Crabbing in Bodega Bay

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I admit that today’s post will not focus on cooking veggies, because today I cooked crab!  I grew up going fishing with my family while camping.  When I was young, we mostly fished stocked lakes for trout, which I love to eat for breakfast fresh off the fire! In the last few years, we have become more focused on crabbing instead of fishing.  Living in the central valley of California, crabbing spots are not that hard to find.  While we’ve had some of our best dungeness crab fishing on Big River when camping in Fort Bragg, our day trips take us to Bodega Bay.

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Bodega Bay is just a two hour drive from us, and it was a wonderful way to spend a day off in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.  The weather, thanks to our interesting and worrisome lack of rain, was gorgeous, and the water was clear and smooth.  While I myself do not fish anymore (I have a slightly unfounded fear of fish themselves, and I’ve seen enough fingers pinched by crab claws to be wary), I spent a lovely 4 hours sitting on the rocks, talking with my family, and running back and forth measuring crab!

I swear I clean up nice, though the only pictures I've posted have been hiking/crabbing!

I swear I clean up nice, though the only pictures I’ve posted have been hiking/crabbing!

To me, the beauty of crabbing is the down time.  We crab with both nets and snares.  The nets can be thrown out and pulled back in whenever you like.  The snares are a rig on the end of a regular fishing pole, and again, can be cast and reeled in as often as you like.  My dad and brother, the experts in all things crab, usually cast their nets and lines out every 10-15 minutes.

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In between, you get to relax, take in the view, and even set your pole down and drink some nice warm coffee.  The stress about missing a bite, like with regular fishing, is not necessarily omnipresent with our style of crabbing.

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The crab fishing today got us 11 red crab.  While they are not that large – 4″ is legal size and our largest measured in at 5 1/4″ – their meat was super sweet and tender.  We enjoyed them by simply boiling the entire crab, cleaning them, and then cracking and eating the flesh.  The bodies themselves had some great meat in them, and the beauty of the red crab is that their claws are large and meaty.  I mean…look at the size of those claws compared to their bodies!

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Just half of our haul cleaned and ready-to-eat crab!

In the next week or so, I hope to make she-crab soup.  I’ve saved the large shells and some of the smaller legs to make into a stock tomorrow.  If I don’t think I’ll find the time soon to make the soup, I’ll stick the stock in the freezer to have on hand when I’m ready.  Unfortunately, we pretty much went to town and ate almost all of the meat from our haul.  When I get around to making the she-crab soup, I’ll have to buy some more crab meat!

I hope you enjoyed the pictures, even without a recipe to accompany them.  Thanks for reading!

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One Response to Crabbing in Bodega Bay

  1. gcraggs says:

    It was some of the sweetest crab your dad and brother have caught.

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