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Question for the locals re: stone crab

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NJ
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Question for the locals re: stone crab

Was hoping one of you could answer a question that's been puzzling me since our trip to Islamorada in early March. One of the things that was conspicously missing from a lot of menus during our trip was stone crab, but they were definitely in season.

Maybe we just hit the wrong restaurants, but the only place we dined that offered them (as a special) was Morada Bay. Is there a problem with the crab population in general?

Thanks.

Key Colony Beach...
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1. Re: Question for the locals re: stone crab

Thats a good question (and thats a bad answer - I know).

We were down there the end of March and never had a problem finding claws. Can't remember how much they were, but we found them.

I don't buy them at restaurants - too expensive for my blood, but I do buy them at the markets for personal consumption.

Mount Dora, Florida
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2. Re: Question for the locals re: stone crab

Stone crab season starts on Oct 15 and runs thru May 15.

Some years have more stone crabs than other. They can be expensive and all restaurants will not have them on the menu.

No restaurant will have a price on the menu, they will say "market price". The price goes up as the claw size gets larger.

The Stone crab frenzy starts in Oct and wanes thru the season. Maybe by March there were so few stone crabs coming in that restaurants gave up selling them. If there are few crabs being caught, they are very expensive.

I grew up in the Garden State and ate(eat) blue crabs, I hope you got some stone crabs while you were in FL. They are great.

Never eat or buy frozen stone crabs.The meat will stick to the shell.

There is no problem with the crab population in general. Hurricanes destroy traps, some years have more than others, but Florida marine resources are well cared for and are generally in very good shape.

Marathon, Florida
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3. Re: Question for the locals re: stone crab

The crab pulls were getting slow by March. october/november is the best time for them IMO. They were in most restaurants in Marathon that we saw, but were getting small. And usually not on the menu, but on special boards.

Frozen ones won't stick anymore than non-frozen ones if they are cooked correctly to begin with, but they do lack some of the taste of a fresh from the trap claw.

Key Colony Beach...
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4. Re: Question for the locals re: stone crab

When we are down in Stone Crab Season, we always take back a bunch in a soft sided cooler. We normally try and buy fresh and freeze them ourselves.

I'm tellin' ya when we do break those suckers out they don't last long on a MN table.

Marathon, Florida
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5. Re: Question for the locals re: stone crab

MMMMMM, it's one of my favorites!

Buffettguy!

You should put some traps out while you are down in season.

Key Colony Beach...
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6. Re: Question for the locals re: stone crab

Next stop - Google to find out Stone Crab laws, strategies, etc.

;-)

NJ
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7. Re: Question for the locals re: stone crab

buffetguy69,

I hear ya. If you can recommend a local market I'd appreciate it since we have already booked for next March and we'd like to keep the food budget under 'drunken sailor' proportions this time. ;-)

donato1899,

We've only been able to get out crabbing for blue claws once this summer and we had a good day catch wise, but overall the season has been so-so. So I understand where you're coming from as far as some years just being better than others.

I did order the stone crab that night and it was wonderful. Thanks for the tip on watching for frozen crab - I'll keep an eye out for that on our next trip.

NJ
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8. Re: Question for the locals re: stone crab

Ah, thanks bluewater. I've experienced that once or twice with king crab. Makes sense.

This thread is making me very tempted to go buy some chicken and do some hand lining for blue claws right now. Buffetguy, if you manage to google up a source for stone crab, could you please post it here? :-D

NJ
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9. Re: Question for the locals re: stone crab

Found the recreational regs:

myfwc.com/marine/…recstonecrab.htm

I'm loving this bag limit:

1 Gallon Of Claws Per Person or 2 Gallons Per Vessel, Whichever Is Less

I'm definitely talking to Mr. Blackfin about this tonight. :-D

Key Colony Beach...
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10. Re: Question for the locals re: stone crab

The regs you found were better than anything I looked at on Google.

The only place I can give you for a local market is Islamorada Fish Market, right next to World Wide Sportsman. I know that I've been to a place near Islamorada, but I can't come up with a name or an address. I could take you right there, and will be VERY willing to offer my GPS srevices personally - - -

I normally go to Captain's Three seafood in Marathon. It's on Coco Plum Drive. This is about a 30 minute drive from Islamorada. You'd take a left at the first stop light AFTER leaving Islamorada. About MM 55 ish.

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