Catching Dungeness Crab with Swallow Tail Tours

Casting the crab trap (Photo: Swallow Tail Tours)

Swallow Tail Tours specializes in exploring the wild foods and boutique wineries of British Columbia.  On offer are a range of tours ranging from fishing for Dungeness crab, mushroom hunting and plant foraging to cycling, snowshoe and hiking.

I took part in the Dungeness Crab Fishing day trip on the weekend.  The day included canoeing, crab trapping and cooking instruction followed by a 3 course lunch .We met at the Jericho Sailing club where we were greeted by Robin, our guide for the day, who took us down to the pier to discuss the day’s itinerary.  Our first task was to paddle out in the canoe to drop our first crab pot. Once back at shore we tried our hand at throwing in a crab trap from the end of a pier. This was the part I most enjoyed. Casting out our trap and then pulling it in every 15 minutes to check our booty was a lot of fun.

The first crab pot needs to stay out for an hour and a half, so during this time it is your choice as to what you would like to do.  The activities on offer are as energetic or relaxed as you like – the choice is yours. You can paddle around in the canoe (with an expert on hand to give advice, lessons and even paddle out with you if you require), throw the crab traps, sit on the beach or even just sit on the patio of the Sailing Club with a glass of wine. There is a huge thermos of delicious tea on hand (selection of the day was double cream earl grey with honey) along with a gourmet sandwich (prosciutto with salad) to keep the hunger pangs at bay until you can dive into your tasty crab dish.

The Catch! (Photo: flickr.com/alex_dobson)

After the crab pot was brought back in, we were whisked away to The Supper Club for lunch. At this point, you have a choice as to watch and help Robin preparing the crabs, or to leave it to the expert.  We decided to join in and Robin showed us how to kill the crabs and take off their shells. If this isn’t your cup of tea – don’t worry, Robin will swiftly prepare them out of view!

Lunch! (Photo: flickr.com/alex_dobson)

While we relaxed in the garden, basking in the sunshine, our personal chef prepared our three-course meal. An appetizer of sweet pea soup, a main of our fresh caught crab and a trio of fig desserts to finish it off. If you have a favourite BC wine, feel free to bring it along and Robin will decanter it for you. Depending on how many crabs you catch, it is very likely there will be some left over, which will be packaged up for you to take home. Our guide and personal chef for the day was extremely knowledgeable and passionate about food and wine, offering advice and ideas every step of the way.

Swallow Tail offers a range of culinary tours within British Columbia including destinations such as Harrison Hot Springs, Okanagan Valley and the Gulf & Vancouver Islands. Tours range in duration from one to seven days.

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