Do you love blue crabs? Then you will certainly love what the Outer Banks has to offer, with blue crabs available nearly everywhere you go. If you are near the Corolla area, I highly recommend a trip to Currituck Heritage Park by Whalehead for some good old fashioned OBX crabbing.
When you enter the park, turn right and follow the road to the end. Our favorite place to crab in the Outer Banks is along the historic bridge to the right of Whalehead Club. However, you can crab off of any pier or bank and find a good catch.
Here is what you will need to go crabbing in the Outer Banks:
You will also need a net to scoop up the crabs, a large bucket or cooler and the cheapest poultry you can find. We have used chicken necks, turkey necks and fatty pieces of cut up chicken. If you don’t have a throw line you can make one with a thin rope or clothesline and a clothespin to hold the chicken.
If you are using a hoop net, attach the chicken to the middle of the net before you throw it in the water. What’s next? Wait, stay hydrated and enjoy the beautiful sights of the Currituck Heritage Park. Allow some time to pass for the crabs to sense the chicken and crawl in to the net. With some patience and luck you will be pulling the crabs out in no time!
If your crab becomes entangled in the net, hypnotize it. Yes, you can actually hypnotize a crab in order to take it out of the net! To hypnotize a crab, gently turn the crab over and rub the bottom of the shell. Your crab will begin to relax, enabling you to release him without causing him harm.
When you are crabbing with a throw line it helps to have someone with you for the adventure. Clip or tie the chicken to your line and lower it in to the water. You don’t want to throw it too far or you may lose your crab before you get him within scooping distance.
Wait until you feel your line being tugged and then s-l-o-w-l-y pull the line towards you. When you feel the crab is close, gently pull the line up and be ready to scoop him out of the water with a long net. This is where the second person comes in handy. We always like to have a “puller” and a “scooper.”
You cannot keep a crab if it is less than five inches from tip to tip. If the crab has eggs, she is called a sponge crab and must be thrown back. The catch limit is 50 crabs per person. If you catch this many, I would like to go crabbing with you. Please?
Do not place your crabs in a bucket of water unless you plan to drown them and make them unsafe to eat. Rather, store them in an empty bucket that is placed in a cool area. If it is extremely hot you can put some ice in the bottom of the bucket or cooler and place newspaper over the cubes.
Our last crabbing trip was in the beginning of July. 75% of the crabs we caught were not big enough to keep. As the summer continues, the crab size will increase. If you have kids, they will love the Outer Banks crabbing experience no matter what size the crabs are.
Some people steam or boil crabs live. Others pull off the back of the crab and clean them before cooking:
I love to cook blue crabs in water, beer and Old Bay. You can dip the crab meat in vinegar and then Old Bay once it is cooked, dredge it in butter or simply eat it right out of the shell!
Do you need a fishing license to go crabbing in North Carolina? No, not if you are using an open trap such as a hoop net or throw line in coastal waters.
What are your favorite crabbing spots in the Outer Banks?SHARE