, it’s for Crab! That’s right, you simply walk around the tidepools during low tide (a minus tide is preferred), pick the crab up with your rake, and drop them into a bucket!
Actually, it’s more like a 4-prong steel claw cultivator, not a traditional lawn rake. And the bucket I use is just the orange Homer bucket from Home Depot with a lid so they don’t crawl out!
The only caveat in raking for Crab is waiting for all the elements to line-up:
Weather, Tides, Time of Day/Night
Weather: While you can rake for crab during just about any weather, it’s preferred to have a night when there is little to no wind or rain. Too much wind or rain makes it difficult to see down through the water to find the crabs. Not entirely impossible, mind you, just more difficult.
Tides: This goes without saying. The lower the tide, the better your chances. Minus tides are preferred. Check with SaltwaterTides.com for the tide schedule here in the Puget Sound area.
Time of Day/Night: Crab prefer the dark, so ideally, it’s better to rake for crab at night. A strong, wide-spread beam headlamp is a must-have. Home Depot has a nice inexpensive selection.
Sounds too good to be true? Trust me, when you’re heading back to the truck with a limit-filled bucket, you’ll have your boat posted up on craigslist in a heartbeat! (well, not really, but you’ll certainly be tempted!)
I don’t think I’ve had such a fun time crabbing in a long time. Of course, anytime spent with my friend Bill is always a guaranteed good time!
Be prepared to do a good amount of walking around, but it will only serve to help create a healthy appetite for all the crab you’ll catch! A good pair of waders (preferrably chest waders) are nice to have. We rarely waded in over our knees, but some tide pools can be a tad deeper.
Now you’ll notice that I’ve intentionally left out a crucial element of a successful crab raking expedition – the place(s) to go. Well, I’d tell you where we go, but then, I’d have to kill you, or Bill would kill me, either one.
Suffice it to say, it’s best to wade out into level tidelands, preferrably sandy areas. Look for seagrass or kelp beds. Crabs love to stay hidden along the edges!
One more suggestion: When you go out raking for crab, since it’s a low tide, take time to dig up a few clams – manilla, littleneck, butters, etc.. That way, if your crab raking outing isn’t fruitful, you’ll at least have the clams as a fall-back!
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Rich Jacobson is a licensed real estate professional with Keller Williams West Sound providing knowledgeable empowerment and relentless representation for his clients of residential properties and vacant land throughout all of Kitsap County WA and portions of Pierce, Mason, and Jefferson Counties. You can also find him at KitsapLife.com, SOUNDBITEBLOG, ActiveRain, Everyday CK, Facebook, Twitter, or e-mail: email@example.com