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Author Topic: Charleston SC crabbing  (Read 1059 times)
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blueclawfever
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« on: January 30, 2022, 02:24:25 PM »

My wife and I are trying to figure out where we want to retire to.  I am in my late fifties.  We are thinking of taking a long weekend trip to Charleston, SC in April to scout out the area.  It looks like there is year round crabbing and shrimping?  The cost of living seems very reasonable, maybe not quite as good as FL but the heat and humidity would not last as long either.  Can anyone comment on the Charleston area, the crabbing and shrimping and any positives or negatives of the area?  I live in suburban Philly.  The off-season is too long up here and the cold and snow are getting to be too much.  FL seems like it might be a little too hot and humid for too long and the crabbing does not seem to be as good or at least as much of a favorite pastime as it is further north.  Any and all comments would be greatly appreciated!
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I have a fever....
And the prescription....
Is more crabbing !!
GatorTales
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« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2022, 12:46:14 PM »

  We've lived in South Carolina as well as Miami, and now live in N. Central Florida. Never did any crabbing in S. Carolina (We lived in The Upstate), but I've caught plenty of crabs from the northern Keys and Biscayne Bay, and all the way up through Florida.

  Right now where I live, I can drive an hour and a half East and get crabs in the Atlantic, or drive 30 minutes to Yankeetown on the West Coast. Florida is Crab Heaven. Don't tell anybody. Grin

Here's some crabbers in the St. Johns River on January 29th.




Regards,

Bob
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blueclawfever
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« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2022, 01:34:56 PM »

Thanks so much for the input, GatorTales!  I have been to FL numerous times and for some reason blue crabs don't seem to be such a hit down there as they are up north.  I always wondered why.  I have had a hard time finding them as many seafood markets just don't carry them.  I keep hearing people say that they are not in much demand and that stone crabs are much more popular.  I am shifting my search to the Charleston area but might still consider FL.  Thinking that Charleston wont stay as hot and steamy as long as FL does.  We are still undecided but will be taking a trip to Charleston in a couple of months to scout the area.
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I have a fever....
And the prescription....
Is more crabbing !!
GatorTales
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« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2022, 01:55:55 PM »

"I have been to FL numerous times and for some reason blue crabs don't seem to be such a hit down there as they are up north.  I always wondered why.  I have had a hard time finding them as many seafood markets just don't carry them.  I keep hearing people say that they are not in much demand and that stone crabs are much more popular."


I think it's a matter of convenience. Blue crabs are messy to catch, messy to cook, and messy to pick and eat. A lot of older retired folks (Florida) just can't be bothered, even if they've been crab eaters all their lives.

Plus, with Snook, Pompano, Whiting, Grouper and Snapper available year-round, there is a lot of competition! Cool

I'm going crabbing this week. Will post pictures.


Regards,

Bob
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blueclawfever
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« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2022, 03:21:05 PM »

That makes sense....I have to admit that blue crabs are a lot of work.  No one ever got fat eating blue crabs.  Its the beer that will getcha.   Grin

Can't wait to see the pics!  I am Jonesin' for some crabs and have a trip to south jersey in late February just to go to the boat ramps I use and dream about next summer.  I guess its in my blood and always will be.  I love the salt marsh and miss it during the winter months.
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I have a fever....
And the prescription....
Is more crabbing !!

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blueclawfever
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« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2022, 07:55:48 AM »

Are there any recreational or commercial watermen that crab near Charleston that can give me any advice as to what rivers, creeks work best for catching crabs?  Also I am looking for advice with regard to alligators....how best to avoid them, what bait to use or not use, what areas they congregate in, etc.  I am planning a trip to Charleston in a few weeks with the idea that I might consider retiring in that area sometime soon.  I might be looking for a crabbing buddy or two as well.  Long time crabber in NJ, MD but getting tired of the cold and short crabbing season up here.  Any advice would be helpful as well as any advice for a nice seafood restaurant to try during my visit.  Much thanks!
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I have a fever....
And the prescription....
Is more crabbing !!
LKNGreg
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« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2022, 11:12:14 PM »

Hello,

Fished for blue crabs in three areas around Charleston.   

1.  Isle of Palms - Crabbed between Christmas and New Years about 4 years ago off a rental home dock on the intercoastal waterway on the ocean side.   My wife and I both got a saltwater out of state license we live in North Carolina and caught about 45 keepers in 4-5 days just going off the dock using chicken legs for bait.   

2.  Folly Beach - on the ICW from the oceanside (Turtle bay Townhomes) crabbed once from a town home with a dock using a kayak and set 4 pots in a few spots within a a half mile paddle on the ICW.   Again chicken legs for bait.   Over 4 days in Mid April we caught about 35 keepers.  Downside someone poached one of our pots.   

Also crabbed from a condo on the main land side of the ICW at Folley from the (Turn of the River condos).   Again with a paddleboard in late September about the same results over 4 days as above from Turtle Bay.   

3.  Seabrook - first crabbed off the community crabbing dock it was early in the year around February.   Rented a condo at Creekwatch Villas in Seabrook about 500 yards from the community crabbing pier off the community dock on Kiawah creek.  We caught about 6 keepers.  The dock area is heavily crabbed.  We also had others pull and check our pots that were tied to the pier.   We could not paddle board as it was too cold and access to the creek was limited at the time as the ramp was under construction.  You can take a 15 foot boat with a 15hp or less motor off the community ramp.  However tidal flow is 8+ feet and you need to time your boat entry or exit.   

We had better luck in Seabrook crabbing Horseshoe creek staying at BayPointe Villas.  Dock limited to residents within Bay Pointe.  Used a paddleboard / kayak setting 4 pots once in May and once in late September.   Both times over 4 days caught  50-60 Keepers.   Used chicken, mullet and whiting for bait.   Horseshoe Creek is a narrow and feeds into the Bohicket River.   


If you are taking a boat both Isle of Palms and Folly have boat ramps you can use.  The one in Folley is public ramp.  Boat / trailer parking can be a challenge.   Seabrook if you have a small boat you can use the community ramp.   Seabrook also has Bohicket Marina and they have rental skiffs but they are booked well in advance and are primarily in season.  Bohicket does not have a ramp.

In the Kiawah resort you can access the creeks with a kayak or paddleboard but the boat ramp is for property owners only (rental agents have misrepresented that renters or guests can use the ramp).     

All of the areas around Charleston have significant tidal flow of 8+ feet.  Seabrook and Kiawah about 30 minutes outside of Charleston have the nicest amenities but as you would expect are pricey.   

Folly Island of Palms and Sullivans Island are about 15 minutes outside of Charleston. 

The ICW off of Folly has more reasonable accommodations and easy boat access with a public ramp or private at sunset cay marina.   Island of Palms is a little more costly and boat access is through the marina.  Sulivans (have never stayed there) is the highest end of the three beach areas within 15 minutes of Charleston but other than high end private house rentals water access is limited.  Sullivans does have nice dining (-:


Good Luck,
Greg   

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blueclawfever
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« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2022, 09:32:11 AM »

Wow!  That is a terrific amount of information.  Thanks so much!  I would have guessed you were a local to Charleston and not from NC.  It sounds like you have spent a lot of time in that area and know it very well.  I am surprised at the tidal flow.  It is not so bad in NJ.  The worst I see where I crab is about 5 feet.  That must make for some nasty currents.  We have a heckuva time getting our 14 footer in and out of the water at the time of peak current.  Very frustrating.  I am going down for a visit in late March.  If we like the area we will probably move there in short order.  It would be nice to find a crabbing buddy that I could team up with.  I am getting older but can still run a 20 trap line for 10 hours!  From your post I guess gators are not really too much of a concern in the crabbing areas.....
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I have a fever....
And the prescription....
Is more crabbing !!
blueclawfever
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« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2022, 09:58:54 AM »

I have lost more than a few traps even with a 5 foot tidal flow.  I put 15 feet of line on my traps with a float on the end.  I crab in about 6 to 10 feet of water so if its low tide the line will be covered near high tide.  Even the current can knock the float under water.   Using more than 15 feet of line can be a nuisance with tangles and storage with the other traps.  I like to "carpet bomb" over a length of about a quarter mile and it is easy to lose traps that way.  In an area with an 8 foot tidal surge I would have to keep the distance a lot shorter and maybe use fewer traps with a longer line and more rebar on the bottom of the traps.   I have never crabbed in SC.  I hope to soon!
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I have a fever....
And the prescription....
Is more crabbing !!
LKNGreg
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« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2022, 09:17:46 PM »

@ Bob - That couple in the St Johns video are amazing!   Amazing catch, there team work was perfect.   

@ Blueclawfever - glad to provide any insights i can.  Our daughter lived in Mt Pleasant right outside of Charleston so we did frequent the area.   We are inland in North Carolina so do not crab often but try to make the best of it.    I have only trout line crabbed once and it was not successful.  Would be interested to know if anyone in the Carolinas has success trout lining.   

I am a few years behind you until retirement but we are looking to retire in the southern section of the NC coast.   Happy to answer any questions I can. 

Best,
Greg

 

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