ferret

crabbing 2019

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2 hours ago, brentwayne said:

They are here is S Jersey.  Got some decent size males and females last weekend although the numbers weren't that great.  I think all of the rain screwed them up  .Ended up with 10 males between 5-6" and threw back as many females around the same size.  All full of meat.    Should be good to go this weekend and next.  Game on.

 

BBFish- are you scapping crabs?  At night?

 

I don’t think scrap yards pay much for spent blueclaw shells

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You guys don’t recycle your used crab shells?

 

Sea bass carcasses in the crab trap have paid off handsomely. 4 crabs w/ 1 keeper and a gorgeous sallygrowler. I had put some scraps in the killie trap too and we got an eel. My 5yr old son was in heaven checking those traps. He lives for that stuff. :)

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went out yesterday 5/28 with my daughter and her friends, anchored near a large bridge and hand lined chicken, was very difficult to net the crabs at the boat because the water clarity was horrible, most of the keeper sized crabs were females, after an hour and a half we released the four males in the live well and went to cruise the bay 

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Went out again today for about 1.5 hrs- end of high tide. Only managed to bring home 10 jimmies but had at least 30 females- with a couple pregnant.  Had one pull with 6 large females and a few with 3-4.  Hit from 10-3 ft depth.  Most coming in at 3-5 ft.  Deeper waters had very few.  

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8 hours ago, ferret said:

this is the earliest in the year I have ever crabbed, is the large female thing common in May?

This is an old post from a commercial crabber in Long Island, Crabman. This may help answer your question:

 

think anyone would agree with you that we would not take a crab with eggs or sponge. A sook or #3, which is a mature female crab, here in NY has to be 4 1/2" point to point. It's kind of a useless regulation, most crabbers would not take hard sooks that small. Our buyers would be enough to regulate our catch. They would be pissed if I gave them a bushel of 4 1/2" sooks. A normal bushel of sooks would hold about 120 crabs. At 4 1/2", the bushel would hold around 200.

 

The problem with putting a size limit on a sook is the over zealous DEC officer. Could you imagine having Crab Narc inspecting your thirty to forty bushels of crabs. At what point are you violated? One crab? Five? Ten/bushel? A percentage of the total catch? There are 4,000-6,000 crabs on the boat with 30-40 bushels. As I said, our buyers regulate our business through their customers.

 

And what if you did catch a sook smaller than 4 1/2", if it were not for your buyer or your desire to eat a small crab, what good would it do to throw it back? Would you want it to grow and perhaps catch it again some other day? No reason to do that.

 

During the average female crab's lifetime here in NY and NJ, she lives two years at the most. Most die at a year and a half. They are spawned in the ocean as the bays are too brackish. The salinity has to be high in order for the crab larvae to survive. That is why in June, we see all the sooks leaving the bays and heading out the inlets with sponge attached. They cast the eggs in the ocean and return in late August and September. At this point, they are a year old. That winter, 90% of the sooks will die on the bottom and never cast another egg although they do have a secondary immature egg inside their body. That immature egg is the delicacy for the mostly Chinese market of winter blue claw crabs.

 

I dredge crabs in the winter. Ninety percent of my crabs are female. I've been doing it a long time. I would be the last person to want to see anything happen to the blue claw crab population. Anyone going out and seeing our operation is amazed at the amount of crabs we can catch when crabbing is good. The question of catching so many females always comes up. It's hard to explain until that same person comes out with us in the late winter. In February and March, almost all the crabs coming up are dead. By the spring, all but a few are dead. The dead crabs are reabsorbed into the bay and the cycle begins again with their spawn from the previous June and the ocean currents that washed them back into our bay.

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Long overdue first trip of the year. Wife and kids are out of town at the in-laws. Needed some dinner so went out solo for about an hour after the winds settled and got more than enough. I'll take steamed crabs over any fish that swims any day of the week. So good.

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