1. Bring (or buy) gloves! There is a particular way that you pick up the crab to avoid getting pinched, but even if you do it right, they might get you! Tristan and his cousin told me "Their legs will poke at you but it won't hurt...if you pick them up from the back, their pinchers won't get you." WRONG! On the very first pot that I pulled up and attempted to empty, one got me!
It's no joke...that thing hurt! And they will draw blood. Knowing that pain, I was too nervous to pick them up from then on. I still continued to pull up the pots, but I made the boys clear them.
2. When bringing in the pots, pull them up quickly to prevent any captured crabs from swimming out on the way to the surface.
This is another reason to have gloves. After a few hours of tugging on these ropes to pull in the pots, especially with the current, your hands really begin to hurt and it becomes difficult to grip the rope at all. My hands still feel a little raw and sore.
3. Wear sunscreen! When packing for camping, I wasn't anticipating too beautiful of weather. After all, we were headed to the coast. But it ended up being a perfectly clear day when we were down on the docks. Plus, the sun will reflect off the water, intensifying the rays and increasing your chance of getting a sunburn. My neck is starting to blister a little today because it got so burnt! Hopefully it will turn to a tan...
4. Pack your chairs. The dock has a tendency to have "guts" from the fish that is used as bait, and I wouldn't advise sitting on it.
5. Focus on the larger crabs. When crabbing, you are only able to keep the male crabs, and they must meet the minimum size requirement. Once we pulled up a pot, we would quickly scan it to see if there were any big enough to possibly keep. When the pot hits the dock, they crabs will start trying to escape and make their way back to the water. You want to make sure that you grab any possible keepers before the crab-walk right off the dock.
We had 6 pots between the six of us....and after three hours, only got this one keeper! Many people were a lot more successful than we were.
Jetty Fishery is a great place to go crabbing...they sell the shellfish license, rent you the rings, sell you bait, and cook the crab that you catch, free of charge. You can also purchase other seafood, drinks, and other supplies in their store.