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Best times to go crabbing: The “er” month myth

There are many myths and superstitions around when exactly is the best time to go crabbing. 

This is partly because you can crab at any time of year here on the central Oregon coast, so making a guess as to when the best time would be is a tradition as old as the act itself.

Some swear that the springtime is the best, while others hold off until midsummer or fall.

The “er” month myth is perhaps the most prevalent: fishermen for generations have passed down the belief that months ending in “er” — the last four of the year — are when crabbing is at its best. The truth: they’re not entirely wrong. According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, crabs will tend to be more “filled out," meaning there is a higher percentage of quality meat, beginning in September.

As for the best time of day, slack water, or the times of peak high or low tide, are the best times to crab. During swift tidal exchanges crab often bury themselves, but at slack water more crab are walking around foraging, since they are being less affected by tidal currents. Though other factors can affect a crabbing trip, for example, after heavy rainfall, crab tend to be less abundant in the bays. So make sure to check a tide table and keep an eye on the forecast before packing your pots and rings for the weekend.

And whenever you decide to go crabbing, make sure to have your shellfish license and crab measuring device to abide by state crabbing regulations.