Once the water temperature warms up to at least 55 degrees, you’ll have more luck according to what I’ve read. As I mentioned you don’t need much to catch crabs off of a pier, dock or boat. We went out with a dozen chicken legs, a roll of twine and a net with a long handle. We did see other people using larger pieces of chicken, but they didn’t seem to be having any luck getting anything with them.
Once you have chosen where you want to try your luck, simply tie a chicken leg to the end of a string and allow it to sink on down into the water to where the crabs are most likely to be hanging out. It is best if you have another person with you so that one of you can gently pull the string back up while the other has the net handy to get underneath the crab before it decides it would rather not be dinner. If you pull the string too quickly, they will jump off before you even realize that you had one. There are also rules on the size crab you can keep, they must be at least 4 ½ inches to keep them. We caught a good number of “babies” and sent them back to continue nibbling and growing bigger.
Our Boys had a great time with crabbing and are looking forward to doing it again soon. Apparently, you can do this into September so we just may have to give it another try. The town we were in was lovely and the other people who were crabbing were so friendly.
Once we got them home, which was VERY late at night, we steamed them and then set them aside in the fridge until Sunday. Since we ended up with about 8 crabs that were big enough to bring home, that meant we were going to be limited in what we could do with the meat. Before getting to that, My Husband spent time showing My Oldest how to crack them and pull out the meat. My Oldest was a quick study and will now be helping whenever we indulge in getting crabs!
We ended up with just about a half pound of meat. Not a lot to work with, but just enough to make a few smaller “Crabby Patties” (a.k.a. crab cakes for those who don’t watch Spongebob Squarepants). I have made the recipe from Cooking Light before and since it turned out so well, made it again this time. What I like about this recipe is that the patties are fried for just a short time on the stove-top and then finished in the oven. The patties firm up while frying, then they become golden brown in the oven, using less oil overall. They are simply delicious and the best part is they are so simple to make. You won't need to wait until you go out to dinner to enjoy crab cakes anymore. Even if you can't go crabbing where you live, go out and purchase some REAL lump crab meat (not that artificial stuff - yuck!) and make these crab cakes! You can serve them simply as they are with a bit of tartar sauce if you like, or make them like My Oldest (and Spongebob) likes them: on a whole wheat bun with ketchup, lettuce and tomato!
This was one of those activities that made me really feel like we weren't just out doing the usual thing, but rather creating family memories together. One of My Brother's out in Kansas City had commented that when we drove out to visit the last time, that the trip would make memories the boys would remember for the rest of their lives. That really made me stop and think about how important it is to live in the moment and do things that are fun together as a family. Those are the things you remember when you grow up and the stories you tell your own kids. I think that's something I will have to keep reminding myself as we get into the routine come September with the homework, afterschool activities and the regular business of life. We shouldn't just save the fun stuff for summer, we should make time for it throughout the year.
Check out these recipes using fresh crab meat:
Crab and Fuji Apple Salad by Jaden at Steamy Kitchen
Broiled Mushrooms with Crabmeat at Dragon's Kitchen