Monday, May 12, 2008

Crabbing

At least once this year, I plan to capture and prepare my own food. I already have taken a hunter's safety class, bought a fishing and hunting license, and been given as gifts various tools like fishing pools and shotguns.

This weekend I was at the coast so I decided try crabbing. Blue crab are in season. I love fresh crab meat and sitting on a dock or pier in the sun waiting for crab to bite sounds like a luxury to me. Additionally, crabbing is low tech, inexpensive and fun. No, I didn't set out a crab pot.

We tied a chicken leg to some fishing line, tossed it in, and waited. Some of us waited longer than others. I realized that I need to work on patience! After a while, we'd pull up the lines very slowly to see if a crab was hanging on. Sometimes we could feel them wrestling the chicken leg but sometimes we couldn't. When we saw a crab claw hanging on the the chicken as we pulled up the lines, we tried to scoop the crab into a net. It sounds easier than it actually is, surprisingly!

One of my companions caught a gorgeous female blue crab. She was fierce...and I don't mean fierce as it is currently being bandied about in fashion circles. I mean cut-your-finger-in-half fierce. She was angry and ready to fight. We might have lost some digits trying to get her into a pot even with tongs and gloves. Every time we opened the cooler to admire her, she'd jump into the air with claws ablazin'.

After a couple of hours we still only had the one crab. They were biting but we were too hasty in pulling them up or too clumsy with the nets. I decided that it wasn't right to eat only one, especially a mature female that would be better served making crab babies than in a crab Louie. We let her go.

I definitely want to go crabbing again. Although I am very humbled to learn that if relied on my own prowess to keep myself fed, I'd probably die of hunger.

3 comments:

Vera said...

I Used to go crabbing with my dad and grandfather when i was a kid on the jersey shore and loved it! (no boys in the family, meant they took lil ole me out at the crack of dawn in the summers to fish then crab.

I gotta say, those little crab traps aren't too costly, and worth the investment. you can hitch the chicken to the center of the trap and it lays flat on the ocean floor, then shuts when you pull the cord, MUCH easier to catch the wriggly suckers!

etselec said...

Crabbing is definitely a skill that takes years to perfect. The line-puller has to be extra sensitive to vibrations and extra gentle on the pull, and the netter has to be very surreptitious to keep the crab from seeing the net coming, and very accurate in the scoop. I grew up on the Chesapeake Bay and had many crabbing trips with my parents and family friends. Keep at it - once you're good, it's a very satisfying experience. And the taste of ultra-fresh crabs can't be beat. :)

etselec said...

Crabbing is definitely a skill that takes years to perfect. The line-puller has to be extra sensitive to vibrations and extra gentle on the pull, and the netter has to be very surreptitious to keep the crab from seeing the net coming, and very accurate in the scoop. I grew up on the Chesapeake Bay and had many crabbing trips with my parents and family friends. Keep at it - once you're good, it's a very satisfying experience. And the taste of ultra-fresh crabs can't be beat. :)