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  • Writer's pictureCarol Ann Ross

Crabs, Fun For The Whole Family

I like crabs. Don’t you? Why, they’re some of the tastiest shellfish to come out of the ocean. Don’t you agree? Cute little bottom feeders, aren’t they? And they love feasting on dead stuff too. So, they’re not only tasty, they are practical. Thank you Mr. Crab for helping to clean up the ocean for us.

So where am I going with all this? I’m just trying to segue into a story about crabs and how they seem to get the stinky end of the stick when it comes to the adorableness of some sea creatures. For instance, go into any gift shop in the area and you’ll find dolphin, starfish, shark, sand dollar plush toys everywhere. You’ll find pictures, statuettes, beach towels with their likenesses for sale and cute little stories about them too. But the poor little crab gets barely any appreciation, and the crab is actually the best of all, he feeds us. I don’t know anyone who eats dolphins, starfish, sharks and sand dollars. Well, some people eat sharks. Yuck!

Crabs just seem to get a bad rap. Why? Well, there’s the story about the time the kid’s foot got pinched by a crab when he walked out into the surf. (That’s happened to a lot of us) There’s the other story about the crab that pinched off some kid’s nose. (not too sure about that one) And there are quite a number of stories about other body parts that have been pinched. Crabs are not friendly or cuddly, I guess that is why, when it comes to plush toys, there are few to none.

Oh yes, I forgot about my crab story- the time I was going to get baptized at the north end of Topsail Island -there used to be a freshwater pond there were some of the local churches baptized members-no joke. Rumor was it was full of crabs. I was ten and terrified of being pinched by a crab, but was not. It all ended well.

So crabs can be aggressive, but then we are venturing into their territory, and with nefarious intentions-FOOD.

In the dark ages, we used to catch crabs the fun way. No traps for us. We’d go to the bait and tackle shop, get a few fish heads, get a long line, a long handled net and a deep bucket. We’d go out to the marsh or sound or any nearby briny body of water and tie one end of the line through the eyes or the gills of the fish head, throw it out a few feet into the water and wait. Sooner or later a blue crab would sidle its way to the fish head, remember they love dead stuff.

The trick to catching the crab is to slowly, very slowly, pull that fish head in. The crab will follow along if you don’t make any quick moves. Then when you have the fish and crab close enough, you inch your way into the water, with net in hand, and eyes on the prize. Bring the net, swoosh, into the water, and nab the crab. Gotta be quick!

Who says there’s nothing to do after you’ve spent the whole day on the beach getting sunburned? Crabbing is fun for the entire family and I for one ,think it teaches patience. The reward for this is a yummy seafood dinner.


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