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box crab

Box crab

Howdy everyone! Sorry I missed y’all last week, even though it’s technically the “slow” season we’ve had a ton of stuff going on in addition to the honor and privilege of being the emcee of a bunch of sportsmen’s shows up and down the coast. This coming weekend I’ll be in Medford and then we move on to California, no rest for the tackle shop owner!

Out this way the ocean has given us a day or two here and there and for those fortunate enough to get out the seas have given up lingcod and rockfish galore. Bryan Gill, the Umpqua Angler has been plain ole’ beating up ocean fish as of late with plenty of happy customers to prove it.

In the world of steelhead the season remains “meh” for most folks. Now, don’t get me wrong there’s some people having good days out on our systems but overall the season has been very lackluster.

Crabbing and fishing in the bay have slowed down as of late but we are fast approaching the time when perch come in to live-bear their young, rockfish hang out to feed, and lingcod come in to spawn; patience folks, it’ll all be here soon.

Next week some time the ODFW will start stocking lakes and ponds across Southern Oregon with trout so this will be a great time to get out with your little ones and catch some fish.

Finally here’s something important, sport crabbing is in fact open here in Charleston. Sport crabbing is open from the Washington border to the South Jetty of Bandon and is only closed to sport crabbers from the South jetty of Bandon to the California border. Some agencies had incorrectly published that we are closed here but again, let me state that WE ARE OPEN FOR CRABBING!

Speaking of crabbing, this past week we had a special visitor come by, we’ve seen a couple in our time at Basin Tackle but they have been few and far between. We’re talking about box crabs; the box crab exists in deeper water out to 400 to 600 feet in depth and are found from Alaska to San Diego, Calif. Box crabs prefer somewhat muddy bottoms or vertical rock faces above the muddy bottoms in which to reside. These strange looking crabs are sort of the “possums” of the sea and will curl into a ball and attempt to hide when attacked. It is when these critters are in this defensive posture that the origin of their name becomes apparent and their box shape is formed. When the crab is tucked into this position, they seal up so tightly that respiration is only possible due to water passing through two large holes formed in the front of the crab between segments of their claws. These claws also are well suited for dining on their favorite food, auger snails and clams. The Box Crab’s right claw has a hook used to dig out the snails and clams from the muddy bottom and crush them while the left claw is used with precision to pull out tiny bits of meat and pull it to their mouth. The box crab has few known predators with the octopus being the only one worthy of note. Females molt and breed in mid-summer and will actually carry their young in the egg and larval stage for eighteen months before releasing their spawn into the ocean, this release process can take over two months before it is completed.

The Box Crab has no real commercial value as they are a very small incidental catch when our local Dungeness crabbers are running their gear in extremely deep waters. Occasionally a seafood market will have these odd-looking crustaceans for sale during the winter and the meat is said to be sweeter than that of a Dungeness. Might be worth a try just to say you did.

Enjoy our wintery days before spring breaks and I hope to see you out there.

Rob Gensorek is the owner of Basin Tackle www.basintackle.com in the Charleston Marina and can be reached by phone at (541) 888-FISH, by Facebook at Basin Tackle Charleston, or e-mail at basin_tackle@yahoo.com. Robs fishing reports can be heard daily at 6:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. on KRSB Best Country 103 out of Roseburg and his Basin Tackle Outdoor Show can be heard Wednesdays at 3 p.m. on kwro.com. In addition to all this he sometimes actually gets out and catches a fish or two.

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