Crabbing on the Isle of Wight
Are you looking for something to do on the Isle of Wight with the kids? Well, if you want to do something that both you as a parent will LOVE and does not cost much for hours of fun, then crabbing is the answer for you.
When I was growing up on the Isle of Wight my parents used to take me to the beach to pass the time. As a child I actually found it quite boring in the end, there is only so many sand castles and dams that you can build before you are looking for something else to do. Well, noticing this one day when we were at Steephill Cove, my father took me to the beach kiosk and thinking I was going to be treated to an ice-cream, he appeared with a crabbing line and fishing net!!!!!!!!!!! “What is all this about?” I said and spent the next hour sulking on the beach in disgust.
Time past and when I realised that despite throwing myself on the sand and throwing a tantrum to try and bully them into to getting me an ice-cream wasn’t going to work, I started to look at the crabbing line and then noticed that there were kids on the rocks surrounding the cove, actually having a great time pulling stuff out of the water and putting it in buckets.
I slipped away with the crabbing line, bucket and net to see what was happening. Well, excuse the pun, but to say that within minutes I was hooked is an understatement. I looked on in wonder as these fellow kids were pulling out shore crabs from between the rocks using their crabbing lines and once I realised it was like a competition to see who could get the most, my competitive streak kicked in and I was away.
Now, whilst it is fun prising off a limpet from the rocks and using it as bait, I started to experiment with different types of bait stolen from the picnic that Mum had prepared for us on the beach. I tried cheese because it could be plied around the hook – hopeless and I tried various types of meat with limited success and then I discovered smoked bacon. Wow, this drives the little crabs wild and they couldn’t get enough of it. I was soon winning hands down in the crabbing competition pulling out loads. When asked what it was, I simply told them it was bacon. I wasn’t going to give away the hidden secret of the bacon being smoked – after all, it was a competition.
As the years progressed, even before my wife and I had kids, we used to go off crabbing with nieces and nephews and my fascination with it progressed further. The smoked bacon worked consistently but when I pulled the line out of the water, very often the weight of crabs would pull the bacon off the hook and I would be left disappointed. It was also proving costly. One day I noticed my wife doing the washing and on the work top was a netted detergent bag, the type that you put the washing tablets in and I had an idea. Put the bacon in the bag and it will last all day – RESULT.
Well, armed with the nieces and nephews we went off crabbing with the new tackle and smoked bacon. It was winter time and very cold, but we headed off to Gurnard Marsh at Cowes, at the marsh there is a small inlet from the Solent where there are small fishing boats moored and this is one of the best places to go for crabbing on the Island. Well, we spent most of the day there pulling out hundreds of shore crabs between us. It was just so addictive. The small crabs legs were getting caught in the netted bag as they scrambled to get to the smoked bacon – the kids and myself loved it.
As I have grown older, I have taken my own kids and they too are now firmly addicted. We have had many happy hours, indeed days where we have all been endlessly dropping the crab lines in and try to see who can get the most. You really should try it, if you haven’t done so all ready.