Stone Crab season is upon us.
Not hard to get excited about the chance to crack the crabs and dip 'em into some tangy mustard sauce. The popular crabs should begin to show up on menus and in markets this weekend or early next week.
Traps were being pulled Friday morning, the legal start of Commercial Stone Crab season.
"It is like a change of seasons. Leaves start to fall and stone crabs come out of the ocean," said Luis Garcia, who was one of the first to get on the hunt.
The crabbers in the Keys say they expect a bumper crop.
According to KeysNews.com, fishermen have been finding stone crabs in lobster traps throughout the waters off the Keys. Buoyed by a rewarding lobster season, the Florida Keys Commercial Fisherman's Association Executive Director Bill Kelly says prices should be just about where they were at the end of last season.
That means, depending on the size, consumers could pay $14 to $28 dollars a pound for stone crabs over the counter.
Stone Crab Season also signals the unofficial opening of the fall and winter tourist season, which is usually highlighted by the "Open" sign on Joe's Stone Crabs, the holy grail in the industry.
And for those who want stone crabs as fresh as possible and not wait for hours to snag a table at Joe's Stone Crab, you can always grab your own.
The Commercial Stone Crab season runs parallel with the recreational crab season. Anyone with a Florida fishing license can put out five traps. The daily bag limit for non-commercial trappers is one gallon worth of claws for each person on the boat or two gallons per vessel whichever is less.
Stone crab season runs through May 15.