Blue swimmer crabs are delicious. Evolution knows this and has equipped them with tough shells, outrageous pincers and a ‘you want a piece of me’ attitude. Brussel sprouts, on the other hand, are harmless and don’t run very fast.
But despite their array of defences the crab is only a 50:50 bet against a $17 crab rake. You’ll also need covered footwear, a buoyant container to tow behind you, a crab measure – available from tackle shops - plus all the other accessories required for a day at the beach. Remember, you’ll be looking down a lot so be sure to keep the back of your neck protected from the sun.
The tidal flats north of Adelaide - between St Kilda and Port Parham - are popular crabbing spots. Be prepared to walk some distance because in these parts when the tide goes out, it seems to have gone to South America. I think low tide is best but others will say follow the tide in, while still others will say go to the fish market and save yourself a lot of driving and walking. Whatever time you choose be aware that the tide runs like a river so, if you drop your sunscreen, it could be in Peru by dusk.
You shouldn’t need to go much deeper than knee level. I’ve had the most success in the bare, sandy patches among the sea grass or on the sides of the channels which carry the water in and out. If the water’s perfectly still you may see eye stalks, but generally it’s the sudden chaos under the rake that tells you it’s on. And remember, crabs believe attack is the best defence so it’s a good idea to take the family, then, when a bluey launches a charge, people will think it’s the kids shrieking.
For more information on blue swimmer crabs visit the PIRSA website.
To read, "Crabbing, Part 2 - Drop nets on Yorkes", click here