Crabbing Season in Mandurah has started!
As the weather warms up in November, crabbing season begins.
Blue swimmer crabs are native to Mandurah, and the area is renowned for excellent crabbing. By January the Peel Inlet-Harvey Estuary is swimming with full size crabs ready to be caught for your seafood dinner.
New to crabbing? No worries. There are a few ways to go about it. You can jump in a dinghy or crab from a jetty using drop nets, or wade into the shallows with long-handled scoop nets. If you’ve got good hand-eye coordination, snorkel with gloves and catch dinner with your bare hands!
You can hire dinghys for up to a day, along with crabbing equipment. Local operators will provide you with bait and advice on what to do and where to go. Think crabbing will be your long-term leisure? If so, it’s worth investing in your own crabbing equipment. Tackle shops and supermarkets in Mandurah sell gear, and you can make a quick stop for bait at the local fish and chip shop.
Despite the name, Bbue swimmer crabs’ colours can be anything from brown to purple. The little creatures have flat bodies with long slender claws, and can be found in sandy, muddy and seaweed covered areas from November to April. Get out in the early morning or evening when crabs come into the shallows.
You don’t need a license to catch crabs, but if you’re on a boat you need a "fishing from boat license". The bag limit is set at 10 crabs per person per day and 20 crabs per boat per day, and anything smaller than 127mm across the carapace must be returned to the water. You’re more likely to catch full size crabs from January onwards. Crabbers should always carry a flashlight and measuring gauge, which is available from tackle shops.
Make sure you check Department of Fisheries before you crab, as limits are updated yearly. Follow Crabbing and Fishing in Mandurah on Facebook to stay up to date with secret spots and updates during the season. Or download the RecFishWest App to have up to date fishing rules in the palm of your hand.
You’ll learn tips and tricks from the pros, and get access to the best spots when you explore Mandurah’s water playground on a tour. Mandurah Cruises will take you crabbing on their customised crabbing vessel where you can try your hand at “scooping” for Mandurah’s famous crabs in the shallow waters of the Peel Inlet. They will steam cook the crabs aboard and even throw some crabs on the BBQ. Port Bouvard Charters is a family owned business offering personalised fishing adventures for beginners and pros.
The Peel-Harvey Estuary will be swimming with crabs during the summer months, but Boundary Island (Peel-Inlet), Sticks Channel and Bypass Bridge are good places to start. Dawesville Cut is also popular amongst the locals.
Cooking your crabs
It’s best to cook crabs a few hours after they’ve been caught, as they usually die quickly. Bring crabs to the boil in salted water, then simmer for 5-6 minutes (longer for more crabs). Once cooked, place in cool water. Serve with bread, lemon, vinegar or seafood sauce.