Crabbing on Bolivar Peninsula

Ever been crabbing?
It is an activity requiring patience, minimal skill, but the fortitude to face your prey prior to the kill.

My first crabbing experience was when I was eight years old. My family discovered Crystal Beach during a summer vacation to Galveston in 1968 when bored someone suggested we take a ferry boat ride to Bolivar Peninsula. My parents fell instantly in love. Having seven children and a desire to afford an inexpensive way to manage a yearly family vacation, they discovered Crystal Beach, they never looked back.

We rented a beach front house in Emerald Beach #1 fondly called Bedlam for the month of June. It was a large, one room home with no air-conditioning that rented for $300 a month. Mom and her sister would occupy the house, along with the children during the week, and the dads would come down on weekends. It was during this summer vacation I was first exposed to crabbing.

Being the youngest of seven, I had much to prove to compete with the elder siblings and cousins. I did not know I would become an expert crabber, but the fact I enjoyed eating crab for breakfast after they were served as the prior evenings meal propelled me to become a proficient crabber.

Blue Crab

The items needed are minimal. Thin rope, a small weight, a net, chicken necks and an ice crest for the catch are all that are needed. The technique is quite simple once the prime location has been secured. First, cut a piece of thin rope around 10 feet long. Tie the appetizing chicken neck, along with a small weight to the bottom of the rope. Toss the line into the water and wait. Crabs will be attracted to the free meal and will begin to nibble on the meat. Inexperienced crabbers may confuse the weight as being a crab, but it is the continuous little tugs that are the clue a crab has begun to feast.

Here is where the skill and patience comes in. Once you feel the tug on the line from the crab enjoying his meal, you must ever so slightly raise the line to the surface. If you are patient and bring the line up slowly, the crab will succumb to his hunger and continue to eat his meal. Once the eyes of the prey are seen a member of the party on stand-by with the net should be ready to swoop down for the kill. If proficient in the attempt it will be a score…people 1-crab 0. And, the exercise is repeated until the masses can be feed.

Katie Osten Wiseman


Crabbing spots open to the public
1. Horseshoe Lake off Frenchtown Road
2. Horseshoe Lake at Loop 108 (7th Street) bridge
3. North Jetty, at the end of 17th Street
Article: A Bit of Twine & Chicken Necks = Blue Claw Fun
By Ed Snyder/Outdoors

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