Outdoor

Marie McAden

SOUTH CAROLINA INSIDER

 

Learn how to catch blue crabs at Hunting Island State Park

Posted 8/24/2012 10:07:00 AM

Forget the bacon. Bring home a seafood dinner this summer. Lowcountry tidal creeks and saltwater marshes are still brimming with blue crabs ready to be turned into delicious patties and dips.

And it’s as easy as tying a nasty old chicken part to the end of a sturdy string. Just drop it in the water and wait. If there are any blue crabs in the vicinity, they’ll soon be high-tailing it to your piece of poultry. Give them a couple of minutes to latch on and then scoop them up with a net. Dinner awaits!

Hunting Island State Park is offering hands-on instruction on the art of catching blue crabs at 11 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the month of August. The 90-minute classes are $2; free if you have a Park Passport Plus.

The park rangers will provide everything you need to haul in a delectable seafood bounty. If you want to keep the crabs you catch, be sure to bring a bucket to carry them home.

You’ll need to pre-register to participate in the class, titled “In Search of the Elusive Blue Crab.” Call (843) 838-2011. For more information, click here

Admission to the park is $5 for adults, $3 for children 6 to 15 and free for kids 5 and younger.

Ready to go it solo? I’ve got a couple of tips to help ensure a fruitful outing. Let your chicken part sit in the sun for several hours, or even a couple of days. The smellier the bait, the better. For some reason, crabs prefer well-ripened poultry.

If you catch any female crabs carrying an egg sac, you’ll need to throw them back. That also goes for any crab that’s less than five inches across the widest part of its back.

Happy crabbing!