Let's talk crab [NJ]

(Tom T) #221

If they are smallish, flour the whole fish and fry. Like little fish potato chips. If they get bigger, just pinch off the heads and squeeze the guts out.

Old time Italian thing that gets you funny looks from everyone else using them as bait.


My oceanography class in high school seined up some crabs and we took some back to school and put them in aquariums.

We put two of them in the same tank, big mistake. The larger one eyeballed the smaller one and in about two seconds cleanly sliced it in two.

gcaggiano your post made me realize that most if not all of the crabs were not of legal size. This was Galveston in the '70’s and maybe the instructor was able to skirt the law for science experiments, maybe not.


Greg if you had to ball park it, what percent would you say are legal size? Also, if you want to PM me, I’m curious as to what a part of the hook you are at.

And finally, let’s get some more crab pics! :smile:


@jcostiones my last pics were from a trip where I caught more one clawed big males than I have ever seen. It was really strange and I’ve never seen a ratio like that before. Do you think they just battle it out during a certain time of year? It seemed like one out of 4 males had one claw that trip.

(Greg Caggiano) #225

Legal size in NJ for blue crabs is 4 and a half inches across. Most of the ones we were pulling in were around that size. I wasn’t measuring since they were all getting thrown back. Usually with the school groups we only pull in babies because we are in the bay at low tide. But the tide was coming in and we were raking in the adults. It takes a lot to surprise me on Sandy Hook after doing these programs for more than four years. We were not even that far out with the seining net. Maybe 15-20 feet.

I will tell you where we were publicly. It’s not really a big deal because it was a matter of luck and the tide. The beach on the bay at Lot C. The day before, we had decent crab reapings at Horseshoe Cove. There were a couple of Jamaican fisherman pulling in smelts and silversides by the bucket.

After researching, there does not seem to be any differentiation between crabbing on Sandy Hook and other parts of NJ. So I am assuming it is legal. Though if you read the EPA’s guide for where to and not to fish/crab, you will probably scare the living shit out of yourself. In general, Sandy Hook Bay can be iffy in regards to consuming seafood. The clams go to the Depuration Plant in Highlands to detox for several days. For those here who do not know, clams basically eat feces (animal and human) and sewage and need to release that bacteria after they are caught. While the crabs and fish do not have such a diet, they too are affected. That area’s proximity to New York City and the millions of gallons of raw sewage and garbage that get dumped makes one think twice before consuming. But once in a while is fine.

(Greg Caggiano) #226

Thank you! Take a look for my name in the Lifelong Learning catalogs. I do a bunch of standalone lectures and series every season. Aside from my usual history programming, this December I’ll be offering a one-time History of Liquor lecture. It is my most repeated one on campus. :smiley:

(Greg Caggiano) #227

Well, all states vary by what they consider crabs to be legal size. I’m sure Galveston in the 70’s was pretty lax. Must have been awesome to take such a course in that environment, though.

For our programs, we place our “specimens” in pools on the beach so the kids can watch the creatures swimming and moving around. Then after about 45-60 minutes, we return all to the bay. The crabs are incredibly aggressive. With us, each other, and other fish. Yesterday a large blue crab killed a silverside right in front of our eyes. But that is nature and we do not interfere. They must coexist in the bay, and they coexist in our pool for a brief time.

(Jeff) #228

The Coast Guard docks on Sandy Hook are good for crabbing if you have access.

A National Park Service ranger mentioned a couple of years ago (as we watched someone crabbing from one of the USCG docks) that Horseshoe cove and Spermacetti cove are designated as marine sanctuaries so that clamming and crabbing are prohibited from shore or by wading.

(Greg Caggiano) #229

Yes, they have a sign for clamming in Horseshoe Cove. As part of our program, catch-and-release is allowed. C Beach, though, is not a designated sanctuary.


@gcaggiano we need to have the first annual Greg crab fest. That would be seriously cool if you are allowed to crab there. I know there is some camping and cooking some crabs over wood fired pots would be awesome!

(Greg Caggiano) #231

Yup that would be cool. Camping and fires are both allowed with a permit from the park rangers. Easily obtainable and a nominal fee.

(Tom T) #232

Pretty sure Gateway doesn’t allow open fires unless you are at a campsite. And then those campsites have rules of their own. For gatherings we’ve used the charcoal grills/picnic tables at Guardian Park in the past. That seems to work out well.


I’m still wondering where these crabs are lol. Generally they don’t like current and sandy bottoms unless it is very shallow and slower moving water. I think all the spots I’ve seen there are sandy and not muddy. Greg might have a secret spot! Maybe in that one cove I could see a good population of crab or off that spot near “officers row”

(Tom T) #234

Yeah, and like someone said around all the pilings on the CG dock.

Just an addendum to the clam comments as well, all locally harvested commercial clam goes to the depuration plant in Highlands. Whether or not they were caught in Sandy Hook Bay. You can rec clam in the Navesink. I’ve eaten plenty of those, and I’m fine. :nauseated_face::crazy_face:


Did I ever show you the Indian deer antler pipe my uncle raked up in the navesink? He actually raked up two! He lost the first one but he still has the second. I want to see if I can get this thing carbon dated. It’s super cool! I don’t know what the chances are of raking up two pipes but I told him to play the lottery lol. What did they smoke out of these? It is super smooth, like sea glass.

(Tom T) #236

That is awesome

(Eli Paryzer) #237

My niece from PA went crabbing with her family yesterday in Sea Isle City (whale creek marina around marker 38) and caught these beauties. I just saw this on her Instagram feed so I don’t have any other details.


We were crabbing an estuary in waste deep water using chicken necks on a string pecking away when the tide started coming and we caught one huge male after another, the kind they pay a kings ransom for in Maryland.

Crabbing and fishing is all about time and tide.

I’ve wade fished the surf without a bite and caught a fish every cast for several hours.


There’s an EPA Superfund site on the San Jacinto River where it flows into Galveston Bay and people crab there, and swim, and drown all the time. Nasty, nasty water.


I want to work with you! Lucky duck!