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DJNEB

Crabbing and Clamming?

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I was wondering what the laws/process was for crabbing and clamming?  I never really went fishing with anyone before, nor have I been crabbing or clamming, but I have seen people in South Jersey, mainly Wildwood area, doing these types of things along the sides of the road or on the beach and was wondering if there is anyone out there that can shed a little light on these activities.  I have become interested in trying it for myself, mainly crabbing and clamming, but don't really know where to start.  Do I need any special license for saltwater crabbing/clamming or can I just go?  Also, what types of equipment would I need?  Not looking for this to be anything crazy expensive or anything, just an occasional, fun activity I can try out.  Also, if I go crabbing or clamming, what is the process to clean them so I can eat them?  Do I need to do anything special to ones I personally gather myself, or can I just treat them as if I bought them?  Any help and direction would be greatly appreciated!  I feel a little silly asking these types of things, but I need to start somewhere and would rather hear it from people who have done it!

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For crabbing you are allowed 1 bushel per person per day you can use as many hand lines or traps as you want as long as you are actively tending them , If you want to use the over night Maryland traps you will need a $2 permit and you can use 2 overnight traps , permits can be bought a any place that selling fishing or hunting license's crabs must be at least 4 1/2 inches point to point , Clamming there is a $10 permit and you are allowed 150 clams per person per day , but there is a size limit on 1 1/2 inch  you can get a measure gauge for both crab and clam there like $2  you can go online to the marine fisheries site to check what areas you can clam . I go behind island beach but there are a lot of places to go , I find it easy to use a clam rake , I bought one of the killer clam rakes and works great for me . , crabbing will only be getting better from here on out end of august and sept are the when there big and full. any thing else ya need feel free to ask. John

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Fishnhard is spot on. You do not need to prepare clamp just harvest and cook with whatever method you prefer. Crabs do have to be cleaned. Just pull open the "trap door" and scoop put the gills. You can find a video on YouTube I'm sure. Then you can prepare them how ever you like. Can't go wrong with steaming the clams and crabs togather with some corn on the cob with a bunch of oldbay!

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I use the hand lines and square traps. the basket traps you have to be quick with if you choose those, crabs are fast escape artists. Some people use bunker I find I have had better luck with chicken (heart, neck, liver etc) Also make sure you have enough line to hit the bottom of where you are crabbing otherwise the traps just hang there.

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Thanks you guys for that great info.  So just to clarify, for crabbing I need no special license or permit for anything unless I leave the traps out overnight?  I was looking at these square traps with little doors on the sides that open and close, so I guess overnight traps are something else.  What are the traps called when the entire side of the traps open, and when there is just a little door that only allows them to come into the trap but not out?  I can't figure out the difference between them as I would prefer to get the latter.  For clamming, what type of permit do I need, or is there just one general type of permit and I am good to go?  I was looking at a clam rake as well, and from what I read, it doesn't sound to difficult to use. 

I guess my next followup question about the permit for clamming is, and please don't laugh at me haha, where do I get permits?  I have firearms and I know firearm permit/license procedures change from county to county, so do crabbing and clamming laws/procedure change as well?  Also, I had to go through the State Police to get my permits and licenses for my firearms, do I go through the police for clamming permits as well or someplace else?  I live in Allentown NJ, and have another house in Wildwood.  Not sure if that matter or not but figured I would throw it out there.  Would one clamming permit be good for the entire state or would I need one for the area I wish to go clamming in?  Also, do the permits expire or need to be renewed at all?

I am glad that clams need no special preparation to eat; is there anything I should do to them before I steam them?  I was confused about crabs - I read that there is a toxin in crabs that ruins the meat when they die...  Is that true at all?  I feel like it isn't.  Also, does it matter if I keep the clams and/or crabs in water when I catch them or can I just stick them in a cooler?  If you keep them in water, is it saltwater or freshwater?

Also, when is the best time to go crabbing and clamming?

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Yeah its true about the toxins. crabs release chemicals to decompose their body shortly after they die so you should never eat a crab that you find dead. Not saying you eat the crabs live rather if you catch them live, keep them on ice, clean out the gills and cook them or freeze them right away your good to go. Personally I only catch what I plan on eating that day so I have never frozen uncooked crabs before but I know a few people who do this. an alternative is to cook the crabs then freeze them for a later date if you desire. Also about the clams, there is nothing you need to do before you steam them but an alternate quick and easy way I like to cook clams is to throw them right on the grill, when the shells pop open they are ready. If a clam shell does not open when you cook it do not eat it.

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I wouldn't eat a crab I find dead, but basically what you are saying is to keep the live crabs I catch in a cooler with ice and they will be safe to eat?  I was a little confused about that, since it sounds like you aren't supposed to eat the crabs you catch dead since the toxin will be present, but then my question was how do I kill the crabs without releasing the toxin?  Is the crab alive when I go to clean out the gills and all or is it like cooking lobster where you kill it first?  Also, how long would you say before the toxins for the crabs are released, or does it happen as soon as the crab dies?  I eat crabs and clams all the time, but only ones I buy in a store or order in a restaurant, never ones I went and caught myself fresh from the sea.

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ok, this is what I do.

1. catch crab

2. place directly into cooler on ice

3. at the end of the day I go home and clean the crabs

4. cook crabs

5. eat or freeze crabs

I believe you have a day or two that you could keep cleaned, raw crabs if kept on ice or in a fridge but like I said I only catch what I can eat that day.

If you want I might be able to meet up with you and do come crabbing. I don't know the waters around wildwood to well but im sure I could find a spot or two to try out, or if you have a boat all the better!

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DJNEB ,  Ill post here instead so others may ad to it from your message you sent , The danilson 24 inch trap you were looking at is whats  considered a commercial style trap these type are generally left out overnight and thus you will need a permit for , the most common traps used for a day out are the box style which you can get at dicks -walmart or any  bait and tackle stores , I use what know as a topless trap same style just no top  just for stacking purpose on my boat, Bait is either bunker or chicken either will work  but I prefer chicken I run 30 traps and I buy the family packs of chicken for $6 . When catching crabs you want to keep them cool and wet I use a bushel basket as im catching ill dunk it over just to keep them wet and ill drap a wet towel over the basket to keep the sun off as much ass possible. When to go..... tide movement is important in coming or outgoing , if the water is moving so are the crabs, you may catch a lot more on one or the other  but more often then not you catch on either, cooking crabs I keep mine simple I put a gallon of water in the bottom of my steamer 1 cup of vinegar and a 1/2 cup of old bay and JO#2 SPICE combined ,  as I put crabs in I will sprinkle oldbay on the crabs another layer of crabs and so on till all the crabs are in , steaming should only take 5-10 minutes ,  CLEANING once cooked I break off the claws and legs putem in a bowl  Bodys pop off the shell and clean out the deadman AKA lungs  , a little rinse and into a bowl , there are many ways to cook crabs  (YOUTUBE IS YOUR FRIEND LOL ) Find what tastes the best to you .

Clamming...... your $10 permit can be bought at most bait and tackle stores and I think walmart to. you permit is only good for 1 season so each year you need to by another , it is good for all of NJ but you need to go onto the NJ state marine fisheries site  pick the area you which to clamm and it will show you maps of the area  , the ledger will show you restricted areas seasonal areas and all allowable areas,  Catching ....... low tide is better  just makes is easier to rake  when raking youll feel like you hit a rock or just an odd feeling you hit something , its hard to explain until you do it , Cooking again in simple either steam or just put on the grill when they pop open dunk that thing in some melted butter or cocktail sauce ,,   DAM NOW I WANT SOME CLAMS AND CRABS .

WHEN NOT TO EAT .... crabs if its dead its dead throw it away if it wants to pinch the shit outa ya into the steamer it goes , clams if it don't pop open its dead throw it away ..

theres a lot I may have missed since its 2 different activitlys but again any questions feel free to ask.

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I have been browsing Youtube for examples of cleaning and just the whole activity and it makes a lot more sense now that you guys told me what to do and I was able to see it done.  You mentioned before that Maryland Style traps require a $2 permit - are the Danielson ones I mentioned considered a "Maryland Style Trap?"  If I wanted to use the Danielson trap, since it requires a permit, would I get those permits at a bait and tackle shop as well, or even Walmart?  Also, do the permits for the crab traps only last the season as well or are they good for as long as I have/use the trap?  Also, does each trap require its own permit?  Just looks like they would be easier to use since the crabs can't escape on their own so once they are in, they are stuck.  I do not have a boat and would plan to just toss them from the shore.  Chicken for bait seems like a good way to go, easy to get a hold of and not too expensive.   

When you say a clamming permit is good for the season, what qualifies as the season?  How long until the permit expires?  Not sure what the "clamming season" is.  Do you need to keep the clams wet and cool as well, like you mentioned for the crabs?  I figured I might as well get a cooler and fill it with ice water and just throw the crabs I get in there as I catch them; would the same be necessary for clams?

I know how I would cook them, I love me some crabs and clams, the part I was unsure about was getting the darn things lol. 

One other thing regarding both clamming permits and the crab trap permits; can I just walk into a bait and tackle shop, ask for a permit, and be given one and go about my business?  Or does it take time before I receive it?  Also, if I go with someone, does each person need their own permit?


Fishnut - that would be pretty cool if we could go together, though I would like to do a little more research on the types of traps beforehand..  I don't currently have any of the equipment haha, and like I mentioned, I have no boat.

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you don't need a boat to go clamming and crabbing but they help to find a spot that's not crowded. Also I use handlines that I make my self. just a length of cord that I tie an old hook on and a lead weight. then I set the bait on the hook. I usually use bunker chunks and chicken necks. I also have some box traps that have snares around them. I like to give the crabs a chance, more sport that way so I mostly use handlines. cant beat a day of clamming, crabbing and beer drinking. Oh yeah I forgot to mention the most important tool when crabbing, BEER!

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I've rented boats (large rowboat with small outboard) from Trixie's Landing three times. It's $70 for a full day. 

 

http://www.trixieslanding.com/services/boat-rentals/

 

Little more expensive but may be close to you.  Oceanic Marina in Rumson.  Rented from them once when a friend of mine wanted to go but didn't want to drive all the way down to Trixie's:

 

http://www.oceanicmarinarumsonnj.com/boat-rentals-navasink.html

 

 

Here's a video I found on Youtube that shows a super easy way to clean them.  My 9 year old daughter cleaned a few of them with me:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hT60uf4qT4I

 

 

You should be able to buy everything you need from the marina / boat rental place.  I like using drop lines over traps.  You may even be able to pick drop lines up from Dick's Sporting Goods, Effingers or the like.  You'll also need a basket to hold  the crabs.  Bait (fish or chicken).  I've been sold the fish attract the crabs more.  If you rent a boat they usally supply the net (at least Trixie's does).

 

When I went about 3 weeks ago we caught prob 50-60 but only kept 14.  Lots of shorties. 

 

Also, throw back the females if they have egg sacks.

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For the record, I've never cleaned a crab before throwing it in the pot. Never had a problem and neither did my family generations before me. I don't eat the "mustard", but some guys do.

DJNEB, there's a couple boat rental marinas o East Bay Ave in Barnegat also for crabbing and/or clamming. Bob's Bay Marina used to issue the clamming  license, not sure now.

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I grew up in a crabbing family in Maryland...the only reason to "clean" the crab before cooking is if you intend to freeze them before cooking. If you're going from water to basket to pot...just toss 'em in alive and screaming. "Cleaning" out the mustard removes a lot of the flavor and, in my opinion, is way more work than necessary. Personally, I also don't coat them in Old Bay or anything else (I don't like the flavor). I put about 2"-3" of water, about 1 cup of rock salt and a beer in the bottom of a big pot with a couple of pie plates set upside down and STEAM them. Boiling crabs turns the meat to mush and makes it much harder to get out of the shell. This is the way Marylanders have done it for generations and it has sustained MD's economy for hundreds of years.

 

If we go out for crabs, I'll ask the server to wash the seasoning off of my crabs or bring me a bucket of water so I can do it. I get some really strange looks some times.

 

As far as catching them from a dock...we always used regular old kite string and chicken necks and then scoop them off with a fish net BEFORE they come out of the water. If you try to lift it out of the water while it's still hanging onto the chicken, it will drop off.

 

 

This signature is AWESOME!!!

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