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Little Gasparilla Island Living and Crabbing

Posted 12-02-2009 at 08:20 PM by SoFLGal
Updated 02-12-2016 at 08:25 PM by SoFLGal

When I was a kid we used to go out to the beach at night to catch crabs(that sounds funny ). We'd tie a chicken neck on a string and drag it along the sand. One person would hold the flashlight and one would hold the bucket and long handled net. Once the crab would get close enough we would scoop them up. We caught all kinds, blue, stone and rooster. I probably wouldn't recommend this exact method due to the increased risk of sharks at dusk or night.

You might want to find a seawall or pier and you could try the same thing just off the seawall.

To me it's a bit more exciting catching them in a net instead of a trap. I do remember when we used the traps you would come up with some pretty cool things i.e. octopus, crabs, weird fish, etc

Another idea would be to get a long net and find some grass flats and scoop the flats. You can usually come up with some pretty neat stuff like that as well. Seahorse, shrimp, cool fish, etc. We had an aquarium we'd keep all of our finds in.

I spent some of my younger years living out on Little Gasparilla Island off of Englewood. There were no cars, no t.v., no kids, etc. and you could only get to the island by boat. I had to do something with my time

You'll probably mostly catch blue crabs. If you catch any stone crabs you can only take one claw and you must throw the rest of the crab back (they will regrow the claw). The limit for stones is one gallon per person. You might catch a few rooster crabs as well.

Walmart and a few fishing stores sell the traps. Most are made out of a mesh wire material and have a string with a buoy attached so you can pull them up out of the water.

The best time of day to crab would be at night. It think that they are mostly nocturnal. We usually try to get the males as opposed to the females. On the bottom of the female there is a half moon pattern, the males have like a small skinny triangle pattern on the bottom.

Once you catch them you can put them in a big pot with an inch or so of water in the pot. Add a tablespoon or so of vinegar to help with getting the shell of easier. Some people like to add Old Bay Seasoning to the water. Make sure you have some tongs to keep the lid on. Mom's chased them across the floor before. When they turn red they're done, probably 10-15 minutes. Pull off the legs and the claws and open them from the bottom side. It will have like a triangular piece on the bottom. Pull on it like a pop top can and then you can remove the whole shell. Rinse out the greenish white guts and then the white meat is what you eat. Use a nut pick to get the meat out. This is for blue crabs. For stone's just use a nut cracker to break the claws.
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