By David Johnson
It’s been a long time saying by the old salts that the best time for fishing Dungeness crab on the Oregon Coast is any month that ends in an “R”, September, October, November and December.
What makes these months best you may ask?
All summer the crabs have been growing and molting their shells. Now as the water cools down the shells become hard and then they start to fill up with meat.
With these months comes some bad weather, if there is too much rain and fresh water coming into the bays the crab will move closer to the ocean, or even out into the ocean. So remember that if there’s been a lot of rain try closer to the sea and also in deeper water.
A smaller tide exchange between high and low seems to be more favorable to crabbing as does incoming tide.
Pots can be left for an extended time to soak and fill up with crab, great for dropping while you’re fishing. But you will have to check them a few times to replenish bait and make sure nobody else has checked your crab for you.
Rings are another story. They are best checked every twenty to thirty minutes or the crab will “eat and run”. Make sure you approach from down current and pull fast. You have to have the water pressure to keep them pinned in the ring.
Get yourself a crab gauge and be sure to check the current regulations.
Another tip: fresh bait. Although they are scavengers, they prefer fresh smelling bait. Fish heads and carcasses or shad work great but if there are a lot of seals/sea lions around steeling bait, chicken and turkey legs work great. Marine mammals don’t like chicken.
Almost every bay along the Oregon coast has a marina or two that sells bait, and rents boats and/or crab rings. They can point you in the right direction and help you out with any questions you may have.
Some bays also have docks or piers for crabbing.
Crabbing is a fun way of putting some delicious food on the table and a great way to spend a day with the family. Go for it.
David Johnson is a respected Oregon fishing guide. To book a trip with David call 503-201-4292, or visit David at www.davidjohnsonfishing.com