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Anyone Blue Crab in the St Johns?

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  • creekgeekcreekgeek Posts: 1,015 Officer
    My girls are big time crabbers. We have three traps and generally set ours at creek mouths or deep corners of creeks off the intercoastal and I also prefer the saltier water for the crabs. We set our traps and then go fish but if we get serious about crabs, the girls love putting out chunked fish baits on the rods and slowly reeling in the crabs once they start to move off with the baits. Yes, picking them is a bit of work but the sideways photo above makes me want to go get some...right now....or sooner...dang it!
  • Cast_N_BlastCast_N_Blast JaxPosts: 1,437 Officer
    Well this thread has fully made me want to eat the crabs I catch instead of using them for bait lol anyone want to give me the run down on preparation from trap to table? I have a couple big guys in my trap as we speak. I've had blue crab at restaurants but never cooked them myself.
  • WeberWeber Posts: 110 Deckhand
    Cast&Blast wrote: »
    Well this thread has fully made me want to eat the crabs I catch instead of using them for bait lol anyone want to give me the run down on preparation from trap to table? I have a couple big guys in my trap as we speak. I've had blue crab at restaurants but never cooked them myself.

    Down here it seems like most places boil them, md style we steam them.

    I use a beer keg as a steamer, with a small rack in the bottom that keeps the crabs out of the boiling water.

    I steam them in beer, a bit of water, and a splash of apple cider vinegar. Season with JO #2 periodically while putting layers of crabs in the pot. We also throw some white sweet corn on top and some more seasoning, steam for 20-30mins.

    Eat and enjoy!
  • bswivbswiv Posts: 7,822 Admiral
    One of the benefits of steaming over boiling is that you don't have the issue of undersalting, something that is a consistent mistake made in cooking not just crabs but also shrimp.

    With the moist heat of steam, and the spice laying on the crabs there is no opportunity for unsalted water to come into direct contact with the meat thereby sapping flavor and causing texture changes. You want to ruin a shrimp or a crab go ahead and boil it in pure fresh water. Just as setting that animal into fresh water will kill it so to will fresh water kill it's flavor.

    Got to remember that if you boil down a gallon of seawater there will be about 4 1/2 ounces of salt remaining.......AND that is what the creature was living in. In New England, a place where they know how to cook seafood......especially lobster..........one of the methods is to boil in seawater. Their taste-buds tell them why.

    This being so if you decide to forgo the steaming and simply boil, use enough salt!

    You can also clean the crabs first, just pull the backs and rip the guts. Makes the cooking space needed smaller and reduces mess, but does alter taste a small amount. Same as with shrimp, crawfish, lobsters and some other things......leaving the guts in helps the flavor, though makes things a bit more messy.

    Of course we could go "Bubba" here with the crab recipes, as in Forest Gump. Suffice to say they are worth the effort!!!
  • hoodoodrumhoodoodrum Posts: 9 Greenhorn
    Healthy supply of blue crabs in the river brings the reds! Not bad for eating.
  • LouDLouD Posts: 168 Deckhand
    Can get stone crabs too
  • mplspugmplspug Palmetto FloridaPosts: 12,271 AG
    Do people leave traps overnight​? Do people have traps get stolen? I am totally naive on the subject.

    Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk

    Captain Todd Approves

  • bswivbswiv Posts: 7,822 Admiral
    mplspug wrote: »
    Do people leave traps overnight​? Do people have traps get stolen? I am totally naive on the subject.

    Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk

    Yes & Yes........

    Bait should be changed if left for more than 1 night as catch will fall off as it gets old. Also worth knowing is that if the bait gets consumed completely the crabs will start looking for a way out........and some WILL find it.

    Trap theft is most often by recreational fisherman who figure a commercial guy will not miss a trap or two. Not saying that the commercial guys don't do dirt to each other, or that a commercial guy finding a odd trap in his line might not work it but rather that more often than not it is a guy either robbing traps for the crabs while he fishes or one who takes a couple of traps to tie off to a dock.

    And now.......the yelling will begin.
  • Ladder ManLadder Man Posts: 1,198 Officer
    Theft is definitely a problemo. My guess would also be rec's doing it.
  • creekgeekcreekgeek Posts: 1,015 Officer
    I have not left mine overnight for that reason. I'm not far from palm valley so it would not be hard to do an overnight soak but I'm not that trusting. I typically set mine soon after leaving the ramp, go fish or crab with the rods and pick up the traps on the way home. Just make sure you follow all the rules for marking your traps and floats and such. I'm usually only looking for 12 -20 for a meal or two so the three traps and some caught on the rods are all I need. I typically set aside some smaller ones for bait and eat the large ones. I release all the females. I keep them alive, either in air in a bucket with a towel over it or in the cooler on ice. If you put them in water in a bucket or livewell without replacing the water they will suffocate relatively quickly and they go bad fast like most shellfish. I put mine live in the pot whether steaming or boiling...with beer and or vinegar and water and lots of old bay. Some folks on youtube like to suggest more humane forms of ending their lives before putting them in the pot but I grew watching my mom fight large Chesapeake Blues into the steamer...holding the lid down trying to get them to release the tongs and each other and cram more in without losing the ones already in there....just carrying on the family tradition...
  • madcrabber1317madcrabber1317 Maryland Posts: 1 Greenhorn
    I am new to this site and live in Maryland on the Sassafras river which is a northeastern tributary to the Chesapeake Bay. My parents had a house in Port Charlotte in the 90's and early 2000s. I went fishing with a guide in Charlotte Harbor in 1995 and saw a bunch of bouys and asked him what they were for because they looked what I see up here but way less of them. He told me they were Blue Crab pots (traps) so I asked about running trotlines and he said that he never saw anyone using them. My father now has a house in Crystal River and I was planning on maybe trying Blue Crabbing there with just some string, a net and some chicken necks and/or try just wading with a net along underwater grass bed edges. I read all of the posts in this thread which I stumbled on during a Google search and was pleasantly surprised by how courteous and helpful everyone seems to be. I've left a few other fishing and crabbing sites due to the opposite going on constantly. Has anyone crabbed in the Crystal River area? I haven't been down to his new house and have no idea what to expect but he does tell me that he goes to a local restaurant there that serves steamed crabs with JO seasoning which for crabs is the best imho anyway. Anyway, thank you in advance for any responses.
  • WILLIEGATORWILLIEGATOR Posts: 68 Deckhand
    I grill my blue crabs all the time.  I put them on ice (check to make sure each if still alive just before) in a cooler for 30 minutes to put them to sleep (does not kill then but makes cleaning them easy).  Them them out one at a time, pop the shell and bottom flap off and hose them off, cleaning all the yellow stuff and deadman out.  Then put tin foil on my grill on medium.  Place the crabs meat side up and brush with melted, butter, old bay and smoked paprika while cooking.  when that turn nice and red they are done. (about 30 minutes).
  • StankBaitStankBait Posts: 401 Deckhand
    What are you using to put name on recreational traps????
    "Harvester name and address must be permanently affixed to the trap and legible" from FL regs FFWC
    No guidance from them.
    Got new traps and had for six months but haven't seen a cheap way to do this that's permanent.
  • bswivbswiv Posts: 7,822 Admiral
    StankBait said:
    What are you using to put name on recreational traps????
    "Harvester name and address must be permanently affixed to the trap and legible" from FL regs FFWC
    No guidance from them.
    Got new traps and had for six months but haven't seen a cheap way to do this that's permanent.
    Tie wrap is acceptable.........thick one, indelible ink. Could burn it into the wrap but that's a lot of trouble.
  • Reel TealReel Teal Posts: 3,947 Captain
    edited April 2019 #46
    StankBait said:
    What are you using to put name on recreational traps????
    "Harvester name and address must be permanently affixed to the trap and legible" from FL regs FFWC
    No guidance from them.
    Got new traps and had for six months but haven't seen a cheap way to do this that's permanent.
    I use a permanent marker. EZ PZ

    https://m.flemingtraps.com/zinc-trap-tags.html?ref=lexity&_vs=google&_vm=productsearch&gclid=CjwKCAjwkcblBRB_EiwAFmfyy1Hz2EdgTxUtngelYh0-m1378gN40mmjHScY7-UfGyiSkHk__gKL3RoCl5UQAvD_BwE
  • StankBaitStankBait Posts: 401 Deckhand
    edited April 2019 #47
    Thanks.
    Think that put me on the right path.
    Believe it or not I never thought about Goggling crab trap tag. Just thought it was one of life's mysteries. Duh! I feel like an idiot.

    update
    Ordered these

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