Some places in the fall, like WeGo Tackle Shop in Southold or White's in Greenport, will carry them for about $5.00/doz., which is quite steep when you consider that many days 10 - 12 doz. is just an adequate supply for 2 - 3 anglers. I have found the only reliable way to obtain them is to invest in scallop dredges and harvest your own. It is hard and dirty work, but it is fun too. I have only dredged in L.I. Sound in the 20 - 30 ft. sandbar/open bottom areas. The spring (May)is usually a better dredge time. If you get a generous supply from a lobsterman, they can be frozen. Deshell them and place 25 - 30 in baggies with a good am't of kosher salt. (This is particularly effective during the colder mos. when time and temperature is more of a factor.)Just thaw before using. On some days this lengthy and laborious effort is more than worth it. Man, I can feel them bulldogs tuggin' just thinkin' about 'em!!
i appreciate the info. I am on the north shore to, is there another way other than the dredges and if not how do they work and what type of area are the hermits in. Im in the smithtown bay area. thanks for the help
thanks forthe info. was out on the reef this year and watched a boat fishing with hermits kill the fish right through the turn of the tide. the few times i was able to get my hands on some hermits i out fished just about everybody. I think there is something to it.
I have fished on the smithtown reef many times for blackfish and I believe you have to be right on top of them in order to catch.
They aren't so fussy and they will hit a fresh green crab cut in 1/2 as well as a hermit crab. Those days that you did well with hermits, you may have been in the right hole.
I agree with some of the other posts and dragging a scallop dredge is probably not to wise besides it will cause more harm to the bottom (mussels, alge, etc) then the reward of a few hermit crabs.
If you firmly believe that hermits are the way to go try a double hook rig and put a hermit on one hook and a green on the other. Keep score and you probably won't see much of a difference but you never know.
I was told by an angler that constantly achieves exceptional catches of blackfish that hermits should only be used when all other baits fail. He told me that once the tog see the hermits that's all they'll want to eat and will shy away from the green crabs(or other baits). From how good I've personally seen him fish for tog I'd believe him. I've only used hermits once and they didn't impress me. The blackfish were hitting the green crabs just as much if not more.
Just my 2 cents...
I do believe this to be true. As i have a spot on the reef that is very productive but once the guy with the hemits show up i just get the straaggers has happened more than once. He will not let meknow where he gets them but, he always has them. I thought they were easier to get, Im not driving to greenport or dredging. i appreciate all the feedback
Well, I read about the legality about dredging hermits and do not believe it is illegal to dredge for them. To help clarify things, I went to the DEC website and could not get a hint at the legality or illegality of harvesting hermits. (Remember that more hermit crabs are kept as pets than are consumed for the human palate.) I will check with them (DEC) by phone on Friday. I did speak with them 5 years ago about harvesting and was told that there was nothing on the books regarding them. Perhaps it has changed. I will look into it.
As far as the effectiveness of hermits, I believe that they are unbeatable as a bait for tog. In the days before limits and closed seasons, etc. (10 - 12 years ago) I used to anchor off the beach in the middle of July (in the off season when they are not supposed to bite) and catch bulldogs as the fluke boats would casually drift by me. Green crabs were almost useless. The point is that you will not always do as well with the greens. They are not just as good. Yes, some days the fish will be on suicide missions and it won't matter. But on the average day or the finicky ones, I'll choose the hermits.
The point made about the dredging and the effect on the bottom is questiomnable since the place to capture most hermits is along sandbar type habitats. These locations are the waters outside of the beach house colonies on L.I. Sound. The scallop dredge works best when it skims along the bottom. This is not to be confused with a clam dredge which digs 6 - 12 inches into the bottom. In fact, if the dredge does dig into the bottom, it stops the boat operator from working the dredges effectively. He or she must accelerate and thus continue the skimming process.
You are right, you don't need a permit to catch scallops. The scallop season (what few are left)opens usually around the first or second week of October. Recreational folks can keep one peck of scallops per day, while the commercial boys can keep 10 bushels per person per day. No license/permit required... Again, nobody for the last five years have caught much. I went a few times this fall near Sag Harbor and got enough for dinner. Also got a decent amount of hermits as well (no limits are enforced on hermits). Blackfish love'em, but when tog are hungry, they'll take a greenie just as well. Blackfishing on the east end was just fantastic from mid-November to mid-December last season...
Checked in with the DEC at Stony Brook today and spoke with someone in the Shellfish Dept. She didn't know of anything on the books regarding the harvest of hermit crabs for bait. She referred me to someone else in the permits division, but unfortunately that person was not taking calls on a Fri. P.M. I am going to follow it up on Mon.
I used to dig up Hermit Crabs on the wet beach, just above and in the surf line at ToBay Beach. The were not deep, about 12" down. I would dig a hole and they would come crawling out in abundance. Please let me know if you get any & if the Blackfish like them. Also, The north shore has many places loaded with green & calico crabs under the rocks.
My Dad has no problem picking up a bushel at a time using a plexiglass bottomed bucket and a small scoop net. At low tide just about anywhere on the North Shore you just walk around and scoopem up. If you can get the kids involved its even better.
PS. My Pops has quite a reputation as a Tog slayer out on the East End, he doesnt even go out unless he has the secret weapon[hermits].
After much discussion with 2 officials at the DEC today, I can confidently announce to all ladies and gentleman (and children of all ages), who care to read this posting, that there is no recreational ordinance, law, or regulation on the books regarding the harvest of hermit crabs. I know, we can all sleep well tonight. And with that I put hermit crab legality to bed.
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