Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"How we let the little ones out"

Hello, now that I'm home for the summer,I'll take this opportunity to pass on some little known facts about crab fishing. And if you have any questions ask them in your comments.....

Over the course of the year I'm sure you have noticed that between every fishery we spend several days converting the gear to coincide with the various types of crab we target. These changes are required by the Alaska Dept. of fish and game. One of the most time consuming changes is the required "escapement" web. The size of the King crab mesh is roughly 6 inches high and about the same wide, this large opening is designed to allow the "undersized" crab to escape prior to the pot being hauled, which is fine with us because we don't want to catch crab we can't keep anyways. This larger web has to cover one half of a vertical surface being either the 'door' or the 'back' of each pot.

Now of course we don't sew or hang different web each season on the pots but instead change out the doors. Each pot has three completely different doors one for the Opilio crab another for Bairdi and a third for King crab. If we failed to change the door after Kings and went Opie fishing the pot would come up empty as all the 4 inch crab would run right out the large web. The Opilio web is about 3 inches squared and the Bairdi about 5 inches... check out the photo's and again would be pleased to answer any questions.

Capt.Monte 'Wizard Mouse"


  1. Thanks for the explanation;your blog is quite informative for the DC junkies.Hope you enjoy your 'land time' this off-season.

  2. Wow, never knew each pot had three doors, very cool! I have a question, probably a silly one, but nonetheless I'll ask. Why aren't crab boats outfitted with thicker hulls to battle the ice during Opilio? I'm not talking cutter thickness, but just a little more "wiggle room?" Is it a weight thing? Perhaps too expensive?

  3. The goal is to avoid the ice to start with!! The hull thickness is fairly standard throughout the fleet.. most crabber's were built in the 70's and 80's and 3/8" plate steel was the norm. An older vessel such as the Wizard would most certainly have thicker plating when she was built. A true "ice breaker" would be of a heavier build, not just the plating on the hull

  4. Thanks for the adventuresome entertainment on DC as well as some invaluable information behind the scenes, such as the intricate daily routine and "chores" you and your crew participate in. God bless, and continue to be safe!

    Hawaiian Odysseus

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