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It's time for a cool change
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello! Humble noobie here. I've been glued to this board as a guest for the past week. Seems like a great forum you have here! Very supportive and passionate.

My question is: Has anyone tried softshell crabbing at night on Galveston Beach? In the summer in the early eighties my pop used to take me out on Biloxi beach at night with a Coleman lantern, and shallow net, and a bucket and we would scoop up a dozen or so softshell crabs (always check the shell b4 you put them in the bucket :) ). We also brought along a gig in case we ran into Flounder (though rarely did). Our main focus was softshell crabs. Yum Yum. The beaches in Biloxi were shallow for a long way out and they were somewhat calm.

I have only been down to Galveston once (last year and loved it). I am heading down from the Dallas area next week for the family vacation and was wondering any of you guys know of any beaches down there that are similar to the Biloxi beaches (shallow areas and calmer waters)? I would like to bring my boys out and see if we can find any softshells.

Also, do you have any advice about what kind of lantern to use? I assume that technology has changed since the early eighties (coleman lanterns). Maybe not, they were pretty effective.

Thanks a bunch!
 

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It doesnt cost anything to set the hook
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Well if my source is correct, a softshell crab is just a blue crab in the molting phase (at least thats what Comeaux the crabber told me). Also, our house is on the bolivar peninsula so most of the crabbing I have done is on the other side of the ferry from galveston, but there are crab everywhere around galveston. If I were you I would probably try west bay it is generally shallow but its no gaurantee that the water will be clear....you might have to tie on a chicken neck and wait!
 

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It's time for a cool change
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, I will try the West Bay!

Yeah, the softshell crabs I am talking about are blue crabs that are molting. When they are soft, they don't take any bait and they don't really move much. They are sitting ducks. You have to scoop them up with a net. Once a crab is in your net, you have to pinch him to see if he is soft. You can not put soft shells in the same bucket as hard shells or the hard ones will tear up and eat the soft ones! So two buckets are needed if you want to keep the hard ones too. Also, small softshelled crabs are yummy while you would probably not normally keep a small crab (unless for bait).

My boys and I will definitely have strings and chicken necks for the hard ones. They will love it.

Thanks, I will definitly look for a flat shallow spot on the West bay near the land!
 

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29.42" Hg
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A softshell Crab is a Crab that is in final aspect of the Molting Stage. You will normally find a Male Crab "Holding" the softshell crab to protect it until the shell hardens.

Crabs molt in Brackish water about 90% of the time. It's unusual, but, not unlikely to find them in the surf.

Once the Crab molts. you have about 3 hours until the shell hardens. Most Crabs will also almost double in size during the Molting process.

Also, you will find the majority of Crabs Molt in the spring, and fall when the water temperature is changing.

There is a process to force Crabs to molt, but it would cost you a few thousand to set it up.
 

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The male crab is not holding the soft crab to protect it, its making whoopee, this is the only time a female crab can be bred, you will never see a male crab holding another male crab unless there making a movie called "Crab Broak Mountain", on the under side of a virgin female crab, her carapace is triangular shaped, once she sheds and conceives the carape will be oval to hold her eggs,right before a virgin female crab is ready to shed, her underside turns bright red, you can put them in a bucket and wait, when a male crab is ready to shed the ends of its flippers will changew to a bright redddish blue color with a distinct line separating the two, this crab is called a peeler, usually take about 8-24 hrs, there are some places that shed crab up and down the coast, the process is labor intensive because the window of opportunity is so small for success.
 
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