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Nov 11, 2003 05:45 PM


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Has anyone seen any dirt cheap crab appearing anywhere yet? Has crab season officially taken off?

We saw crab at 99 Ranch in Milpites for 3.69 a week ago, but I know it can get down as low as 2.99. Let us all know if you have seen anything.

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  1. c

    On Saturday I purchased crab at 99 Ranch for 2.99 a pound.

    1. The local crab season opened Nov. 8. The local crabs should be hitting the markets soon. Usually around this time there are stories about the wholesalers offering a pittance and the fisherman holding out for higher prices, but I don't remember seeing any this year.

      1. Recreational crab season opened Nov 8. Commercial crab season opens Nov 15.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Alan

          What a timely post, I was just wondering about recreational crabbing last night.

          When I was on the Oregon coast I spent some time with people who were crabbing off a pier in the Newport harbor. They were filling baskets with chicken parts and lowering them into the water. A few minutes later the basket was pulled up usually contained several crabs. Most got thrown back for being too small, but it didn't seem to take too long for anyone to get enough to take home for dinner. Everyone was hanging around, having fun, listening to music, and drinking beer bought from the Rogue brewery right next to the pier.

          So, is there anywhere in the bay area where such an experience can be had?

          1. re: nja

            The SF bay area has two (or more ?) kinds of crab. Rock crab and Dungeness crab. Dungeness is the desired crab, more meat/yield.

            Dungeness crab can not be taken inside the bay, rock crabs may be taken inside the bay.

            The Pacifica pier produces dungeness crab for the non boater.

            Find crab snares at a bait/tackle shop. A crab snare has 4 "lassos" or loops, and a bait holder. Crab eats the bait, gets tangled in the loop and you pull or reel the crab in. There is a minimum size for crab and a crab angler is required to have a crab gauge.

            Another method is to use a trap or ring. You can find these also at a bait/tackle shop. The crab anglers you saw were probably using traps.

            Some of the party boats (commercial sport fishers) offer crab trips. You board a boat in Emeryville, they venture out the Golden Gate and pickup crab traps they put out earlier and harvest crabs. The limit on a party boat is 6 per angler. The cost of this is ~$60-75. Last season it was $60, plus $1 for each crab if you wanted them to cook your crab. Blowdega Bay also offers crab trips.

            In the "olden days", you could also fish for rock cod while on the party boat, and have the ingredients for a great seafood stew. But, over effective commercial fishing has depleted the rock cod populations on the west coast. I think rock cod closes for the year on the 21s of November.

            1. re: Alan


              Thank you for the fantastic post. Yes, I desire dungeness. Do you have sense of the best times (time of day, tides, time of year) to crab at the Pacifica pier?

              Based on your post, I found the following information on GORP...

              "Go crabbing out on Pacifica Pier, where the mighty Dungeness crab might just show up in your net and invite himself to dinner. No experience required; you can buy everything you need at the pier. Phone the Pacifica Pier Bait Shop at 650-355-0690."

              .as well as this detailed guide...


              1. re: nja

                Only advice regarding timing is: crabs will go into deeper water when the seas are rough.

                So, try to go after a few calm days.

                Good Luck !

        2. I just bought live crab yesterday at Marina Market in San Mateo for $2.69 a pound. MMMMMM!

          1. Crab in Chinatown is $2.69/lb also.

            I noticed for the first time that there are a bunch in the tank in the back- more expensive (and more feisty) for $3.29/lb. Are these ones worth the extra money? I've always bought the ones in the plastic bins out front - they're still alive so I figure they're fine.

            1 Reply
            1. re: felice

              What I've been told is that crabs stop feeding once they're in captivity. This means that they'll metabolize their own flesh until they eventually die. The flesh shrinks back from the shell and fills with water - you might be paying for more water and less crab meat. The feisty ones presumably are new arrivals and not yet in the starvation phase. I always buy the liveliest and healthiest ones I can find for the sweetest flesh and most crab fat.