Crabbing spots in Tampa / St. Pete

Looking for some help to find a good spot to spend a day crabbing with line and a net, or maybe circle traps.  We camp in De Soto every year in May, and we have tried under the causeway there but never have much luck.  We crabbed a ton as kids, and I never remember it being this hard :D

Are there any piers or seawalls that are better than another?  I'd be willing to drive a ways to get a decent catch.  

Also, from anything I can find online, it sounds like the last half of the incoming and first half of the outgoing are the best.

Thanks for any suggestions!
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Replies

  • GratefulEdGratefulEd Posts: 309 Deckhand
    Not nearly so many crabs as there once were.
    50 years ago they were thick. Not so much now
  • burnestburnest Posts: 15 Greenhorn
    I’m not a guy that preaches about regulation on this or that but the commercial blue crab fishery really needs a good looking at. I’ve only been fishing the bay for 8 years and I’ve seen a drastic decline in blue crabs. We used to be able to scoop up plenty on the flats when the fishing was slow and was always successful off gandy beach with chicken lines. 
  • spanglerspangler daBurgPosts: 653 Officer
    edited May 6 #4
    Grew up on the bay.  You know how catfish can be a problem at times lol  Used to have the same issue with crabs about 2-3 decades in the past. 

    You'd get to know, just like with catfish, that it was a crab messing with your bait.  If you reeled in real slow, you'd often bring the crab all the way in.  I don't really have that happen anymore, sometimes.

    I don't ever go for bluecrabs anymore, too much work for too little payoff.  Just me personally.  But, when I was a kid, if I wanted to go get my fill of bluecrabs, it was NEVER a problem.  Standard trap off any dock in the bay, or a chicken bone tied to a drop net would ALWAYS get the job done. 

    If you care, which I do, in spite of not personally crabbing, I suggest you attend or at least write; FWC is doing a workshop on trapping crabs and will include rec and commercial regulations.  There's one in St Pete this Tues

    http://myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/rulemaking/workshops/

    Workshops will be from 6 to 8 p.m. local time:

    • May 7: Titusville, Brevard County Government Center - North, Brevard Room (second floor), 518 S. Palm Ave.

    • May 8: St. Petersburg, Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, 100 Eighth Ave. SE.

    • May 9: Crystal River, City Hall Council Chambers, 123 NW Highway 19.

    • May 10: Steinhatchee, Community Center, 1013 Riverside Dr.

    • May 14: Key Colony Beach, City Hall, 600 W. Ocean Dr.

    • May 15: Key West, Monroe County Gato Building, 1100 Simonton St.

    • May 21: Dania Beach, Lions Club, 501 SW 4th Ave.

    • May 22: Fort Myers, Joseph P. D’Alessandro Office Complex, Room 165 C&D, 2295 Victoria Ave.

    If you cannot attend an in-person meeting, submit comments online by visiting MyFWC.com/SaltwaterComments.




  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 8,839 Admiral
    burnest said:
    I’m not a guy that preaches about regulation on this or that but the commercial blue crab fishery really needs a good looking at. I’ve only been fishing the bay for 8 years and I’ve seen a drastic decline in blue crabs. We used to be able to scoop up plenty on the flats when the fishing was slow and was always successful off gandy beach with chicken lines. 
    yeah, let's blame the commercial guy (with a good management plan) vs the 1000 people per day moving to this state every day... no size limit on the recs either (gonna change that soon) 
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • spanglerspangler daBurgPosts: 653 Officer
    edited May 7 #6
    ^I tend to agree with this sentiment.  We shouldn't always be blaming 'commercial' (although if you wanna talk industrial/corporate/big biz fishing...).  And yeah, there should prob be a size limit.

    Not to mention, like most things nowadays, the problem is likely more complicated and multifaceted.  There are several diseases and parasites affecting crab pops in Tampa Bay.  Changing weather/seasonal trends.  And although Tampa's seagrass is having a buffering effect on ocean acidification, the lowering pH is impacting shellfish and coral elsewhere, due to less availability of carbonate ions which they need to grow shell.  Which directly impacts stocks overall.

    Lots going on.  Even more reason to pay attention, be more individually responsible and make sure others are accountable as well.

    Anumber1 points out what is probably the biggest problem.  Too many people.  Back when I remember an abundance of crabs, there were just over a million people in the tampa bay metro, now there's 3 million.....
  • Reel-LuckyReel-Lucky Oldsmar, FLPosts: 2,936 Moderator
    Pinellas is the most densely populated county in the state, and the building is going gangbusters. Sorry, not to derail, but, if you look around at some of the projects it's mind boggling. Two that come to mind are the stick structures (in flood zones) at Bellair and 19 and the same sticks behind the Home Depot at Park and Seminole.
  • SuperMutuSuperMutu Posts: 167 Deckhand
    Left the skyway tonight and from end to end it was lined with Asians and long handled nets.
  • shempshemp Posts: 493 Deckhand
    Crab run has been chitty the last 5 years or so. 
    IMHO water quality has f'd up the crab pop in the bay.  

    Will say you weren't off base where you were trying by FtD, but the crabs have to be there.  

    Strong outgoing tides are the WTG
  • burnestburnest Posts: 15 Greenhorn
    ANUMBER1 said:
    burnest said:
    I’m not a guy that preaches about regulation on this or that but the commercial blue crab fishery really needs a good looking at. I’ve only been fishing the bay for 8 years and I’ve seen a drastic decline in blue crabs. We used to be able to scoop up plenty on the flats when the fishing was slow and was always successful off gandy beach with chicken lines. 
    yeah, let's blame the commercial guy (with a good management plan) vs the 1000 people per day moving to this state every day... no size limit on the recs either (gonna change that soon) 
    I think it should be closed or regulated for every one in the bay and it’s connecting rivers. I don’t see a lot of R’s on the thousands of crab buoys all over the bay. Gotta hate. 
  • C-HAWKC-HAWK Posts: 52 Greenhorn
    Loss of habitat and far too many people! Unfortunately these things can't be reversed so the only option is bag limit reduction.
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 8,839 Admiral
    edited May 10 #12
    you can/could have attended one of these workshops and asked the biologist why there aren't as many crabs anymore.

    Hint: lack of rain, hotter seasons, and lower nitrogen levels all play a part.



    Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

    (Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.)

    May 1, 2018 

     

    Suggested Tweet: Stone #crab /blue crab/spiny #lobster workshops scheduled for May. Input needed: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/FLFFWCC/bulletins/1ed613c #Florida @MyFWC

     

    Recreational and commercial trap fishery workshops scheduled for May; your input needed

     

    The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) needs your input on the recreational and commercial stone crab and blue crab fisheries and the commercial spiny lobster trap fishery. Share your feedback on potential regulation changes for this fishery.

     

    The FWC is hosting public workshops throughout the state in May to develop a better understanding of the public’s view on management of these fisheries. Stone crab and blue crab will be discussed at all eight workshops. Spiny lobster, in addition to the other two fisheries, will be discussed at workshops in Key West, Key Colony Beach and Dania Beach.

     

    Potential regulation changes being discussed include requiring all recreational stone and blue crab traps have an FWC-issued tag number affixed to the trap. Several potential regulation changes for the commercial fishery will also be discussed including standardizing management measures across the fisheries.

     

    Workshops will be from 6 to 8 p.m. local time:

    • May 7: Titusville, Brevard County Government Center—North, Brevard Room (second floor), 518 S. Palm Ave.
    • May 8: St. Petersburg, Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, 100 Eighth Ave. SE.
    • May 9: Crystal River, City Hall Council Chambers, 123 NW Highway 19.
    • May 10: Steinhatchee, Community Center, 1013 Riverside Drive.
    • May 14: Key Colony Beach, City Hall, 600 W. Ocean Drive.
    • May 15: Key West, Monroe County Gato Building, 1100 Simonton St.
    • May 21: Dania Beach, Dania Lions Club, 501 SW Fourth Ave.
    • May 22: Fort Myers, Joseph P. D’Alessandro Office Complex, Room 165 C&D, 2295 Victoria Ave.

    If you cannot attend an in-person meeting, submit comments online by visiting MyFWC.com/SaltwaterComments. Additional details and updates for these meetings will be posted at MyFWC.com/Fishing (click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Rulemaking” and “Workshops”).

     

    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • burnestburnest Posts: 15 Greenhorn
    ANUMBER1 sounds like a reason to close or regulate crabbing 
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 8,839 Admiral
    burnest said:
    ANUMBER1 sounds like a reason to close or regulate crabbing 
    commercial is already regulated, working on rec restrictions now.
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • CaptCozzaCaptCozza Posts: 46 Greenhorn
    There's plenty of late night "entertainment" venues around the bay area you can visit and go home with some crabs.
  • burnestburnest Posts: 15 Greenhorn
    ANUMBER1 are you a commercial fisherman? 
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 8,839 Admiral
    yes
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • burnestburnest Posts: 15 Greenhorn
    ANUMBER1 wich endorsement to you have? 
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 8,839 Admiral
    Both, Hard crab and Peeler.
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • burnestburnest Posts: 15 Greenhorn
    ANUMBER1 So you’re allowed to fish up to about a 1000 traps. Is there a daily weight limit ?
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 8,839 Admiral
    actually for hard crab it's 600 inshore and 400 offshore.
    Peeler traps I'm allowed 400.

    And I know where you are going with this so before you put you foot in your mouth you really should educate yourself.
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • burnestburnest Posts: 15 Greenhorn
    That’s what I’m trying to do is educate myself. I just can’t find a daily commercial bag limit online. So is it a secret or is there no bag limit? I could find recreational guys are allowed 10gals per day and up to 5trap. 
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 8,839 Admiral
    no limit.
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • burnestburnest Posts: 15 Greenhorn
    Hopefully they get the regulations on those recreational guys soon cause we all know now the lack of rain, hotter seasons, lower nitrogen levels and those pesky weekend warriors are the real problem.
  • Reel-LuckyReel-Lucky Oldsmar, FLPosts: 2,936 Moderator
    Y'all can take this over to Con Fron anytime now.
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 8,839 Admiral
    burnest said:
    Hopefully they get the regulations on those recreational guys soon cause we all know now the lack of rain, hotter seasons, lower nitrogen levels and those pesky weekend warriors are the real problem.
    took you long enough, you suck at trolling..
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 8,839 Admiral
    and probably life in general.
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • burnestburnest Posts: 15 Greenhorn
    Facts are not trolling. Catch them all I guess. By the way I don’t crab anymore been at least 3years not worth it species is in trouble. Don’t keep snook but do buy tag hoping some of the money goes towards conservation might keep one this fall very healthy stock this year. If I don’t start seeing bigger groups of red probably gonna stop harvesting them till I see a improvement (might also have something to do with crab population). Pay attention to your estuary and regulate your self don’t wait for the law to do it for you. 
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 8,839 Admiral
    Ironically, La. is the largest crab producer in the nation.

    High levels of nitrogen and dirty water contribute to a robust crab population.
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • TarponatorTarponator Under a BridgePosts: 10,425 AG
    edited May 18 #30
    I do not agree that blue crabs in TB are in trouble.  And if anything has had an effect on them in TB and CH it's the tarpon crab market -- for all practical purposes it's an unregulated market and they are taking juveniles who haven't had a chance to reproduce.

    By my count (which is to say watching them float by us while tarpon fishing under the bridges) there are more in OTB than there has been in a decade.  It's always been a cyclical thing in my eyes.

    I'll ask around a few folks who fish them commercially here in TB and let you know what they say.
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 8,839 Admiral
    I do not agree that blue crabs in TB are in trouble.  And if anything has had an effect on them in TB and CH it's the tarpon crab market -- for all practical purposes it's an unregulated market and they are taking juveniles who haven't had a chance to reproduce.

    By my count (which is to say watching them float by us while tarpon fishing under the bridges) there are more in OTB than there has been in a decade.  It's always been a cyclical thing in my eyes.

    I'll ask around a few folks who fish them commercially here in TB and let you know what they say.
    Current rec limit is two 5 gallon buckets with no min size.
    Two 5 gallon buckets full of tarpon crabs is around 700 crabs, there is a huge backdoor (illegal) market for those small crabs and none of those sales produce trip tickets or are counted in the overall harvest #'s.
    FWRI needs that data for good stock assessments

    New proposals are a 5" min size for rec harvesters with 2 dozen undersize for bait (5 or 6 dozen for guides) unless one has a receipt from a licensed retailer.
    A no cost rec blue crab endorsement is on the table too.

    As far a reproducing we still harvest mature females (sooks) here, no guarantee that they have ever spawned at the time of harvest, also all the softshell (female) crabs on the market have never spawned.
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
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