As summer looms, recreational fishers start to turn their attention to crabbing and the fantastic seafood meals these stunning crustaceans provide.
While our iconic blue swimmer, or blue manna, crabs can be caught all year in many locations, the warmer months are typically peak time for one of the state’s most popular recreational fisheries.
The Peel-Harvey Estuary opened to crab fishing at the start of this month, and it offers a perfect safe location for families to target blue swimmers from boat or shore and is probably the area most associated with these succulent crustaceans, even though they are found right along the WA coast.
There are several ways to target Blue Swimmer Crabs and everyone has their own preferred method.
Most recreational fishers will use baited drop nets or wire scoop nets to catch blue swimmers, although free diving is not uncommon and blunt wire hooks are sometimes used as well. Drop nets and scoop nets are available from all good tackle stores.
Drop netting usually occurs from boats or jetties, while wading the shallows of sand flats with a scoop net can be great fun, spotting the crabs as you go and then quickly scooping them up.
This can be particularly productive at night, when they are often on the move.
There are rules for the Blue Swimmer Crab fishery, and these can be found in full at www.fish.wa.gov.au.
The minimum carapace size is 12.7cm (or 127mm) anywhere in WA and Recfishwest encourages fishers to get a crab gauge from your local tackle store.
The bag limit is 10 per fisher in the West Coast bioregion and 20 in all other bioregions, while the boat limit is two individual bag limits.
Crabbing is a fun pastime perfect for families, and a feed of fresh blue swimmers at the end of the day is a reward which is hard to top!