Raise Your Arms for Blue Crabs | CAI

Raise Your Arms for Blue Crabs

Sep 5, 2013

The scientific name for the Atlantic blue crab is Callinectes sapidus. Translated from Latin, that means 'beautiful savory swimmer.'  We live at the northern end of the range of blue crabs - and they are a delicacy worth getting out and hunting for.

In Massachusetts, no permit is needed to go for blue crabs by handlining or dipnetting.  There are, however, a few rules:

  • Crabs must measure at least 5" wide from  spine-to-spine.
  • 25 Crabs per day maximum
  • Egg-bearing females may not be taken

Try handlining by tying a piece of bait - try a raw chicken neck (okay, you can use a wing, or almost any piece of meat or fish; I've gone blue crabbing with fine results with deli-counter salami...) - to a string and drop it in the water from a dock or jetty. No hooks needed! You'll feel the tap-tap-tap when a blue crab discovers your bait. Pull it up slowly - and be ready to slip a dipnet under the crab as it comes to the surface. This is great to do with kids.

Just be careful about those claws - blue crabs pinch hard, and they move quick! 

Get a complete primer on going for blue crabs, along with tips on how to prepare and eat them, at On The Water.

Audio of The Fishing News, with Steve Junker and Kevin Blinkoff discussing blue crabbing on Cape Cod and the Islands, is posted above.