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Bandon Crab Derby: Win Prizes by Crabbing on S. Oregon Coast

Published 07/14/21 at 6:55 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Bandon Crab Derby: Win Prizes by Crabbing on S. Oregon Coast

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(Bandon, Oregon) – Few Oregon coast pastimes are as sublime and full of multiple layers of fun as crabbing. But what if catching the coveted crustacean could win you a prize as well? (Photo courtesy Seaside Aquarium)

That's just what happens every year at this time in Bandon, on the southern Oregon coast. It's called the Bandon Crab Derby, and it happens July and August – having started July 1 this time around. During this time, some 120 Dungeness crab are tagged and released back into the waters of the Coquille River. If you catch one with the little adornment, you bring it to Tony's Crab Shack in Bandon for verification and recording. This automatically enters you into drawings for cash and prizes.

The big drawings and prize giveaways are at the Bandon Cranberry Festival Weekend on September 12 at noon. However, there are five smaller drawings throughout these months: July 24, August 7, and August 21, September 4. The first one has passed. Each of the smaller drawings are held at Tony's Crab Shack at 4 p.m.

The smaller drawings are for $100 each but you must be present to win. All entries go back into the larger-prize drawing pool for the Bandon Cranberry Festival. First prize is $1,000 (if not present you win $750); second prize is $300 (if not present you get $150). So, the pressure is on to attend.

You also need a shellfish license through Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) to catch the crabs, and thus you'll need proof of that when you enter the contest at Tony's Crab Shack. The crab must have the tag, as well.

If you're wondering about those crabs saddled with wacky tags, they are biodegradable and soon fall off the Dungeness. There's no harm done to the clawed critters.


Photo courtesy Ian Sane / Flickr

Oregon crabbing is a year-round activity that can almost always yield a successful trip. Crabbing trips require minimal gear, often available for rent in coastal towns, and while boat crabbing increases your likelihood for success, dockside crabbing is easy and very accessible. Before crabbing, be aware of crab regulations. Knowledge of where, when, and how to crab will increase your chances for success.

If this has whet your appetite for catching the Dungeness, the Bandon area of the southern Oregon coast is packed with spots to drop your pot.

According to ODFW, the majority of the Coquille River and river mouth through Bandon are excellent spots to crab, with the boat launches also providing decent shore crabbing possibilities. ODFW's map shows crabbing is best until you get to the bridge at Highway 101.

However, according to the Port of Bandon, you must set your crab gear out of navigational channels. They could get pulled if you do. However, there are plenty of spots at various piers, the boardwalk or jetties.

“Always use caution when boating/crabbing in the lower bay as swift currents during tidal exchanges can occur, and result in loss of gear or cause boat to be pulled out to sea if mechanical problems arise,” ODFW said.

For more information on the Craby Derby, call Tony's at (541) 347-2875. MORE BANDON BELOW

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Photo courtesy Tony's Crab Shack: one of these tagged crabs could win you cash

Photo courtesy Manuela Durson

Photo courtesy Oregon State Parks

Bandon Crab Derby: Win Prizes by Crabbing on S. Oregon Coast

Photo courtesy Manuela Durson

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