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Oldest Crabber on the Quay

Posted by Squiffy on August 28th, 2007

When we were little, my sister and I would spend many hours happily crab fishing from the pontoons and quay at Dartmouth. Neither of us liked fastening the bait to the line (well, it was cut up fish heads) so my dad would do that bit for us, but after that we would sit and catch the 6 legged creatures all day. There’s more skill involved than you think; you need to put down exactly the right length of line to get the bait on the bottom but still have the line taught enough so you can feel the crab when it bites, they need to be pulled up at just the right speed so that they don’t fall off and you need to recognise when to move along to more crab rich area. Helen and I became experts and our all time record was 147 in one day.

Walking along the quay I became jealous of all the kids who were crabbing to their hearts content. So I decided to part with £4.20 necessary to acquire a line, a bucket and some squid bait (already cut up for me). I found the technology had advanced slightly over the years and I can’t help thinking the new equipment is designed specifically for the squemish amongst us who don’t have a dad on hand: the lines now come with a net, rather like the ones you use for your washing machine tablets, so that you can put the stinky bait straight in without handling it. It probably also sticks to the crabs claws, thus helping you to catch more.

I chose a spot on the quay and dropped my line in. After a couple of minutes I felt a bite and pulled up the line plus crab. However, before I got him up and into the bucket he dropped off and back into the river. This happened several times before I managed to catch and transfer my first crab to the bucket. I say first. It was also the last as I only managed to catch one that day. It seems I have lost my crabbing expertise. Either that or the crabs have become wise over the years. Still, I enjoyed watching the boats go by and chatting to bemused passers-by who came to check out what was in my bucket, whilst looking slightly perplexed that a late 20-something girl was there with her line and bucket. I really must have been the oldest crabber on the quay, or at least the oldest without a child to act as a ruse. Anyhow, I recommend it to anyone of any age for a relaxing and satisfying experience. And perhaps I’ll have another go tomorrow.

Check out my crab pictures.

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