Crabs!

I LOVE fresh Dungeness crab! And am in the perfect spot to eat them until I'm sick!

Crabbing season started 3-4 weeks ago, so broke down and bought our licenses, crab pots, floats etc. First time out we got 9 good sized one. Rick, a neighbor across the road, brought bait - enormous clams he dug and some old turkey that was freezer burned and not for human consumption. We zipped out to his favorite spot and threw out the traps in abour 60' of water.

There is a limit of 5 per person and the crabs must be male, and measure 6" across the carapace. And you can only set pots Thursday through Monday. We pulled 9 that day, throwing back several rock crabs in favor of the Dungies!

I don't have a huge pot so had to cook my 5 in batches. (Note to self: get a huge stock pot.) Oh they were sooo good. They don't need any butter or anything when they are that fresh. They were so big, I couldn't eat a whole one, so made room in the freezer for the stash.

Yesterday evening, we caught a break in the rain and headed out. I hadn't been over to Rick's to dig clams for bait, so decided to try our luck with canned cat food. We heard from the other neighbor, Joe, that there had been a party the previous day at the beach near where we drop the traps, and the party goers had raided the pots and even stolen one of his. But he thought they had probably gone home. But as we roared across the bay, I could see masses - well at least 10 - cars at the park so we decided to drop the traps in a different area away from them. We picked a spot, dropped the traps, made a note of where they were, and headed home, hoping for the best. And making it home before it started to rain again.

This morning dawned beautiful and clear. What a surprise - and what a pleasure. It was still and perfect as we sped out to see what we caught. The floats were easy to spot and we eased up on the first one, and I leaned over to grab the line and started hauling away, coiling the line as I brought it on board. It felt very light, and sure enough, all we had was an enormous star fish, wrapped around the can of cat food. He didn't want to let go, but I finally managed to release him back into the depths. We thought maybe crab don't like cat food.

Next trap was a different story! I could tell, as soon as I had pulled in the slack, that it was heavy. And there they were - three monster, male crabs. I opened the trap door and grabbed the first one by the back leg and dropped him into the bucket. Same with the second and third. Then number three managed to haul himself out and landed on the deck. But I managed to grab him again and toss him back into the bucket and loaded the trap on top. Good thing I had thick leather gloves on, too! There claws are nasty!

Back at the dock, I cleaned them. You grab the back leg - carefully - then smack them down hard on the dock, cracking the shell and killing them. Then you pull off the shell, squirt out the innards with a fresh water hose jet, then pop in a pot of boiling water with some seasoning for about five minutes.

I went ahead and cracked and picked out all the meat, a long, tedious project. Now the crab meat is freezing, packed in a muffin pan for 12 individual servings that I will vacuum bag later today.