Goin’ Crabbin’

One of the things about living in Myrtle Beach, I stayed away from tourist attractions. The one thing I really wanted to do in the three years I lived there was go crabbing at Myrtle Beach State Park, but as it was a tourist attraction, I stayed away from the opportunity. During our vacation, we took the opportunity on a semi-rainy morning and hit the beach.

Greg had tried crabbing on his own once, but wasn’t quite successful. If you are goin’ crabbin’, I highly suggest checking out the event at a state park (like Myrtle Beach). There’s some things you should know about how to do it, and the Crabby Experience will teach you those things.

Sure, it costs a little bit to participate. Admission for adults into the State Park is $5 per adult; however, you can get a passport if you are able to get the money’s worth. Nets cost $5 each to rent (again, there is a passport that makes it included/free). You can buy your own at a hardware store, too, but with the rent option, you don’t have to worry about storing them if you’re just vacationing.

Bait–you can bring your own if you’d like–raw chicken necks apparently work best. I thought that any ‘ol chicken would do–if we did this ourselves, it would’ve been fried chicken wings so listen, get the raw! We didn’t buy ahead, and that’s ok. You can buy a four-pack of necks (one neck per net!) for under $3 at the pier.

Our crab nets and bait, I’ll spare you the chicken neck closeup!

When you head to the pier, you’ll have about 15 minutes to get your bait and rental net–look for the State Park folks near the beginning of the pier and stick close. They have great tips and will show you how to make sure your net is ready to go.

A checking her crab net

After the presentation, you spread out down the pier (being mindful of the hardcore fishers!) and find a spot to drop your net. If you aren’t sure how to bait your net, have ‘lil ones with you, or have a raw chicken aversion and prefer to stand back and take pictures, the State Park folks can help you out. Basically, the neck goes through a carabiner-ish hook at the bottom of the net and your bait sits inside the net so you can catch the ‘lil biters when they eat the bait. Oh, and bring paper towels or wipes–we didn’t. There’s a sink so you can rinse your hands but raw chicken, you know.

Greg learning how to bait the nets

You lower your net into the water, avoiding the pier posts then secure it to the railing. Here’s the part the probably drove ‘lil Miss A and I most crazy–you walk away. You wait. You pull your net up every five minutes or so and just sit back and relax, enjoying the pier and the beautiful weather. Try explaining that to a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old and a mom who always has to be going and doing.

What do we do now? We wait.

The good thing is that there actually is plenty to do on the pier. The fishermen (and women–we saw a set of older sisters among several other ladies) provide great entertainment. Note that if you see a guy with a bunch of fish that would be a haul at the lake (think bass and perch between 8-12 inches long), they are not a catch. They are bait. (Oops.) Some do pull in cool catches, though. Take this sting ray for instance!

I put in an arrow ’cause it’s hard to see.

And sometimes, as like we see at the lake, the Circle of Life is seen. The rangers put the sting ray back in the ocean and seconds later, a shark jumped up and, well, Circle of Life. We didn’t actually see this because we headed back to check our nets, but pretty cool, huh?

We didn’t catch sun on our crabbing day, but you really could work on a nice tan out on the pier on a good day. Sadly, we also did not catch a crab, but got to see several others catch baby crabs and even a hermit crab. The best thing we caught was some seaweed, but the kids thought it was pretty cool nonetheless.

Check out my seaweed!

The entire time we were on the pier, the lifeguards were tracking weather that was just off the coast. Unfortunately, our time had to be cut short due to lightning (but I’d rather be safe, right?). Fortunately, the rangers had a back up crab ready to show us just in case no one got lucky with a catch. The kids thought it was pretty cool (it made me want crab cakes, but we didn’t go do that this trip).

After we helped pull in our nets and said goodbye to the chicken necks, we risked a few seconds extra on the pier to take a family photo. It’s seriously one of my favorites of us, even if the weather background isn’t all that pretty for a beach trip. Bonus, we were all looking.

We really loved our Crabby Experience with Myrtle Beach State Park, even the beach walk we took in the rain without camera after the storm passed. This is a definite will do again activity, and we highly suggest you take part if you ever vacation (or live) in Myrtle Beach.