Getting Crabby

crabby_0By Ed Snyder/Outdoors
“Twitching” slightly as it slowly became taut against the tide, a young crabber fingered the crabbing line to find persistent tugs on the other end. “Crab” he whispered to no one in particular while slowly pulling on the line with one hand, grabbing the dip-net with the other. Within seconds a crusty hard-shelled critter, with blue-tipped pincers busily mangling a chicken neck, appeared. With one quick swoop of the net the menu for the evenings meal included boiled crab. Its cheap, it’s fun, and it provides a great family style meal for seafood lovers. Crabs, mainly blue claw crabs (named for their aquatic blue colored pincers) are now being enjoyed throughout the Texas Gulf Coast. Summer is always the right time for crabbing, which is the one sport where expensive fishing gear isn’t needed. A spool of twine ($2), chicken necks ($2.44), a dip-net ($5.99), add a Styrofoam cooler ($3.99) and you are in for some quality fishing fun.

This Family Group having fun gathering crabs for supper

This Family Group having fun gathering crabs for supper

Although certain types of crab-traps are legal to use, they lack the adventurous excitement of sportier “one-on-one” string and bait techniques. If you have a passel of kids and need some sort of baby sitter controls in order to enjoy your outing, then the string and bait method is for you. Just tie an 8 to 12 foot piece of twine (kite string) to a stake, piling, or scrub near the water you wish to crab, then tie a chicken neck with a small weight on the other end and just toss out into the water (faster currents may require heavier weights to keep it on the bottom). For maximum fun, rig several lines, then just sit back and watch the fun as the little rascals “run-amok” checking lines to see if any crabs are attached. If so, teach them to slowly pull the lines in -plus- how to dip a long handle crab-net in the water under the crab to swoop it up. There will be more misses than captures, but that’s half the fun. The crab must be at least 5 inches across from shell-tip to shell-tip before keeping. If the crab is shorter than 5 inches across, or if it has an orange, spongy mass underneath, it’s a female with eggs, so release it as it is illegal to keep.

Kids having fun boxing their catch of crabs

Kids having fun boxing their catch of crabs

Best places for crabbing is any saltwater pass, slough, roadside drainage ditch, or canal found along the coastal areas. Prime crabbing can be found along the Sabine river at Sabine Pass, Bolivar Peninsula’s Rollover Pass, Galveston’s Sea Wolf Park, the Clear Lake/Kemah/Seabrook area, Texas City Dike, Dickinson Bayou, the salt marsh areas around Hitchcock along I-45, San Luis Pass, or just about all of the Galveston Bay system, the Inland Waterway that runs along leeward side of the Bolivar Peninsula, and any jetty or rock groins. My recommendation would be for the bayside of Rollover Pass and its marshy canals that run along the entry roads along the Intra-Coastal Waterway. I’ve seen some HUGE blue claws caught in the Rollover area that often measure 8 to 9 inches across the shell.

One vacationing group of kids visiting Pawpaw and Memaw were spending summer days crabbing for blue claws. Within but a short time they were able to load up a cooler with some really nice blue-claws from surrounding Rollover waters. Crabbing is a family oriented sport that provides both an exciting day of fun for kids and adults alike as an activity that the whole family can enjoy together. From now through September crabbing along the Texas Gulf coast will be active and plentiful.

Fun Day on a Sunday. Double your trouble - double your fun. Redtip female and blueclaw male

Fun Day on a Sunday. Double your trouble – double your fun. Redtip female and blueclaw male

Memories from my earliest Texas days found me spending summers in the saltwater bayous around Laguna Madre filling wicker baskets full of unruly crabs. It was a time of war, where military families chipped in for the evenings meal served up country style. So while our dads were off fighting in the Pacific, with Moms packing parachutes at McAllen Army Air base, my brother and I would spend our time in the bayous or irrigation canals of South Texas crabbing or fishing. We always referred to this fun time sport as “getting crabby”. Fond memories from the good times.

Keep your crabs ALIVE in a cooler

Keep your crabs ALIVE in a cooler

Figure at least two to four crabs per person, keeping them alive in a cooler before cooking. You MUST discard any dead crabs as being totally unfit for human consumption. In a large boiling pot, fill with freshwater to about 2/3 full, add seasoned crab boil and bring to a rolling boil. Place live crabs in the pot and allow to re-boil. Take pot off heat and let stand for 15 minutes (Note: the longer they soak the stronger the seasoning gets). So it’ll be to your taste, but be careful for too spicy a taste.

Place newspaper over your dining or picnic table. Drain the cooked crabs and dump them on the table steaming hot. Place some dipping bowls of purified lemon butter around the table for dipping the crab meat and you have a finger food feast extraordinaire. Remove the shell and scoop out the white crab meat (anything grey or yellowish is inedible) crack the claws with pliers and squeeze the meat out (the claw meat is the “filet de Jour” of the crab); the only other item needed to enhance the incredible flavors of your crab feast would be an ice cold beverage of your choice …”Bon Appetite!”

This article sponsored by: Miss Nancy’s Bait Camp, Crystal Beach Local News, The Beach Triton, Fishing World.Com-
Info Guide; Texas Parks & Wildlife; …Fond Memories.

Facebook Twitter
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Site by