Feeling a little crabby? An easy and relaxing family activity is crabbing. There are no hooks to bait or wiggly worms to deal with, and many people think crabs are a lot easier to cook, clean, and eat.
In the state of South Carolina, you don’t need a license if you are crabbing with three or less drop nets, fold up traps or hand lines. Fishermen need a license to crab with a crab trap or pot.
Equipment is minimal – a bucket, a crab net (available at any hardware store, bait shop, or Wal-Mart), 10- to 12-feet of sturdy string with a chicken neck attached above a two-ounce sinker. A dock, pier, boat, or sea wall makes the best crabbing site, although you can do it from shore if there is no wave action.
Crabs don’t like to be seen, so if your chosen spot has murky water, the crabs may be close to shore. If the water is clear inshore, then throw your line further out. Tie the line to something – the pier rail, the bucket, or a sturdy stick that you can push into the sand. Then … wait.
When a crab is nibbling at your bait, give him time to get a good grip, and then pull him up and scoop the net under him. He has to be five inches point-to-point to be a keeper. Also note that a crab with an orange spongy underside is a female with eggs. The law requires you to throw her back. Keep your crabs wet or on ice until you cook them.
If you would like to learn more about crabbing, there are companies that will teach you how to catch crabs using crab pots, crab lines, and cast nets.
For more information, contact:
Crabber J II (Adventure Cruises) (843-422-5110)
Dolphin Seafari (843-785-2345)
Live Oac Adventures (843-384-1414)
Outside Hilton Head (843-686-6996)