Thursday, July 26, 2012

Gone Crabbin'

A few weeks ago, some friends and I were invited out to a lake house to spend the weekend boating, tanning, and doing things usually done on and around a pier and water. The last morning we were there, we were given a lesson in how to throw a cast net into the water to catch bait. We all took a go at it. The entire act of untangling a net and then dividing it in half while holding part of it your teeth in order to capture some unsuspecting marine life made me feel like we should have been surrounded by the blue waters of Greece. I dreamily looked around for a handsome Greek man with dark hair and beautiful teeth to ride by in his boat, but was greeted instead by the neighbors clad in Americana swimwear, pulling the little ones on a float designed to look like a hot dog. That'll do.
Girls akimbo during netting lesson. We seem a little skeptical.

Anyway- my friend's boyfriend, Scott, became quite a pro at casting the net and within a few attempts caught a decent size mullet and drum. We were amazed.

Scott becoming the pro.

In a final attempt at a fisherman's life we decided to put the fish in two crab traps that were tied to the pier. We were about to head home, but we figured we could see if any crabs would "take the bait." We loaded up the car and, like little children on Christmas, eagerly went to check the traps. It had been about 45 minutes.

At this point I should tell you about the beauty of setting crab traps. You don't have to be in the water. And, as you pull them in you get to fantasize about the crabby bounty that you are about to reveal. It is amazing.

So we pull in the traps to find....... THREE CRABS!!! In 45 minutes. Holy moly! The promsied land! I was like a person with an addictive personality hitting a number at roulette: I was hooked (pun intended?).

I was going to my cousin's house on the beach a few weeks later and I immediately got in touch with him to see if there were any crab traps at his house. He said there was one and that we could use it when we got there. Oh boy. I was excited.

I made plans with my dad to set the trap the first night we were at the beach. He bought some turkey necks to use as bait (why use nets when you can use grocery stores?) and the first thing we did was put a neck in the trap and submerged it into Santa Rosa Sound.

I was really excited. I kept promising my mom we would be replacing a meal with a crab boil. I was certain of it.

Lesson Number One: Don't make promises you don't have any control over.

After the trap had been out there for a while, I went to check it. It contained.... a hermit crab. That would have been impressive if I was 7 years old and still amazed with the ideas of shells as homes, but I had graduated to the real world of sea creatures. I wanted real crabs. What the hell?

I freed the stupid hermit crab and put the trap back in the water.

The next morning I checked the trap to find..... A HUGE FREAKING CRAB. Seriously, a big crab. Like the kind of crab whose theme song was "Bad mammer jammer."

I was stoked. Yeah buddy. Just call your little crab friends- let them know about the Thanksgiving dinner you are enjoying.

The next afternoon, my uncle pulled the trap out to check it and.... the bottom fell off. And my huge crustacean was set free.

Lesson Number Two: If you are going to set a crab trap, make sure it works and all of the parts are attached.

We immediately fixed the trap, put a new turkey neck in it and threw it back into the water.

I was pretty bummed. I hadn't even gotten a picture with my catch and it had already got away.

The next day, I reluctantly checked the trap again. This was just not going as planned. While the anticipation was still there when I pulled the rope in, I knew deep down inside that it would not be full of crabs.

I pulled the trap in and.... THE BIG CRAB WAS BACK. He wanted more turkey!!! And- on top of it, there was a crab claw attached to the outside of the trap. I wasn't sure how what exactly went down to get to that point- but I was certain there was more than one crab out there.

I put the trap back in the water and let it sit over night. The next day was our final night at the beach, so it was now or never. I really wanted to deliver on my crab boil promise. I pulled in the trap to find the big crab and another stupid (but big) hermit crab. ARRRGHHHHHHHHHH

Whatever. Crabbing is dumb, anyway.

The morning we left, I set the crab free. Rather- my Dad set the crab free and I got out of pinching distance after making a scene like this woman. My Dad dumped the crab so we could get a picture of it. And, boy, was that crab PISSED OFF.

Lesson Number Three: Tryptophan has no effect on crabs. 

He was not messing around. He was out for blood. Or the ocean. Whichever he got to first.

My Dad tried to flip him back into the sound with a pen. Fail.

The crab yanked the pen from my dad.

I lost it. Between squeals and laughter, I warned my Dad that this crab meant business. He just straight up took that pen. Didn't even ask or anything.

We got him to pose for one more picture before my Aunt got a shovel and flung him back into the water.

I seriously thought that the crab might take the shovel from her, too. If that had happened, we would have really been in trouble.

As we made our way back upstairs, I looked at my Dad- "Man- that crab was mean!" Through his infinite wisdom, he responded "Well, they don't call them crabs for nothing."

Lesson Number Four: They don't call them crabs for nothing.

1 comment: