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Can you catch crabs from a pier with hand lines in March?

Amanda Lisk
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Q. Can you catch crabs in late March from a pier with hand lines. Are they running that early on Oak Island?

A. Recreational crabbing is open all year, says Wrightsville Beach’s Johnny Mercer’s Pier, but Jim Jones of the Oak Island Pier says there are no crabs to be caught at their pier in March.

During the summer months is when crabs are plentiful and yes, hand lines are allowed at both Johnny Mercer’s and Oak Island Piers.

As crabbers know, there are two ways to catch crabs, traps and hand lines, with hand lines being the more difficult of the two. For tips on how to do it, visit http://www.oysterbaytackle.com/index.php/drifting-easy/96-crabbing-with-handlines-wherehow.html

There are some restrictions on the size of the crab you can catch and the number you can bring home. From Sept. 1 to April 30, female crabs have be no more than 6 ¾ inches and year round, males and immature females have to be at least five inches. Info on how to discern whether it’s a male or female crab can be found at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/blue-crabs

Only 50 crabs can be caught per day per person and sales of catches are prohibited. No license is required to set one pot per person from a pier or shoreline.

Oak Island’s two most popular shoreline spots are Heron Lookout (40th St. and Davis Creek) and 78th Street Crab Dock (78th St. and East Yacht Drive)

According to the NC Division of Marine Fisheries, North Carolina is the number one producer of blue crab in the United States. In 2011, more than 30 million pounds of blue crabs were harvested commercially, with a dockside value of $21 million.

For a listing of all Oak Island Pier recreational fishing rules, go to http://www.oakislandpier.com/pier_rules.htm

For more overal information on crabbing, go to http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/blue-crabs


Where is a good place to go crabbing on Oak Island? Is there a season for that?

Do I have to get a license to get less than 2 bushels of clams, oysters or crabs?

Can anyone put out crab pots in local waters for crabs?


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