September 18, 2008 | Tips from Travellers >
Sidney, Car / Truck / Motorcycle
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It all started with a subtle hard nudge from my son since we moved to Victoria six weeks ago. He has been catching crabs by hand (all legal size) off the shore at Willows Beach in Victoria. None by fluke but by hours of walking in chest deep waters and a net. It then sparked the idea of there must be a way to keep these delicious creatures and feast on them (legally)! My sisters boyfriend mentioned the Pier in Sidney-Sidney Fishing Pier just a block from main street you can't miss it.
We went to a quaint little shop with a pirate out front decorated with buoys and large crab traps called "The Boater's Exchange". There you will find the best crab traps and service. Then go over to "True Value Hardware" for your shellfish license. Kids are free and hey I thought this sounds like fun so I got one too. Everyone I spoke with was very knowledgeable and friendly as we only knew how to barbeque a steak just moving from the prairies you know. Oh and for good luck better pick up a stock pot and a large pail so you can feast later...also garlic butter. I also thought I better stop at the Sidney Bakery on main street for their glazed doughnuts just in case...
Next was a stop at the fresh fish market at the end of main street where you can buy bait for a buck! That in itself is a smelly experience. They just slap in the large fish that they would normally discard right into your pail~unbelievable again remember we are from the prairies (I think I mentioned that already)~I maybe should have taken the camera from around my neck so that when I asked "how do we get these big fish into the little bait keeper in the crab trap?" I did not feel a bit stupid Ha! So I thought it was the right time to pull out my doughnut.
READY, SET, GO! We are ready to go crab trapping. It was the coolest experience I have had. Being out on the pier is like being out on a boat~well that is what I tell myself since we don't know anyone with a boat. My son loaded the trap with a the fish bait and with the advice of other experienced crab trappers we put a rock in to add some weight. They also said that chicken parts work really well for bait. Sometimes the seals like to steal your bait too as they were splashing around. We left the trap in for about 15 minutes and pull it up and the excitment continues. You can see the crab moving around and you can't wait to see the size. You measure them (a measure stick you buy with your trap) and then if it is legal size you then with the crab crawling around the deck you try to get a hold of it's back legs (watch out for the claw-you will only get bit once and remember the pain forever) to see if it is male or female. The females get thrown back. If it is a male you keep it and feast on it.
I really recommend this experience. The stories you hear from the other fisherman on the pier are intriguing and witty. We finished it off with lunch at the Pier Bistro and some hot chocolate.