Tell me about commercial crabbing

Hey everyone. I’m back at the forum, as it helped me a tonn in getting into commercial gillnetting in bristol bay.
Next adventure is like to try out is crabbing. But I know almost nothing about it and it’s hard to find any info online without running into the Deadliest Catch BS.
So, if you could give me basic info about it such as, when are the seasons, potential pay for those seasons etc…

It sucks

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Have a long time friend that crabs for a living. Luckily he also has a soft crab business as well with his shedders next to his home with access to a creek/canal where he also keeps his boat. It is hard, backbreaking work. Always at the mercy of the buyers, bait prices, fishery rules, and weather just to name a few. He is also a sought after duck hunting guide to further supplement his income. He is not rich nor poor. Not to discourage you, but not the best place to start a new adventure.

Oh Im not planning on doing it for a living or something. I just like to get away and do something fun aways from home:) I’m a college student who needs a refreshment once in awhile. Plus I heard the pay can be great

You heard wrong as the second guy/helper on the rig, making bucks in the spring/summer help. Great eats while working, and perhaps better than flipping burgers. My guy has replaced two hips and other maladies. It ain’t romantic, it is nostalgic. Sold me his softies that had 1 pincher but backfin intact. Spring to late summer is the season. Rode with with him more than a few times for no pay as an extra hand on my time off from tugs… I ate rather well on his discards. Old bottle hunting trips were the best, sworn to secrecy in the historic area where we looked. Good guy that worked his balls off and let me into his small world. A city councilman in his respected area to this day.

Get a summer job at McDonald’s and watch “Deadliest Catch” for excitement.


probably good advice!!!

Are you asking about Bering Sea / Alaska crabbing or ?

It won’t be fun. No matter what coast. Depending on catch, will perhaps change your opinion on whether the “Adventure” is worth it. The TV shows do not exemplify how effing hard it is or the "Thousands " you may or not make. I wish you the best of luck. If you still have all your fingers and toes, I would take a good look at you as a deckhand. But then again , if you are not serious as a mariner, would not go out of my way to help move you through the system. My experience is East Coast crabbing, not Alaska, Have had quite a few ex-crabbers and fisherman work out quite well on the tugs. They knew when to duck and handled lines well.

Crabbing is pretty well done all around the US waters. If your talking Bering Sea crabbing the big boats should just about be done but they will head to their home ports to gear up for other fisheries like salmon tendering and black cod. Shipyard work is also done. Some of the boats come to Ballard Wa while others make Homer, Kodiak, and even Dutch Harbor home.
If you really want to crab fish then you need to talk to the crewmen and give out your phone number. Crew are always quitting or getting fired and the Captains need to be able to call a prospective new hand to fly in to go to work. As newbie you will catch ALL the Sh-t and work your ass off. Check the docks and you will find the boats between fisheries.
If you want to Dungeness crab fish then there is a big fishery out of Oregon ports such as Newport. These fisheries are all seasonal and quota is determined beforehand.
As stated it is one hell of a way to make a living but the rewards can be pretty good and you have to stick it out and be reliable. It’s also hard on the body and mind as well.
Good luck!

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I think King Crab quotas are down this year, but the big problem is that they have “rationalized” the business. That means the boats were given quota based on their catch history. Many boats “lease” someone else’s quota and pay their crew much less for crab caught.
It is bullshit in other words.
If you are looking for a career in AK fishing, the draggers/factory trawlers are always looking for talent.
Talent meaning you are willing to work hard and have half a brain.
I started out as a know-nothing city kid and have been sailing as captain since 94’’. It has kept the wolf away from the door pretty well!

Two guys I worked with tried crabbing in Alaska a number of years ago. They went there, lasted two weeks, and came home beat out and more broke than when they left, but they did have good stories. They did not go back for a round 2.