crabCrabbing is a popular pastime in South Australia, and especially on Yorke Peninsula.  Here you will find the blue swimmer crab, which is a delicately flavoured, delicious treat.  Gulf St Vincent and Spencer Gulf offer the ideal breeding grounds for these crabs, having the extensive sandy bottom and seagrass meadows that they love.  There are bag and size limits, so make sure you abide by these rules so that future generations can also enjoy catching a delicious feed of crabs.  A really useful publication is the Yorke Peninsula Fishing Guide, which has information on each of the beachside towns, including the best places to find crabs.

The best way to catch a feed of crabs is with a crab rake.  Take along a buoyant tub which can be towed along behind you - this is where you will put those crabs when you have lifted them with the rake.  Remember to protect your feed by wearing some old sandshoes.crab on rake

You only need to be in knee deep water on a clear sandy patch.  If the water is really clear and calm, you'll see two very small eyes sticking out of the sand, otherwise they're best found by a slightly disturbed, greyish patch of sand. If you run the rake over that area, when it strikes the crab it will immediately come out of the sand in a defensive position with its claws up. Scoop the crab up onto the rake and lift it out of the water and quickly into the tub – sometimes though the crab will latch onto the rake and you'll have to pry it off to get it in the tub!

Crabbing is best on a day that is not too windy, so you can see the sandy bottom through the water.  Some people swear by an incoming tide, others prefer an outgoing tide - so long as it's around low tide and the water is moving.  It's always been said that the best months for crabbing are those with an 'r' in them. 

Remember the rules that apply to all crabbing

* All undersize crabs must be returned to the water immediately

* Female crabs with external eggs are totally protected and must be returned to the water immediately

* It is an offence for recreational fishers to sell or trade their catch

* There is a combined blue swimmer/sand crab catch limit in South Australia. In other words you add together the numbers of each type of crab to calculate your daily bag or boat limit


Cooking your catch

crabs by Susan PointonIt is recommended that the crabs are immersed in a salt water/ice slurry for a minimum of 20 minutes before cooking. 

The salt water/ice slurry is made by first filling a suitable container (such as an esky) with normal crushed ice, then adding salt water (or sea water). The ratio of normal ice to salt water should be 3:1, which will give the consistency of wet concrete and a temperature of –1°C. It is important that enough ice is provided to maintain the temperature of the slurry.

Crabs are best cooked in seawater but if that's not convenient, add a handful of salt to freshwater in a medium sized pot and bring it to the boil.

Don't overload the pot and bring the water back to the boil as quickly as possible and cook for five minutes.

They turn a bright red / orange. When cooked drain well and cool quickly.

Visitor Information

Yorke Peninsula Council acknowledges the Narungga (traditionally spelled Nharangga) people, the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Yorke Peninsula and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.
Yorke Peninsula Visitor Information
8 Elizabeth Street, Maitland, South Australia 5573
T: 1800 202 445   E:


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