Been cracking your mind over what to do over weekends especially with the glorious summers in New Zealand coming soon? You might find spending a weekend crab catching at Omaha Beach the activity you’ve been looking for!
Don’t worry if you’ve not fished or caught crabs before. This activity is well-suited for novices, and we’d even give you some tips to help increase your chances of leaving with crabs.
Unconvinced? We’ve got some photos of our experience to show you the crabs we’ve caught. Of course, if you’ve not been to Omaha, you will also see how beautiful the beach is. So, even if all else fails, a day at the beautiful Omaha beach will still make your trip worthwhile.
Picture a beautiful white sandy beach, clean air, crystal clear waters and uninterrupted gulf and island views. Sounds amazing enough for you to pack a bag immediately and fly there for the weekend?
If you’re based in Auckland, New Zealand, you’re in luck! You can save your flight fares for another time as this amazing beach is a mere 1 hour drive north of Auckland City and 15 minutes east of Warkworth.
Crab catching is just one of the many activities you can do on the beach. The beach is carefully monitored by lifeguards, making it safe for water activities like surfing, water skiing and swimming for children.
If you stayed the night in some of the beautiful beach houses for rent, you could visit one of the 15 vineyards within 15 minutes drive as the beach is located on the edge of ‘Matakana Wine Country’.
Crab catching and what you should bring
Now that you’ve heard about Omaha Beach, let’s talk about our main topic! Crab catching has, in our opinion, less technicalities compared to fishing. All you need is the right equipment as with everything else, and you’re all set!
Unlike fishing where the right equipment may cost you quite a fair bit, you can get decent crab catching equipment at pretty affordable prices. Let us bring you through list of equipment you’d need to catch some crabs.
Crab Catching Equipment
- Crab pods (There’s some things you have to look out for and we will share more on this)
- Fishing Weights/Sinkers (To make sure your pod stay sunken)
- Some small pouches/nets with strings (To put your baits and weights if its not already included with the pods)
- Approximately 20m of nylon string with buoy (For you to retrieve your pod, and the buoy is for in case your lose grip of your string)
- Baits (We will share more on this)
- A pair of sharp scissors (For cutting bait)
- A container (To store your catch)
Apart from crab catching equipment, there are of course other items you need to bring for a day at the beach. Since we are already started listing things, we thought we could give you a hand with preparing what you should pack for the beach too.
- Drinking water (Being near the ocean doesn’t mean you don’t have to stay hydrated)
- Snacks (Crab catching is probably going to take awhile)
- Sun-block lotion (You’re there to catch crabs, not skin cancer!)
- Shades (All the better to see them crabs)
- Swim gear (Its a beautiful beach with beautiful sands and crystal clear waters)
- Life jackets (The waves can be quite rough some times, so if you’re not a confident swimmer, you might want to consider wearing a life jacket)
- A change of clothes (We won’t like sitting in our cars if we got wet. We’re pretty sure you feel the same way too)
- Camera (We probably didn’t have to list this, but we thought you might like taking some pictures)
Things to note
Now that you got a list of things you should be bringing for a fun weekend of crab catching, time to set off? Not quite. There’s a couple of things you have to look out for especially with the equipment to make sure your trip a fruitful one.
Crabs you’re catching
Its important to know what type of crabs they are and where they dwell so you will be crab catching at the right spot. We won’t want you to be spending an afternoon at the wrong spot without catching anything.
The crabs that you’ll be catching are known as “rock crabs”. As you can tell by their names, they will be dwelling around rocks instead of the sand. There’s a particular section at Omaha beach where rock crabs tend to dwell. Don’t worry, we’ll point out the section on the map at the bottom of the post.
The rocks might seem dangerous or daunting at first, but even time crab-catchers like us got used to walking back and forth the rocks. There’s even quite a number of kids walking about these rocks with little trouble.
Males or Females
We know you probably don’t want to let any of your hard work go to waste, but we’d advise you to let the females back into the water.
We know you don’t like them eating your baits and getting away with it, but we have a good reason. They may be pregnant with the next generation, and more importantly, they taste horrible!
Here’s how you could identify the males from the females.
If you don’t already own a crab pod, and are planning to buy one, this section is meant for you.
As crabs are bottom feeders, your pod should be as flat and wide as possible at the bottom. The trap opening should also be on the side instead of the top.
Bottom feeders mean they usually dwell at the seabed instead of swimming around the ocean. Having the trap opening on the side lets them “walk in” more easily, and a flat and wide bottom gives you room to catch more.
One of the most important equipment for crab catching is certainly the bait. One of the baits we’ve found to be particularly helpful with catching crabs is the small fish, Pilchards.
Not sure where to buy it? You can essentially buy bait from most service stations along the way, and definitely in fishing stores!
Don’t worry, there is a service station on route where you could buy some bait. We will be pointing out to you where that service station is on the map at the bottom.
We’ve seen some posts suggesting baits like chicken bones, and other sort of baits, but our preference is still towards using Pilchards. You can buy them frozen at the service station, and even if you bought extras, throwing them back into the ocean doesn’t damage the ecosystem.
Chicken bones are not part of the ocean’s natural ecosystem, and could affect the ecosystem when introduced. Unlike bones from a small fish like Pilchards, these bones are harder and sharper, and could potentially be hurting sea life when swallowed by accident.
Restrictions for crab catching
As part of New Zealand’s effort to protect the environment, there are some general restrictions when it comes to crabbing. These are the ones that will be more applicable for casual crab catching in Auckland region.
- species specific pots (cod pots, crab pots etc) can be used. They are exempt from escape gap requirements but all other requirements (such as marking and pot limits) remain. 50 crabs per person as at 1 Feb 2017.
- individuals may use, set, or possess, up to three pots in any one day;
- all pots and surface floats must be clearly and permanently marked with the fisher’s surname and initials;
- two or more individuals fishing from a vessel may use, set, or possess up to six pots in any one day provided they have their name on the pots and that each person is using no more than three of the pots;
- bobs and ring pots may be used to catch rock lobster but all other requirements such as marking and pot limits apply;
- pots used to catch rock lobster have specific escape gap requirements – see ‘Rock Lobster’;
If you are looking for the full list of fishing rules and in different regions as well. you can visit MPI’s website here.
We’ve shared some tips with you how to enhance your experience of catching crabs like choosing the right pod, getting the right spot and using the right baits. They might increase your chances of returning home with a box full of crabs or you might just be having a bad day with little crabs caught.
At the end of the day, we think that what’s important is the experience of trying to catch crabs. Focusing on the fun you’ll be having trying out something new, and spending time with your loved ones.
We certainly enjoyed ourselves, having spent some quality time with our friends and loved ones, and getting some crabs as well!
Before we provide the locations to you, we just want to highlight the importance of safety. What’s more important that having fun is safety. We understand the saying of “You Only Live Once”, but that’s the point entirely.
You only live once, so make sure you’re safe in everything you’re doing. Never turn you back on the sea! All it takes is one big wave, and the next thing you’re swept into the sea.
As we promised, these are the locations of the spot we talked about as well as the service station where you can get your baits!