At first, I wasn't sure how long I would need to sit at the Maffeo-Sutton Park pier before I saw my first living Dungeness crab.
Little did I know that catching a crab would be the least of my worries. During my first week of Island-living, I was told about the ease of catching crab off of the Nanaimo harbour. My girlfriend, Harper, and I thought we would give it a try.
We went to Canadian Tire to find the required equipment. Just $40 later, we walked out with a trap, a crab measurer, a salt-water licence, a rope and little idea of what we were doing.
I heard chicken is the best bait so I picked up a $3 piece of chicken from a local grocery store along the way.
It was about 11 a.m. Sunday morning and the pier was packed with locals, tourists and firsttime crabbers.
We tied the piece of chicken to the centre of our pyramid trap, tied the trap to the rope and lowered it into the water.
Less than two minutes later I was impatiently reefing on the rope anticipating the catch.
To both of our amazement we caught a few crabs. I quickly flung the trap onto the dock without realizing what happens next.
I knew that I needed to check the bottom of the crab to determine if it's male or female. Nobody told me how I should go about doing that.
Although they were only about 140 millimetres long, we were both intimidated by the pinching crab claws.
After getting scratched and pinched a few times an elderly couple saw that we were in distress.
With the help of a 15-second lesson we were handling the crabs with ease, though Harper may say otherwise.
We practised catching and releasing crabs for about an hour before we decided to go for a keeper. The great fun was that it wasn't only new to us; several other tourists stopped and watch in awe.
Once we were comfortable with our method we loaded up another piece of bait and decided to fish for dinner.
After an hour and approximately 30 crabs, we finally caught one keeper.
Though everybody else on the dock seemed to be striking out, two attempts after our first keeper we caught another of the same size.
We took our catch back home still surprised of our success. Harper became a little squeamish at the thought of cooking the crabs so she conveniently had to run to the grocery store as soon as the water started to boil.
Though she wasn't ecstatic about the idea of killing the crab, she didn't seem to mind when it was sitting beside her mashed potatoes - and neither did I.
© Copyright 2013