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One of the cheapest and most enjoyable types of fishing on the Outer Banks doesn’t have anything to do with a fish at all! While the offshore boats zoom to the gulfstream, and the inshore boats ply the inlets and sounds, a more relaxing sport awaits those who are willing to put in a little time in search of the delicious blue crab.

The Pamlico Sound and all of its neighboring waters are home to one of the largest populations of blue crabs on the east coast. Blue crabs are sold by the thousands at local restaurants and seafood markets, but did you know that you could also catch your own? And the good part is you don’t need a license to do it if you keep it simple.

All you need to go crabbing is a crab dip net which is available almost everywhere on the Outer Banks, a piece of crab cord and a chicken neck. Crab cord is similar to clothesline cord and you simply tie the chicken neck or other bait to the cord and toss it out around any of our local docks and piers. You can also use them in calm water areas around the soundside beaches and inlet areas.

Let them soak for about ten minutes and then slowly retrieve them. If a crab is hanging on to the bait, gently slip the dip net under him and scoop him up!

Make sure the crab is at least five inches from point to point which makes him a legal catch. You can keep 50 crabs per person per day. If you are using a boat this amount cannot exceed 100 crabs per vessel per day.

You can also use a collapsible crab trap as long as it meets NCDMF regulations. To use more traditional crab pots you must purchase a recreational commercial gear license from the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries Office in Wanchese. It will cost $35.00 for state residents and $250.00 for nonresidents. This allows you to fish up to five traps but they must meet strict legal requirements. These requirements and other information are available at the NCDMF office or on line at www.ncdmf.net.


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