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Spider Crabs In California

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New Member
Jul 1, 2003
Are Spider crabs legal to catch? Are they edible? The California 2003 Recreational Ocean Fishing Regulations don’t mention spider crabs.


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Yes they are edible. Yes they are legal to catch, but Im not sure when the season is. They do not have much meat in them, and we just usualy play with them for a minute and leave em alone.

Up here in No Cal, they get to be the size of basketballs. Big basketballs. I see them most often around now- Labor day to November. While i've not had them, I've seen others just lop off the legs, toss the body on the campfire and walk away for ten minutes, come back, crack 'em and chow down. :p

Me, I get my crabs at the market. (Here it comes... :hmm )
so the "market" is what you kids are calling it these days...;)
just make sure the "rubbers" are in good shape. You can get seriously hurt if one snaps...

especially since you're only supposed to use them once then throw it away
HAHAHAHA are you serious? eating spider crabs? I HATE those things! When I dive in very low vis, i sometimes swim pretty fast really close to the bottom, and they (and horshoe crabs) can scare the crap out of you when they pop up 6 inches in front of you. The meat is in the bodies? Anyone have any direct experience with them? I'm curious about the taste, because I could catch tons of them in my local waters.
Spanish and french delicacy well worth the SLURRRRP noises needed to suck they intimacies!

They upstage most of they relatives, and are a recommendable addition to the divers lossy group behaviors.
I cought some spider crabs!

I got some spider crabs! I got them off of santa monica peer. There were two types. Males and femals. I cought 1 male and like 4 females. The males were a lot larger then the females. I had to buy a new larger pot to cook the male cus he was a big boy. There were only two draw backs to spider crab eathing: 1: They have thick shells. It took my girl friend and I 3-4 hours to shell crab meat from 4 female spider crabs and 1 male spider crab. Wait there more issues. The have such thick shellls that they take forever to die. So when i put them into water they bubbled for about 2 minutes before dieing. Which is a log time for one's kill to die. Anyhow, I cought them w/ the help of the local califorinan peer foke and a basket of oisters, raw herring and raw chicken, pulling it up every 30 minutes off santa monica peer. Ok im drunk but hey its the truth. Anyhow, one of the local peer foke said some good advice: hide your crabs in a covered container or else tourests will bug the hell out of you (although you can make a little doe off of selling the release of a spider crab to a local' w/ a pushey girlfriend) Anyhow, no one hussled me to throw my catch to the water cus my bucket held all 5 crabs and was not see-through. But the processing of thse thing was horrible. Next time, I will: throw the ENTIRE HEAD awawy. Well she said there was meat in the head but hmmm i dont konw if its worht it. mayb its just the femal heads i hated opening... well if they wernt' already open after boiling. Cus the females expsose 3000 little oragne eggs in some sort of dis like structure which sickened me. Perhaps it was my natural instinkt to be sickned by the killing of 3000 prospective life forms (even if they be spider crabs) cus i have to much heart and think meat grows on trees. Anyhow, i hope you the reader of htis dont want to break my balls just cus i boke the spider crabs balls but hey human's are carnivals and need to eat meat that is why the atkins diet is so popular.
2: One of the santa monica locals (probably some sort of asbstract street performer) said that spider crabs will give you NIGHTMARES. The night after your first mass-spider crab kill you will get nightmares about them. Well I did dream about them. I deempted about their big heads and their fake fang like things. About a month later I began desiering crab meat so I will probably go catch more.
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I boiled one last year and have left those things alone ever since!! Yack! and the eggs are pretty digusting too.. The French eat them though.. but they eat almost anything, because their cooks are good enough to diguise spidercrab taste into somethig better... :)

If you start the crabs in very cold water and then put it on the fire, they quietly die without noticing anything because they just heat up with the water. Really sensitive folk have been known to put them in really cold white wine, instead. What a way to go!
Does anyone know if these crabs are the same as the ones called Santolas in Portugal?

Cingene, santolas are spider crabs!!:p

Spider Crabs are probably my favorite crustacean to eat along with slipper lobsters (cavacos e bruxas).
But they have a problem though; they are only good if they are “full”, almost ready to change shell. If you cook one that is “empty” or that has changed shell recently it will be disgusting.
How to tell them apart is the tricky part.
Empty ones are field with “water” that they absorbed after changing shell. I find almost impossible to differentiate them by weight. The best way to tell them apart is to look at their leg “claws”, packed ones will have the “claws” wearied out, while one empty ones will be needle sharp. Another trick is to look at the leg joints; you can see more meat in the leg joints of “full” ones. Also the strength of the creature will give you an idea of its condition; Empty ones are really weak.

We usually just boil them, crack the legs and eat the meat that’s inside, there are special tools to crack them, but a hammer will do!:duh
With the “head” content we make a “sauce” with mayonnaise, pickles, boiled eggs and other stuff that I can remember now.

Rui Santos
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