Things to do on the island: Read about our first-ever crabbing expedition!
I’ve always wanted to go crabbing in the gulf islands, but I didn’t have anyone to teach me.
I finally got over that, and just went for it. Our first ever Vancouver Island crabbing experience will be remembered forever.
I was walking with my boy Titus down by the ocean one day, and a gruff old fisherman was walking by with a bucket full of prawns. You could just tell this guy knew how to go crabbing in the gulf islands. The fisherman knew that Titus was curious, so he bent down so Titus could take a look.
The fisherman said “you like prawns boy? You want one?” Before Titus could respond he had 3 freshly caught prawns shoved into the front pocket of his little overalls.
It’s not every day you have someone stick fresh shrimp in your pocket. So what would any island boy? Well proudly walk home of course and ask his mama to fry them up.
That’s when I got the idea that it was time for me to learn how to go crabbing. And what better place then crabbing in the gulf islands.
I had no idea how to do it, but I thought maybe I would feel a little more like an islander if I learned this Vancouver Island crabbing skill. I thought to myself, “How hard could it be anyway? And wouldn’t it be fun to treat my mainland guests to some fresh crab to add to their Vancouver Island experience?” Those all seemed good enough reasons to me to go crabbing in the gulf islands for my first time, and that’s where our story began…
So completely unprepared and without a clue, I told the kids we were going crabbing in the gulf islands.
I don’t think they really knew what adult size ocean crabs were, but we were all up for a grand Vancouver Island crabbing adventure anyway. (Side Note: Fishing licenses for kids are free – learn more)
We got ourselves a crab pot, and after a little research on what to use as bait… we walked down to the end of the dock by our house to go crabbing.
We used chicken as our bait for two reasons, one it was the first thing that came up online as a good bait and two, if the kids got hungry while out on our crabbing expedition I had something to give them for a snack.
I proceeded to drop the crab pot to the bottom of the ocean floor, while the kids eagerly awaited what would come next. When I told the kids we were done and it was time to go back home, they seemed a little confused as to why we were giving up so soon.
I probably shouldn’t have wound them all up with excitement and neglect to tell them the part about waiting. You see it typically takes a good few hours before a crab will make its way into the trap to nibble on some chicken. For my kids that was an eternity!
Finally the moment came when it was time to pull up the trap.
We all headed back down to the dock full of anticipation of what might be down in our trap in the depth of the ocean floor. Will there be 10 crabs, 2 crabs or no crabs? Well there was only one way to find out and as the kids peered over the edge I pulled on the rope. What came next I don’t think the written word will do it justice, so take a look at this video:
Like I mentioned before, I really didn’t have a clue what I was doing. My confidence was so low in my crabbing ability at the time I really didn’t think I would catch anything…I mean I brought a little blue bucket with me. But lo and behold, we pulled up some beauties! Completely shocked and unprepared for what to do next, we managed to get the crabs into the back of my truck.
All the way home the kids were full of excitement and sharing “crab stories” of how they barely escaped the lightening fast, razor sharp claws of these gigantic ocean beasts… the stories would go on for days. I on the other hand, was wondering what I was going to tell my wife I was coming home with in the back of the truck. I called Gretta and figured it was better to tell her straight up as I knew she always liked an adventure.
“Gretta you better turn the computer on and start boiling a giant pot of water because we are going to need both… and fast”
It is amazing what will pop up on google when you need to know something quick.
So that night we managed to have some fresh crab for the first time as Vancouver Islanders. There’s nothing quite like catching your own dinner right out of the ocean… and yes, I very much felt a little more like a true Islander that day.
Favourite kids quote of the day, came from Kaia: “Put that one in the pot first daddy, that’s the mean one!!”
How about you? Do you like eating fresh Vancouver Island crab? Do you have a crabbing in the gulf islands story of your own? Have a favourite recipe? Use the comment section below.
Here is a video that I wish I would have watched before trying to eat fresh crab straight from the ocean! This will definitely help all those who are googling “how to eat crab” in a panic right now. Enjoy!