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!

Terrible Tilly: Stowing Away the Years

Perched atop solid rock more than a mile offshore from Tillamook Head, the notorious Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, (nicknamed “Terr...

Learn More
Seaside Summer Event Guide

We know that Seaside’s stellar location is reason enough to visit. But summers here are jam-packed with events that you won’t ...

Learn More
Postcards from the Past

Ancient postcards from Seaside's distant past

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 Golf Club

A look at the history of the Seaside Golf Club.

Learn More
Excellence in Customer Service Tip #1: 3 Key Elements in a Good Greeting

National Tourism and Travel Week begins May 2, 2015. In celebration, the City of Seaside Visitors Bureau is emphasizing the import...

Learn More
How To Surf Seaside

Surfing in Oregon? Yes! The North Coast has some of the best breaks in the Pacific Northwest. And yes, the ocean is a bit nippy, b...

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
I’ll See You at the Nat

A brief look at Seaside history of Natatoriums

Learn More
Northwest Travel Magazine: Best Eats on Oregon’s North Coast

Article on Best Eats on Oregon's North Coast

Learn More
Saddle Mountain State Park Excursion

A day trip to Saddle Mountain adds diversity to Seaside as a destination vacation.

Learn More
Kayakers paddle in the Necanicum Estuary
So Close, But a World Away

A couple explores Seaside as modern-day Lewis and Clark Adventurers

Learn More
Step Into Vintage Charm at the Times Theatre

Moviegoers love a good comeback story, and that’s exactly what they’ll find at the “new” Times Theatre & Public House...

Learn More
A volunteer assists those watching whales at an unknown location along the Oregon Coast.
Where to Watch for Whales

It’s possible to see gray whales off the Oregon Coast year-round, but one of two peak periods occurs in late March, when some 20...

Learn More
Wave Energy

Wave energy refers to energy generated from the power of waves near their surface. There are different types of devices designed to convert wave energy, but the ones that seems to be most in use at the moment as researchers continue to investigate this source of renewable energy are buoys. Columbia Power Technologies, an Oregon-based alternative energy company, recently launched a prototype wave energy buoy in the gentle waters of the Puget Sound as it races to be one of the first suppliers of wave-generated energy.

Learn More
Beach Bonfires – Under a Dome of Stars

A longstanding tradition is alive and well in Seaside

Learn More
Washed Away

A look at the cantilever pier in Seaside, Oregon in 1930

Learn More
Seaside is Dressing Up for the Holidays

Seaside, Oregon preparations for the holiday season

Learn More