Dunge-zilla

Come back from a fishing trip and you never know what will show up in your email’s pot — take Dunge-zilla, the crab caught earlier this summer near Sequim Bay by Steve McCully.

The McLeary, Wash., man, who just signed up for a subscription to Northwest Sportsman magazine, forwarded me a shot of a crab that weighed 4 pounds, 10 ounces after he cooked it for dinner.

STEVE McCULLY'S MONSTER DUNGENESS, WHICH HE SAYS WEIGHED 4 POUNDS, 10 OUNCES AFTER COOKING. (LAZER SHARP PHOTO CONTEST)

Was it a state record?

“We’ve got them up to 200 pounds … just kidding,” says Rich Childers, the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife’s statewide shellfish manager.

As far as he knows no such mark exists in Washington, but he allows that McCully’s Dungie is large.

“Yeah, that’s a good-sized crab he’s got there,” Childers said this morning while looking at a jpeg of it at his Hood Canal office. “That’s probably a 9-, 91/2-inch crab.”

The minimum size for keepers in that area is 61/4 inches across the width of the carapace.

Childers says biologists see quite a few 71/2- and 81/2-inchers, less above 9 and the occasional 10.

“Rarely you’ll get one that goes 101/2 inches,” he says.

For McCully, there really was never a question that the crab easily met the size limit. In fact, they all did that day.

“I’d think the average crab I got from that pot that day was 21/2 pounds,” he says.

He weighed the big boy on a scale he uses to make sausages.

“Sixty-two years old and it’s the biggest Dungeness I’ve ever seen. I was just looking to cook him up and eat him,” he says.

McCully describes himself as semi-retired and will be heading out into Washington’s now-wetted woods for tomorrow’s bow deer opener, hoping to come home with the fixin’s for venison summer sausage.

But right now the focus is on one hell of a crab cake.

“Sure was a great meal!” he adds.

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