Welcome back to the Stoners Crab Shack!
Are you ready to discover more of the stone crab realm? Let us get started right away. In this post, we will talk about harvesting stone crabs and how they are generally caught either for commercial purpose or by some of our fellow crabbers who share the same passion as you and me about crabbing.
Stone crab catching can be broadly divided into two distinct categories and purposes: commercial stone crab trapping and recreational stone crab hunting. Florida stone crab is one of the most unique regional foods in the USA and there are mainly two ways by which you can catch some stone crabs either for yourself or for commercial reasons.
- Putting out your own traps
- Diving to catch Crabs
Let’s discuss how you can catch them on your own. But before we start our hunt, we have to abide by some laws like always. According to Florida law, some quick points you have to keep in mind about recreational traps before you start hunting are mentioned below.
- Any angler may use up to five stone crab traps.
- Buoys must have a legible “R” at least two inches high, permanently affixed to them.
- Traps must have the harvester’s name and address affixed to them in legible letters.
- Traps must be retrieved manually during daylight hours.
- Traps must not be placed in navigational channels or waterways.
- Each trap must have a degradable wooden panel equal to the size of the entry hole on the top of the trap. This is called a ghost trap and is placed in case the traps are lost at sea then it will provide a way for the trapped crabs to escape.
If you don’t know how to make traps then fear not because you can buy pre-rigged plastic and wire traps at most bait and tackle shops. For best results remember to place your traps at rock or sand bottom.
Now for the diving part, this method requires some experience, technique and a little getting used to the diving gear. Just diving anywhere will not bear any fruitful result so you should know where to dive in order to make the most out of it. You can start in shallow rock piles or jetties and once you have garnered enough experience you will know where to dive pretty easily for the best stone crabs. Check for holes near the bottom edges of the rocks and if a stone crab is present you will notice broken shells and sand. This should give you a good idea if you are adventurous enough to go for the diving route to get your hands on some stone crabs.
You may wonder; how many stone crabs can I hunt?
According to the law, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission allows anyone with a recreational fishing license to possess 1 gallon of claws per person or 2 gallons per vessel. But you have to remember that once its claws are harvested you have to release the crabs back into the water.
Always remember to make sure that the claws you are going to harvest are of a size at least 2 3/4 inches and never take claws from an egg-bearing female.
Some may argue that catching stone crabs should align with sustainable seafood hunting, which means you can catch only a certain amount of stone crabs each season. This is to make sure that they don’t go extinct and enough number of them is present so that the ecosystem is not adversely affected. But if you are catching them by the numbers mentioned above then you don’t have to worry much.
Now you know the basics about how to catch a stone crab!
Congratulations! In the next posts, we will explore more of the stone crab realm and you might be fascinated about what you may discover. So stay tuned with us and Happy Crabbing!