The Blue Claw Crab is a dominant feature of the Southern marshes
of Louisiana. In season during the summer months the blue claw crab
is as staple a seafood as are fish, crawfish and oysters in
In Louisiana as in other places we have the salt water and fresh
water blue claws.
Blue claw crab production runs on an average of 50 million pounds
and about 100,000 pounds of soft shells.
Now let's get to the facts you can use.
Catching the blue claw crab:
Commercially the crab is caught in wire traps. Recreationally you
can catch them with nets and even with string and some chicken necks
and a net. Crabs are most plentiful around water control dams.
Keeping crabs alive:
Why do you want to keep crabs alive? After they die
the meat turns to mush; it's that simple.
Crabs do not live upside down; therefore put them in
the container as they swim... right side up.
First thing you DON'T do is pack them in ice (hard
packed). The only thing this does is keeps them from stinking,
that's it. Crabs are not like fish
and shrimp, they MUST be alive to be good.
Here's how you do it... crab fishermen do the same
thing, it's simple. You must prepare by keeping burlap sacks or
material, or an old bath towel in the boat... really hard to do huh?.
100% humidity and cool
temperatures will keep crabs alive for a few days; it's a proven
fact. I used to fish crabs with my dad; I'm not making this up. If
you drop the temperature to around 50º F the crabs' metabolism
slows. You extend their life without food but this only lasts for a
few days; then they start to die.
Let's say your catching crabs (if the fish aren't
biting) and you're keeping them in an ice chest. Here are the
cardinal rules. First off while your catching them open the plug to
let any water out (you'll drown them with low oxygen water). Wet
them occasionally especially if it's hot and let the water out of
the ice chest (you're keeping them cool and wet). Now for transport
from camp to home.
Prop the ice chest so water will drain. Wet your
burlap or towel and cover the crabs with it. Sprinkle a a few double
two of ice on top just to drop the temperature a bit.. As the ice
melts it adds moisture. If it's going to be a long trip consider wetting and
re-icing...be sure to drain. If you want to keep them good it takes
a little attention.
When treated right you'll save 95% of the crabs you
bring home and I think that's your objective...right?
Here's more info...
Soft Shell Crabs