Seaside Stories

Crabbing at the 12th Avenue Bridge

September 30, 2012 | by Nate Burke

My version of catching crab is typically reserved to receiving my plate at one of our many seafood restaurants in town. But it’s no secret that there are some outstanding opportunities for DIY crabbing in Seaside. What’s the local crabbing scene like? I decided to head down to the 12th Avenue Bridge to find out.
I had thought that the crabbing process would involve grueling labor and skillful claw-dodging but I was pleased to find out that catching your dinner is really quite easy. The 12th Avenue Bridge crosses the Necanicum River just shy of the estuary and is a stunning wildlife viewing area in its own right. It’s an ideal backdrop for unfolding a lawn chair, opening a cooler, and catching some rays while you wait for your inevitable crab catch.
A community of crabbers from all over the northwest were out enjoying the crisp afternoon. They are extremely knowledgeable and more than happy to share their insider’s wisdom. A group from Battleground, Washington hauled up their crab pot from the river with three large male crabs gleaming in the sunlight. “Want to hold one?” they asked. They showed me how to pick up a crab by its two rear legs, just out of reach of its pinch-happy claws.
Crab pots and hoop nets (I’m told crab pots are more reliable) are cast into the river and tied directly to the bridge. What’s the best bait to use? According to one local, crabs have a sharp sense of smell and, like humans, are attracted to rare delicacies. Surprisingly, raw chicken is a very popular and successful bait. Chicken is as delicious to a crab’s palette as, well, crab is to ours. The scent in the water distinguishes itself from more common fare and I guess even crabs get a little weary of eating seafood all the time.
Crabbing in Oregon’s bays and estuaries is open year round and according to the 12th Avenue Bridge crabbers, a 4-hour venture will nearly always yield a feast. However, September through December tend to yield meatier crabs.  The best times of day tend to be right at high or low tide when the crabs don’t have to fuss with the tidal exchange currents.
What does a beginner need to get started? In Oregon, you’ll need a shellfish license , your crab pot or hoop net, a rope, and bait. Around Seaside, Trucke’s and Bud’s Campground can supply permits, bait, and all of your gear rental needs.
The evening ended at the 12th Avenue Bridge with a group setting up a large portable boiler and beginning their evening banquet. “What’s the largest crab you’ve ever caught out here?” I asked a family from Vancouver. The father gazed out towards the distance and replied, “9 inches, not including the legs”. He was quickly challenged by his wife and son but he persisted: “I’m serious! It was the Moby-Dick of Dungeness crab! I ate him with garlic butter!” Being a newcomer, that’s all the proof I needed. But the rest of the family remained skeptical.  I’m hoping to catch my own Moby-Dick Dungeness here soon. See you in Seaside!
Editor’s note:  For more information on Oregon’s recreational crab fishing, including recreational shellfish regulations, check out the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s crabbing page here.

Leave a Reply

and so much more!

Seaside Inside for Kids

Seaside is known for a variety of outdoor activities to enjoy during most of the year and it’s not uncommon to have a 60-plu...

Learn More
“World’s Largest”

A quick recap of Seaside

Learn More
A Glimpse of the Turnaround: Circa 1940

Seaside's classic turnaround circa 1940.

Learn More
Insider Tips: Exploring the Prom Like a Local

It’s difficult to imagine Seaside without the historic Promenade, the famous lamp-lined trail that stretches along the sandy bea...

Learn More
Ranger’s Guide to the North Coast

Some of Oregon’s most scenic and history-rich places are located in or around Seaside. In fact, within just a one-hour drive, yo...

Learn More
Surrey in Seaside
How to Bike Seaside

Our author takes a look at the various ways to bike in and around Seaside, Oregon.

Learn More
Salt Making in Seaside

A little history about the Salt Works; on December 28, 1805 the Lewis and Clark sent five men to establish a salt camp. Five days later, they found an ideal place on the seacoast fifteen miles southwest of Fort Clatsop (the seawater had a high salt content here, and game and wood were abundant).

Learn More
Let’s Fly a Kite

On the beach at Seaside is perfect for this. There are no overhead wires and the beach has few up or down wind drafts from the winds which move across the ocean. This makes kite flying easier and explains why kites are a common part of the Seaside landscape. Kite flying is for dry days as wet kite lines can act as a conductor for static electricity and lightning in a storm.

Learn More
Antiquing in Seaside

Antique shopping in Seaside, Oregon

Learn More
A Seagull’s View

Aerial shot of Seaside Oregon from the 1920s

Learn More
Seaside Art Scene

Seaside is well-known for its scenic coastline, color-drenched sunsets and abundant natural beauty, but this coastal town has an a...

Learn More
Ice cream time in Seaside, Oregon
And the winner is…

Customer Service Awards program in Seaside, Oregon

Learn More
Waving the Flag in the Early 1900s

Take a look at a vintage float from the early 1900s Seaside parade.

Learn More
Seaside’s History is an Honored Guest in Its Present

There are many local landmarks that celebrate the rich history of Seaside, a town that has been enjoyed as a popular beach getaway...

Learn More
Bell Buoy of Seaside offers fresh seafood and features ready-to-eat items in an adjacent restaurant.
Can’t-Miss Dungeness Crab Eats

It’s a short journey from ocean to plate in Seaside, especially when it comes to Oregon’s official crustacean: the delectable ...

Learn More
Wave Meets Wall

Back in 1925, the waves would encroach on Seaside's Turnaround with a dramartic ferocity

Learn More
Seaside Lifeguards: A Fond Seasonal Farewell

Can you believe it’s almost Labor Day Weekend? Don’t fret!  We’re still probably in for some dynamic weather throughout Sep...

Learn More