As my family knows, Dungeness crab is one of my most favorite foods. I remember fondly sitting around the dining room table with a pot of fresh cooked crabs that my mother had bought, spending hours cracking, shelling and eating. Not to mention what I have eaten in the many years since then.
Well I find myself in Newport, OR. We are waiting for our daughter Amy to have her baby; when we arrived here a week and a half ago she was in labor. Still no baby. So my son-in-law Ben and two grandkids (Lara and Brenden) and I went crabbing yesterday.
What a time!
Newport sits on the central Oregon coast at Yaquina Bay. Both the ocean and the bay floor must be littered with crabs, and not just Dungeness. But there are lots of those.
The process is simple. A crab ring costs $6/day to rent, and enough raw chicken breast to keep you going all day is $2. There are plenty of spots, piers, to bait the ring and throw it off the side. Wait 10-15 minutes and haul it up.
The law allows, for Dungeness, only keeping males that are at least 5 3/4 inches across, and there is a per-day limit. But the gender difference is very obvious and they give you a ruler. For other species, such as red rock, there are no restrictions.
So it was cold and windy, and boring while waiting out the 10 minutes. But we had a blast and went home with two nice Dungeness and six red rock crabs.
I don't have a license, so I couldn't have anything to do with the process, other than observing. If it weren't such a chore to get to Newport from Spokane (450 miles down through the Tri-Cities and Portland) I would probably get one.
Ben cooked them and he and I dug out all the meat. We decided that red rock were too small, but they were just as tasty as the Dungeness.
I slept like a log last night.