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!

Summer in Seaside can offer as much variety as our local candy stores.
How to Have an Epic North Coast Summer

A summer spent in Seaside is like a good clam chowder — fresh, flavorful and filling.

Learn More
Lookout on Neahkahnie Mountain

Sometimes an Oregon Coast outdoor adventure doesn

Learn More
On How to Spend the Holidays in Seaside

Let’s be honest, the holidays can get stressful. That means it’s the perfect time of year to slow down and head to the beach. ...

Learn More
View from the Tower

View from the old Seaside Hotel tower.

Learn More
For a Taste of Oregon’s Beautiful North Coast, Visit Seaside

Seaside has been a vacation destination for nearly as long as Oregon has been a state.

Learn More
A Dog’s Guide to Seaside

Where else in the United States will you find such a welcoming expansive beach, where Fido can run into the tides, kick up some sa...

Learn More
How To Walk Seaside, Oregon

Discover things to see in Seaside, OR including the Seaside Promenade, Tillamook Head Trail & Tillamook Head Lighthouse, bird...

Learn More
Celebrating Spring

Celebrating spring and the lush wildlife in Seaside and the North Oregon Coast.

Learn More
Seaside Skatepark

The Seaside Skatepark (also called the PTR “Hometown Park”) has a unique history. It was opened in June of 2007, and was built by Placed to Ride. The owner of Placed to Ride, Stefan Hauser, lives here in Seaside.

Learn More
Seaside Holiday Spirit
Seaside Holiday Spirit

Seaside holiday spirit is more than evident around town beginning in early November. Ushered in by lights and decorations going up...

Learn More
An early morning kayak ride

One kayaker's take on an early morning ride into the Necanicum Estuary.

Learn More
Seaside Library

A look at the humble beginnings of the Seaside Public Library

Learn More
Where to P.L.A.Y. in Seaside

The park is nestled next to Neawanna Creek where ducks float lazily by, a tree lined mountainside looming in the distance. Do a 180 and you get a great view of Tillamook Head to the south.

Learn More
Read These Oregon Coast Page-Turners

A good book and the beach — there may be no better combination. Opened in 2005, Beach Books is a local institution where you ca...

Learn More
Going for a Dip in the 1920s

Seaside ocean antics in the late 1920s

Learn More
Convention Center Adds Outdoor Mural

Seaside Oregon Civic & Convention Center adds outdoor mural

Learn More
Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day in Seaside

Seaside has many treasures “hidden” before our very eyes, ones we may take for granted because we don’t fully grasp their importance.

Learn More