Is crab meat a good survival food? Well, I love it, so I think I could survive off crabmeat for a long time! But have you priced crabmeat in the stores lately? Geesh – the price is ridiculous, and crab dishes are even more expensive in restaurants. Of course, you could always try catching your own crabs for free and using them in your own crab recipes!
There are several ways to catch crabs, and I think we’ve tried all these crabbing methods at some point for blue crabs. One way to do it is by using a large box trap. With this method, you place some bait in the trap, throw the crab trap off the side of a pier or dock, and wait. The crabs swim into the box easily, but once they’re in, they can’t figure out how to escape. You can catch numerous crabs at one time this way.
Another way to catch crabs is to use a small crab trap. These might be circular and made of netting, or they might be pyramid-shaped and made of wire mesh. With both types of crab traps, you tie a piece of fish or a piece of chicken to the bottom and lower it into the water. You check the trap every so often by lifting it carefully out of the water to check for crabs. Usually, since these traps are small, you’ll catch only one or two crabs at the time with this form of crabbing.
Another method of crabbing is the old-fashioned way – with a cord, a chicken neck, and a dip net. This way is cheap and easy, but it involves patience. To do this, simply tie a chicken neck or back onto the end of a long cord. Toss the bait into the water and wait for a slight tug. When a crab has a good grip on the bait, it won’t let go easily. Pull the cord in slowly, and when you sky the crab, scoop it up into the dip net.
The last crabbing method I’ll mention is the one preferred by my grandkids. When we’re at the beach, we supply each child with a cheap net – the kind sold in the toy section. They prowl through the shallows searching for their armored prey, and when they see one, they try to capture it in the net. The best place to do this type of crabbing is in tidal pools, where the crabs find escaping more difficult.
Once the crabs have been boiled and the meat has been picked, place the crab meat in a thick freezer bag and remove all the air from the bag. This takes some work, but you’ll have free crab meat for all your favorite crab recipes! And because crab meat is so rich, a little goes a long way.