PORTLAND, Ore. — Steve Fick first explored the Columbia River estuary as a kid, so he knows his way around the vast waterway where the river meets the sea. We left the snug harbor of Hammond, Oregon near Astoria and slowly motored the short distance downriver to an area just off Clatsop Beach. Fick had prepared five large crab pots or traps with varied baits – a strategy he often uses so to “see what the crabs prefer.” Sometimes he’ll use turkey legs, chicken wings, shad or salmon carcasses – even a can of tuna for crab bait. “Oh yes, a can of tuna fish is perfect bait,” exclaimed Fick. “All you do is perforate the can so that the scent comes out – you can also buy canned sardines or mackerel too – both work well. As long as they have a high oil content, it seems to fish well – the scent is what draws the crab into the pot.” Each Oregon crabber must carry an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Shellfish License. Each crabber is allowed to use up to three crab pots. We timed our trip to fish our traps during the last hour of the incoming tide and then through the high slack tide period. (That’s often the best crabbing time.) Steve said it’s the safest time to crab in the...