We went onto a pier at 11:30 PM and set up some crabbing nets that have cages attached to the nets at the inside bottom. We used chicken meat as bait and just tossed the ringed nets over the edge of the pier. First one we pulled up the crab was JUST too small as California regulation states the width of the crab's shell must be at least 5 and 3/4 inches and you can have a maximum of 10 crabs. So we had to toss him back. Many small ones but eventually we pulled up King Sebastian who was maybe 8.5 inches wide (think supermarket big). We managed to walk away with a couple more crabs with a total of 5 to bring home.
On a cool sidenote there are other things you can catch. In one of my nets a rockfish got caught in the net and I had to free him to save his life. However he was extremely spiny and from what I've read some speciies of rockfish have a weak venom in the spines. I've held live fish before but it was different and in a way disturbing holding this struggling fish probably because I was trying to save this one. He was in the net so good we almost had to cut the net to get him out. We put him in our bucket to make sure he was okay first but he was swimming sideways and then practically belly up. So a nearby fisherman told us he was probably dead and said they make great bait for crabs. We agreed and he showed us how to gut the fish. Watching someone gut a live fish that you know came out of the water because you pulled it out yourself is very, VERY different than preparing a fish from the market. My friend said in Santa Cruz he caught tons of octopus.
-More fun to go with friends you want to bond with.
-The more nets you have the more chances you have of course. (Think of each net as a scrather card haha)
-Bring warm clothes, blankets, chairs, snacks, beer, ganja
-You don't have to like seafood or crab to do it. It's fun regardless.
-Don't go in with the mindset that you are going to catch something. There are good and bad days but if you catch anything it already makes things exciting.