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looking to getting in to crabbing and was wondering If I could get any tip s to make our first outing a good one.Tidal info,depth,best baits any info would be great.Also I will be in a drift boat so probably stick to easy water like yaquina,netarts,nehalem.Thanks guys.
R.R.

P.S. Is hamond out of the question in a drifter,I see lots of good reports.
 

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Near hammond best crabbing is downstream near Buoy 22. Fresh fish is best bait but turkey legs work very well with no seal or sea lion problems. Crab 20-35 feet deep. Best tides are those which have weakest current. Best time is closest to slack tide.
 

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MY best tip do not leave your traps when the tide is going out(you don't even want to know). Also 2 float instead of one is a good idea. So far shad and mink have worked good for bait.
 

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I don't crab but I do hang around with the top crab guides and the manufacturer of the Protoco pots, Protoco is my manufacturer. The word is to paint or change the color of the bait box to a bright red or orange, I can't remember what the color is exactly. Anyone else change the colors of the bait box and see improvments in the catch?

Pat
 

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Yeap, clearview2u and I went to Newport on our first crabbing trip last weekend. My personal learnings were:

* Don't drop your traps in 45ft of water with a strong tide and 50ft of rope and expect them to stay. Doh!! (At least we were able to recover them before they went to sea.)

* Do leave traps in the same area to make life easier.

* If you need to buy some bait, mink carcasses work really good

* Do have one person be responsible for making sure the boat doesn't drift into something while you are picking through the crabs. (We managed to have a close encounter with on of the green cans... never again.)

* With all the grass and kelp drifting by, do make sure your kicker water flow tell tale is actually squirting water. (With all the excitement I managed to drop the ball on this also. Lucky for me those little mercs take a real beating, and one impeller later I am back in the game.)

* For Yaquina we had success:
- By the big green tank in ~20ft of water
- on the ocean side of the bridge, in 12-15ft
 

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anywhere in tillamook bay is good. raid the fish cleaning station the night before, salmon carks and chicken work great. i have crabbed in the bay many times in the driftboat, now i just get there faster in the big boat..kb
 

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Here's more info than you may want, but thats my nature...

Before I get into the nitty-gritty, keep in mind that places like Hammond and Tillamook can have very strong Outgoing tidal flows, and/or strong winds, which make getting back very slow, perhaps very difficult, for a driftboat. And if your motor fails, it is long row back. I've only crabbed Netarts a few times, once in a driftboat, and it might be a place to try - just watch the outgoing tide if you are anywhere near the mouth (which you do not need to be). Also watch for the sand bars (as in every tidal area). Tillamook is a great place to crab, but the places I like best have strong flows on the outgoing. I've not tried very much around the Coast Guard Hole, and never in the Ghost Hole, but as long as you are out of the Salmon fishing areas, they might be worth a try.

I crab Yaquina Bay about 90% of my crabbing trips, so I'll use that as a reference. It is normally very easy for a driftboat.

Following are my general guidelines, although I make minor changes depending on the time of day, difference in tidal change, etc. Here is how I do it...

Tides: Pick the slack tide that works out best for you. Given a choice, I pick a High slack, but for me, it is not worth getting up at 3:00AM to go crabbing. I begin crabbing two hours before the slack tide, and plan on one hour after the change (sometimes when there is only a 4-ft differnce between the ebb and flood, you can go longer; a 9-ft change maybe less.)

Depth: My rope's actual length varies between 40-45 ft, so I crab in 30 ft or less of water. Because of the Commercial boats coming and going, I stay out of the main channel.

Traps: I now use Danielson's square traps almost exclusively. I have used rings and pots, but find the Danielson's retain the crabs much better than rings (rings have to be pulled fast to keep the crabs from swimming out, especially the big, hard shelled ones!). The Danielson's are much lighter, and much less expensive, than pots. I use 3/8 yellow poly(?) rope for the harness, and for the rope to the float (does not soak up water, yet is big enough to grip well). If you do not want to purchase the "regular" bullet-shaped floats, you can make from bleach bottles, etc. Just be sure the lid is taped or glued shut. Don't forget to secure the knots well.

Bait: Bait cages are helpful because the crabs can not drag your bait away. They are also good for deterring the Sea lions in Yaqina (although for the past 2-3 years, I've not had a problem with Sea Lions tearing up my traps, but I'm sure they will still go after bait they can easily get to). Shad and Salmon carcasses are very good bait, the fresher the better. Other fish carcasses work good too, and you can dumpster-dive at the fish cleaning station at the South Beach launch(may or may not find any bait). Chicken parts will work, look for the 10 pound frozen bags, and some sort of scent can help. The Newport Marina Store usually has crab bait of one type or another (they are good for advice, and rentals too).

Laying Out and Picking Up the Traps: I attempt to lay the traps out in a straight line, in line with the current flow/channel. Put out the float first, and then when you are sure the rope is not tangled, drop the trap. Continue another 150 feet or more, and drop the next one, etc. After 15 minutes or more, you can start picking them up. To pick-up, first visualize how the trap and rope are lying in the water. You want to start at the float, and work your way to the trap, picking up the slack rope as you go. Sort your crabs in the trap, or on the floor, get your trap back down, and head for the next one (if your are so inclined, you can get a rhythm going, and will be able to pickup one trap and get it back down in time to pick up the next one, all without stopping).

Misc Tips: (1) Especially with a driftboat, a good boat operator is helpful. Ideally, they/you want to operate the boat so the rope is straight up and down to signifcantly lessen the effort the puller has to do. This is easier said than done. (2) When pulling, try to keep the rope from rubbing against the chine (this really adds to the resistance and effort necessary to get the trap up - think blisters and sore back). (3) Keep your rope, and others ropes, out of your prop. (4) If you run or drift over a rope, turn the motor off, or at least out of gear, until you drift off the rope. (5) Be sure you know how to handle crabs to prevent getting pinched, which can cause some noteworthy finger damage if the crab is big and mean, which the better ones are. (6) Have a bucket, ice chest, or something to put put crabs into. (7) Do not keep store them in a bucket of water (they live longer out of the water than they do in a bucket of water.) If you feel it is necessary to "refresh" them in salt water, try to do just one or two carbs at a time, otherwise, they will claw, pinch and crush each other). (8) I place the crabs upside-down in my bucket, to lessen the damage they do to one another. (9) A boat hook may be useful to snag the rope, and some folks use gloves to handle the rope and crabs. (10) Crabbing is fun - enjoy it.

Yaquina Bay - where to crab: for starters, after coming out of South Beach Basin, turn right and head up the Bay (remember the warning about sand bars). Look for the Red Channel marker just ahead, and you can start dropping your traps there, or go a little further up the Bay. If you stay about in line with the red channel markers/buoys, you will be in pretty good depth. Quality crabs can be had for a mile or so up the Bay. Another popular area is in the vicinity of the green LP tank, which is a distinctive landmark across the Bay.

Good luck.
 

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Some tips:

get a good hook 3-4 ft or longer. You will need it and good if it floats. I tape some floation to my handle.

Get a couple of gauges, they are cheap and will get lost

I have a tupperware diddy box with my gauges, extra doors, I use danlisons traps. zip ties to secure the bait boxes, pliars to fisx traps and doors.

I would suggest you start at Netarts, great crabbing and safest stay asway from the mouth on the ebb.

I like 2-3 hours before slack. low slack is good as crabs get compressed in the low water, high water will move crabs in from salt.

I seldom put my traps in a line as I want my scent trail covering the max area.

crabs will move with the current, so move with them.

My typicall day with 6 traps.

I'll put 2-3 in the main bay where I think I will do best. 1-2 below these and 1-2 above, sometimes way above. after the first pull i will have a good idea of where the crabs are and will move and place my traps accordingly. when the lower one quits catching I move up the bay.

Remember, lots of tiems the crabs will just dig in when the current is strong, crab the edges.

I have one float on each trap and also 3 15 ft pieces of rope with a bouy on it that I can easily add when in current or deeper water

cook whole and then clean, you will get better tasting meat.

shad is great bait. You need lots of bait, remember there are other traps in the bay and you want the crabs comming to yours. Scents... nuff said

if your rope floats the wrap some pencil lead about 60=70% of the way up. Help the idiots that dont know how to drive keep from running over your rope.

Make your loats look distinctive, you want them to be easy to find. I have red bullseyes painted on the flat end so dont do that :smile: but do take the time to paint them so you can easily find yours.

if you loose a trap wait for slack tide and then go down current to look for it. I think most "stolen" traps are just lost due to too short rope and movement by the current

if your traps are empty try to figure out why, dont just put them back down in the sam place. Move, get innovative, be one with the crabs :dance: Theya re there, you just have to find them

IF you crab in the summer, dont keep soft crabs, let them fill our and just go back and get them in a few months.

Nov till the commericals go out is some of the best crabbing you will have


Ok, there you have it, Happy Sunday and enjoy what took me 20 plus years of crabbing to learn..... FB
 
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