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Author Topic: Status of N.C. crabbing用articularly in Wilmington area  (Read 21310 times)
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CrabbyByNature
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« on: February 27, 2006, 02:48:47 PM »

Almost every year I used to go to Ocean Isle. N.C., approximately 30-40 miles south of Wilmington, N.C.  The sound there served as the site of many, many wonderful crabbing expeditions with my father. 

Another post on this board:

http://www.blue-crab.org/forum/index.php/topic,1191.0.html,

asks for sites in the Wilmington area.  So the first part of this post can serve as some form of response, albeit quite delayed! 
In addition, Sunset Beach and to some extent Calabash are possibly good crabbing spots still.

To those of you with recent experience in these areas, is the crabbing still good?  My last trip to Ocean Isle was right after N.C. got smacked (particularly the Outer Banks) by hurricanes in the late '90s.   There was a stretch of 5-6 years prior where we would routinely catch what my father termed as "dinosaurs" (they certainly seemed to be dinosaurs in comparison with our Chesapeake rivals).   Unfortunately, the last few times the crabbing had deteriorated擁n size, quality, and number.  I don't know what the factors for this localized observation were.  Was N.C. as a whole being over-crabbed?  Were there climate changes, environment changes, etc.?    I recently read an article (sorry, I cannot find the link right now) stating that N.C. crab exports were being highly slashed by foreign competition.  I certainly don't care for the idea of hard-working fishermen losing work, but I see no reason why I shouldn't think about what that means for the small-time crabber. 

I have kids of my own now, and naturally one of the first places I think of to take them is Ocean Isle.   However, I am unquestionably drawn to N.C. by the fond memories and eager hopes of successful crabbing.  I certainly would consider other places (or possibly entirely different regions) if the crabbing there is superior.

I would appreciate any information or insight to some of the comments and questions I included above.

Thanks,
CBN
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MasonboroCrabber
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« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2006, 05:31:16 PM »

I commercial fish and crab in the Wilmington area around Carolina Beach.  If you want to catch large crabs in the summertime go around Snow's Cut by the bridge at Carolina Beach. The mixing of fresh and saltwater there seems to make it a pretty good spot.  The Cape Fear River seems to have the largest crabs but I prefer the crabs from the ICW for there quality.  Right now we are catching large crabs in deep water and in narrow creeks behind barrier islands. 
      As far as for the decline you saw in recent years.  Any large storm can cause a decline in crabbing or shrimping, or most fisheries for that matter due to runoff and increased sedimentation, but it would be hard to tell if thats why you didn't catch many crabs.  It really just depends on the local conditions (wind, tide, etc.)   I hope this at least answers some of your questions.
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cw4340
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« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2006, 08:55:33 AM »

masonborocrabber you potin crabs now are season starts march 15 but thats a joke it will be april 15 before we start catin crabs here in south jersey cause we really got cold this week when do you guys start your seson Huh
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CrabbyByNature
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« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2006, 01:18:53 PM »

Thanks MasonboroCrabber,

I will keep that advice in mind.  I mostly would do line crabbing.  Spare chicken parts, weighted with sinkers, and a net is my intended hi-tech gear. 

My understanding has always been that, other factors being equal, tidal flow periods are the optimal crabbing times.  I also recall that July was a particularly fruitful month.  The water would be getting up to near its max temerature for the year, and the crabs have had some time to feed since their post-winter slumber.  Any nuances in this region I should learn (sunrise vs sunset ... feeding times ... human activity ... etc. )?

Thanks again,
CBN

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