Crabbing, a delightful and eco-friendly activity, offers fun for both families and fishing enthusiasts. The quaint Cornish fishing port of Looe is at the forefront of this, pioneering the UK’s first crab line recycling scheme to address plastic pollution and protect marine wildlife from the hazards of discarded crab lines.
One of the highlights of crabbing is the simplicity of the equipment needed. A crab line typically consists of a string or fishing wire with a weight heavy enough to sink bait, such as chicken neck or leg, to the harbour bottom. For those new to the activity, an H-frame crab line with a bait bag, like the plastic-free version from Yello, is a perfect choice. It’s not only environmentally friendly but also ensures hours of engagement.
When it comes to choosing the right spot, bridges often provide excellent crabbing locations. The bridge in Looe, for example, is a prime spot for blue crab fishing. Other great places include harbourside towns like Kingsbridge, where you can crab along the promenade, ferryboat steps, and slipways. Polperro also stands out, offering scenic walks along the river, perfect for crabbing enthusiasts and nature lovers.
Crab bait is another crucial aspect. Crabs are drawn to strong smells, so the smellier the bait, the better your chances of a successful catch. However, remember to measure your catch to ensure it meets size regulations, such as being at least 5 ¾ inches across the back for males.
For cooking your catch, boiling is a straightforward method. Fill a pot about 2/3 full with water, bring it to a rolling boil, and then add the crabs, ensuring they don’t go in upside-down. This cooking process is both quick and efficient.
Despite the fun, it’s important to be aware of the environmental impact. A 32-year-old mother has called for a boycott of crabbing competitions after witnessing the harm caused by string lines to wildlife, like a dead seagull tangled in a line.
Lastly, for the best crabbing experience, go when the tide is coming in. Attach your bait, throw your line into the water, ideally over seaweed, and wait patiently for a crab to nibble.