Another great way to spend some time in Lyme is crabbing in the harbour - this simple, classic seaside activity will keep the kids happy for an hour or two!
Crabbing is a popular summer activity for visitors and locals around the harbourside and the Cobb is a brilliant spot to dangle a crab line.
You’ll need a crab line which consists of a piece of string or fishing wire, bait and a weight that is heavy enough to keep the bait at the bottom of the harbour. Some crabbers use drop nets, but the real skill is in using a line.
Crabs are notoriously greedy and have a super sense of smell, so the smellier the bait the better. Firm favourites are bacon, sardines, squid and mackerel.
If you want to examine the mighty-clawed crustaceans for a while, you’ll need a bucket, the bigger the bucket, the better as crabs don’t like being overcrowded.
You’ll also need a net to land the crabs and transfer them to your bucket as the little rascals will try and jump off and head back home.
If you didn’t bring one with you, you can get your hands on a crab line, bucket, bait and a net from the Slipway shop near the Cobb.
Once you’ve got your gear, find a suitable spot on the harbour wall and drop your line in the water and wait. The best time to catch crabs is as the tide is rising, before and just after high tide as the little critters are adept at burying themselves in the mud at low tide to avoid drying out and also becoming a seagull’s meal!
The Shore Crab, the most common in Dorset, needs a little coaxing, so allow 5 minutes or so to get them scoffing on the bait before you gently wind the line in.
Raise your line, it should feel a little heavier, and observe. Clustered to your now half eaten bait, there should be a few happy crabs munching away.
If you want to keep your crabs in a bucket for a while to look at, make sure you only put two or three in at a time. They don’t like crowds and will start fighting if there are too many.
Make sure you replace the sea water in your bucket every 10-15 minutes and remember to keep your bucket in the shade as crabs are not keen on bright sunlight.
After you’ve observed their quirky antics, gently return them to the water. Shore crabs aren’t edible… so do not try cooking them.
When you have finished, please take everything away with you. Do not leave any nets, lines or buckets to fall into the sea.