Sports

FISH, FUR, FOWL: Crab season off to a good start

To say that the opening of this year’s crab season was good might just be an understatement.

Even though only the northern portion of Area 8-1 opened this past Friday local sportsman were raking in limits of huge Dungeness in a matter of hours.

Friday my father and I had our traps in the water for only three hours before we managed to pull in our limits and after talking to numerous locals with the same story, it was clear that this was going to be one outstanding season.

I think with the confusion over possibly delaying the season opener all together might have had an effect on the number of participants this weekend. I really expected to see quite a few more buoys floating in Crescent Harbor than I did. There were quite a few people wading in the shallow waters with dip nets in hand on Friday.

The southern portion of area 8-1 is closed until further notice due to “large numbers of soft shell crab.”

During this weekend I threw maybe five or six crabs back for being somewhat soft, so I don’t imagine it will be much longer until the rest of the area is opened. Once the remainder of 8-1 opens and Area 6 opens June 16, all waters around the island will be fair game. Crabbing should be outstanding for a while as long as the commercial boats remain off the water.

This time of year you can pay for your fishing license with as little as one limit of crabs. With an average price of $4.99 a pound a limit of crabs weighing about two pounds apiece, it would cost you $60.

Fresh crab is to me 10 times tastier than crab that has been cooked and then frozen. You don’t even need the melted butter.

Now that you have all of those crabs what do you do with them? Well as promised, I am going to share a recipe that is sure to be a hit at your next get together.

Combine the following ingredients in a bowl: 1 cup mayonnaise, 8 ounces of sour cream, a 1 ounce package of garlic and mushroom soup mix, 1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts drained and chopped, 1 cup of shredded Swiss or Provolone cheese, and 2 cups of crab meat. Put the well mixed dip in a baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes and serve. Serving suggestions include using crackers or baguettes to dip with. I warn you it is a bit rich so be sure to have some fresh crab on the side.

With some extremely low tides this month stocking up on clams from local beaches is a cinch. All you need is a bucket and some means of getting them out of the sand (a rake, a shovel or one of those funky clam tubes, a.k.a. clam guns) and you are ready to go.

There are so many ways to cook clams too and with the big low carb craze I can’t think of a better diet than clams, crabs and a late season lingcod or two.

Remember that June 20 is the last day to register for special hunt drawing this year. Be sure to get your big game regulations at your local sporting goods dealer or download them from the Web.

Best of luck to everyone and I hope to see you out on the water. Be a courteous and safe sportsman too. Send pictures, recipes, stories or even a comment or two to Whidbey_fff@yahoo.com I look forward to hearing from you.

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