Let’s Go Stone Crabbing on Tybee Island in Georgia
ABOUT TYBEE ISLAND, GA
As a beachside retreat, Tybee Island brings together old and new – clapboard cottages and Bermuda- precisely that soft blend of natural marshes and Atlantic shoreline,
modest history and seaside playground that makes Tybee a celebrated family vacation destination.
At the south end of the island, the pier and pavilion stretches into the Atlantic, tempting people watchers and fishermen intent on capturing the ‘fish story’ catch of the day.
It is precisely that soft blend of natural marshes and Atlantic shoreline, modest history and seaside playground that makes Tybee a celebrated family vacation destination.
Be sure to include the City Market for a remarkable mix of artist lofts, musical entertainment, boutique shopping and more.
Where to Go Crabbing
Tybee Island, 20 minutes east of Savannah, is one of Georgia’s most prolific crabbing areas, and all beaches are open to the public. Head for rock jetties on the far south end of the island near the mouth of the Wilmington River, as well as the jetties on the northern part of the island.
Along Georgia’s central coast, the small town of Darien nestles among tidal estuaries and marshes favored by crabs in warm months.
Jekyll Island lies 20 miles south of Darien, with blue crabs populating creeks, estuaries and ocean waters surrounding the island. In the far southern part of the state, Cumberland National Seashore has marshes where you’ll find both blue and stone crabs.
Stone Crabs can regenerate their claws.
While blue and Dungeness crab are valued for the meat from their legs, claws, and abdomen, stone crabs are sought after for their claws alone. The two front claws are not only delicately sweet, and powerful enough to crack an oyster shell (stone crabs feed on oysters, mussels, and fish)—they’re also “renewable.”
Stone crabs get their name from their appearance as they lie burrowed just beneath the mud in estuaries and seagrass beds.
Stone Crabs Habitat
Look for stone crabs near dock pilings, seawalls, and bridges in 6 inches to 3 feet deep water-filled holes. These usually have shells around the opening which the crab uses to dig deeper. They can also be found in knee-deep seagrass beds and reefs.
Some thrill seekers, or should we say pain lovers like to stick their hands and arms down these holes and try to pull the crab out by it’s elbow. This can be done but eventually luck always runs out. If a stone crab manages to get hold of you expect 1900lbs of pressure clamped down on your hand.
How to Catch Stone Crabs
You can catch these large crabs with a crab trap. Once you get one, fill the bait box with dead cut up fish (such as mullet, ladyfish etc) so that you can create some chum in the water. Look for the stone crab in a grassy area that has some patches of sand around it and has water running through it.
Otherwise, the crab will not be able to feed itself after it is released and will die.
SEE THE COUNTRY ON THE WAY TO TYBEE ISLAND
Stone Crab Trapping Tactics
Set the traps in a line at different locations and check them every couple of hours the kids might get to anxious and want to pull them up every two minutes but if you are patient good things will happen.
Tips for Catching Stone Crabs
Grab a stone crab over the top of the claws by the body and keep them pointed down and away
Stone Crab Season in Georgia
Fish for stone crabs year-round at any time of day with a valid Georgia fishing license. It is lawful to catch crabs in a variety ways in the state of Georgia. You may use up to six 2 foot by 2 foot crab traps at a time, provided you mark each with a fluorescent green float with your name and address. Lift rings are another easy way to catch crabs.
Simply secure your bait box inside a netted ring and lower to the bottom of the waterway. If there are crabs in the area, they’ll begin to gather around the bait box within 10 to 15 minutes. The crabs are captured in the net as you raise the ring back to the surface. Chicken netting involves tying a piece of decaying chicken to the end of a pole and scooping up crabs that come to feast on it with a long-handled dip net.
HOW TO COOK STONE CRABS
Stone Crab Claw Recipe
Put uncracked stone crab claws in a steamer basket and set over a pot of
boiling water over high heat.
Cover the crabs claws and steam for about 5 minutes.
Melt butter in a pan but not enough to turn it brown. Then pour it in a serving bowl.
Remove the claws from the steamer, crack the shells and serve with the melted butter and some lemon wedges.