Winter Crabbing in California.

I have to confess, I have quite a number of trip reports to catch up on and lots of videos and photos to process, but I’ve been quite distracted with the beginning of crab season this year. I’ve never gone crabbing before, but a friend of mine introduced me to it a week ago and I’ve been going great guns on it ever since.

I have been trying to be observant and learn as much as I can from the experienced guys on the pier. Going out at around 4AM when the pier opens I have a chance to talk to many crabbers before the pier is busy. One thing I noticed was that many people had carts in some form or another to keep organized. I was thinking that I would want to put something together like that when I ran across a heavy duty cart at Costco. It was marked down, from what an employee said from $40, to $30, and finally to $20.  Great deal!

It started looking like this:

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Scrounging around the house, I found a cooler, my Maxpedition drop pouch, my trusty camp chair and some other things to pimp out cart. Then I picked up some 2″ and 1.5″ black ABS pipe and other fittings and put together the cart. Each item carefully considered for optimum useability. Last week, I had a chance to try out the car just dropping a few items in there and certain things I knew were good fits. The camp chair is as close a fit as you can get. Everything else I put just sat in the open bucket. Having had a trial run, I had a very good idea of where things needed to be. Now, this is an exercise in fishing geekdom, but I love gadgets, systems, and thinking or planning things through to make tasks efficient and more “fun”.

Here’s what I came up with: The Crabinator! 😀
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I’ll list what’s on the cart and then explain in further detail.

1) Utility Knife – Mora of Sweden (about 12 bucks, incredible value. The Swedish steel and grind are phenomenal)
2) Coleman camp chair. This one is quite old, about 20 years old I think. It’s got real canvas and it’s strong and comfortable. I recently picked up a replacement from Costco that has a side table (nice!) but it doesn’t quite fit. I’m deciding whether or not to return it.
3) Roddy Hunter 11 foot pole (from Gus’ Discount Tackle in San Francisco)
4) Crab snares
5) Maxpedition drop pouch There’s an insulated tea mug in it. Just behind it is a fishing filet knife zip tied to the inside of the cart. That’s a cheap fishing knife that’s probably about 50 years old now and still sharp enough to shave with.
6) 1.5″ PVC holder with reducer cap. It’s a perfect fit for the Duracell Daylite 2 C cell 160-Lumens, LED Flashlight. Good flashlight. Without the reducer, you can grab the flashlight by the head and pull it out easily. With the reducer in place the flashlight drops down until the face of it is flush with the top of the reducer requiring a little finger push from the bottom to get it out. I thought it might be more secure from casual pilfering this way, as you can’t just walk by and pull it. I didn’t glue on the reducer yet, just in case I decide I like it more open.
7) Insulated cooler bag. I like this one because it has two zippered pockets. In one, I keep some basic first aid supplies (adhesive bandages etc…). In the other are zip ties, latex gloves, and a couple trail mix bars. In the cooler section is a very small cutting board, a bottle of water and room for bait (although, I am probably going to use a simple bag style cooler for the bait and keep the smell seperate).
8) 2″ ABS and 1.5″ ABS pipe (left to right) with glued on end caps, drilled to allow for drainage
9) Penn SS Metal Series Spinfisher 750SSm. The first reel I’ve ever bought and I’m loving it. I picked it up at Gus’ but I added the link in case you’re not near San Francisco.
10) Simple blue plastic tray to hold miscellaneous items as well as provide bottom support so a reusable shopping bag I have clipped in. Good place to drop gloves, layers, etc..
11) Green bucket with a tackle box bucket topper

Crabinator

Everything fits well and there’s room to throw a large cooler up top. The chair is comfortable and the tea is at the right height for an easy reach.  If I want a foot rest I can pull out the bucket and kick the feet up. So far with crabbing I’m in and out of the chair constantly so I haven’t done that yet.

This Christmas is turning out pretty awesome already. I put together the cart mostly with things I already had sitting around so it cost very, very little, and one of my really good friends treated me to a cage and a net too!

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So even though I haven’t brought home a keeper yet, I’m expecting to bring something back starting this coming week. Here in the SF Bay Area, we have Dungeoness crabs (don’t take them from the Bay!) and rock crab as well.

It’s a fun sport, great for my health and really is much better than sitting on the computer all day!