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Catch Your Own Dinner at Sandbridge Beach, VA

Catch Your Own Dinner at Sandbridge Beach, VA

Fresh trout sizzling in butter. Plump shrimp simmering instew. Tender chunks of crabmeat nestled in savory cream sauce in a bed of pennepasta.

Sound scrumptious? Most coastal natives would agree. They'dalso insist that these treats taste even better when you've caught themyourself. After all, for seafood, freshness is key. And it doesn't get anyfresher than "right off the hook" or "straight outta thenet."

Fortunately, catching your own seafood is easy, even ifyou've never done it before. Especially here at Sandbridge Beach, VA, wherechoice fish and shellfish abound.

And remember, if all else fails, you can always pick up somedelectable dainties at Sandbridge Seaside Market... or some tasty takeout atSimply Steamed and other local eateries.

How to Catch Your Own Shrimp

You'll need a Cast Net License, which you can easily obtainfor a modest annual fee, either online, by phone or mail, or from any licensingagent. Where can you find a license agent? Try any larger Virginia tackle shop.Just ask!

If you're shrimping during the day in the brackish waters ofBack Bay, use a cast net with wide sewn-on webbing and heavy-duty sinkerweights, readily available online and at most bait-and-tackle shops.

  • Add a little shrimp meal as bait - shrimp love it!
  • Cast your net into deeper waters - about 25 to 30 feet deep. (Shrimp stay close to the bottom in the daytime.)
  • Make sure the net sinks all the way to the bottom.
  • "Jig" (tug, shake) the line a few times.
  • Then draw the net up and empty contents into a bucket.

You should net a few dozen shrimp per cast. Separate out thesmaller ones to use as fish bait. Keep the larger ones for dinner.

If you're shrimping at night in saltwater, use a flashlightor small lantern to attract shrimp to the surface. Then use a long-handleddip net to nab your catch.

Wash, peel, and you're ready to cook!

How to Catch Your Own Crabs

The warm ocean waters off of Sandbridge Beach teem with tastyAtlantic Blue Crabs, especially when the tide's coming in. What's more, it'ssurprisingly simple to snag these carnivorous critters. They love chickenwings, turkey necks, and other inexpensive meats, so baiting is a breeze! Justbe sure to tie your bait securely to your net, so it won't float away in thetide.

If you're crabbing along the shore, use any standardlong-handled dip net. You can even purchase colorful kiddie nets for yourlittle ones. They'll have a blast!

If you're crabbing from Little Island Pier, you'll need acast net or crab net attached to a longish rope line. Be sure to wear gloves -coarse rope can be hard on your hands!

Bait your net with some tantalizing chicken pieces, lower itinto the water, wait a few moments, then draw it out. On most days, when thewater's moving, you should catch one or two crabs per cast.

No license is required for crabbing with a standard dip orcast net, unless your catch exceeds two dozen hard crabs or one dozen softcrabs or peelers. In that case, you'll need a recreational license. A licenseis also required if you're using collapsible crab traps, eel pots, net rings,seines, or trotlines.

Then There's the Fishing

You'll find fresh fish aplenty right around Sandbridge Beach.Cast your line right from the shore for saltwater favorites like flounder andsea trout. Or try fishing nearby Back Bay for crappie, largemouth bass, andmore.

You'll need a freshwater or saltwater fishing license,depending on which waters you fish. Or, you can simply fish from Little IslandPier, which is covered by its own blanket license. For $8 per day (Virginiaresidents) or $10 (non-residents), you can cast your line from the pier to yourheart's content. (Weekly and annual passes are also available.)

You've Caught Your Catch. Now What?

It's up to you! Your seafood meals can be as simple or aselaborate as you like.

Boil or grill peeled shrimp and serve with tangy cocktailsauce. Or fold into delectable dishes such as Shrimp Jambalaya, ShrimpEtouffee, Shrimp Alfredo, or Seafood Gumbo.

Cook fresh Blue Crabs in boiling water, then serve hot with melteddrawn butter. Or mix the cooked meat into savory delicacies such as Crab Louisor She-Crab Bisque. Even try your hand at mouthwatering Maryland Crab Cakes.You'll find countless recipes online!

What about fish recipes? The sea's the limit! Grill, fry,broil, or bake and serve with traditional coleslaw, hush puppies, or anythingelse that strikes your fancy.

Visit Sandbridge Beach and Taste for Yourself

Whether you catch your seafood, buy it, or order it, there'sno better place to enjoy it than Sandbridge Beach, VA. So, pack up the car,gather the fam, and head off to this serene, secluded seaside retreat.

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