Of course the day we decided to go (we arrived on a Thursday and left the following Monday, and the weather Thursday-Saturday was just beautiful) was cloudy and ended up raining, but that did not deter us...well, it wasn't raining when we started out so we really didn't have a choice.
Our weekend was winding down and we wanted to do something different and fun..hubby has been nursing a tweaked joint in his leg so going on a hike or long walk wasn't very practical. On Saturday morning we had driven past two marinas and thought it might be fun to rent canoes or a boat. Saturday evening we did some research and decided that it might be fun to try crabbing. For $75 you get a boat for 2 hours and 3 crab rings with bait. We checked out two different Marinas before settling on the second one we visited..Kelly's Brighton Marina. The owners were really nice, helpful and gave us a great deal.
We headed out in our little rented aluminum boat with 5 crab rings, extra bait and the passion to get a bucket load of crab. The owner took us out for a 10 minute tour to show us what to do, then we were on our own. Once we got the swing of how it worked we were pretty busy. We were dead set that we were NOT coming back with only a few. It helped that we went out as the tide was coming in...bringing with it a fresh load of crab. The key was to drop your rings every 75+ feet (I think we spread ours out a lot more than that), then when you dropped your last one, you were ready to go back and check the first one and you repeat that cycle till your time is up. I think I got over my slight aversion to deep water and small boats somewhat quickly.
Pulling up the pots was definitely a workout and we got pretty wet because the rope would splash water on us as we pulled. We weren't planning on doing this so we were not equipped with proper clothing, but it was fine (though it has taken me awhile to get the fish smell out of our clothes). When the pot was getting close to the surface, the weight of the crabs made pulling it in even harder and you had to move fast so the crabs wouldn't escape (as soon as they feel the pot move they try and escape). As it broke the surface the key was to grab the edge of the ring and rest it on the edge of the boat, then Kat and I would pick out the males for Nan to measure and throw the females back in the water, or leave them in the pot and drop it back in or more it to another spot.
I don't think we stayed out there the entire 2 hours because it began to rain harder then we cared for and the water was getting pretty choppy and it was just plain hard to see. Plus, Nan got pinched on the finger by a crab (apparently it hurts pretty bad...we had gloves on, she didn't) and that just ruined it all for her and she was ready to go in. The competitiveness in hubby and Kat made them want to stay out longer but we decided that we should probably call it a day. We ended up with about 18 crabs all together that were keepers.
We returned to dock where they checked to make sure they were legal. The girls and I went and stood by the fire they had going to try and warm up a bit, then we went and changed. They cook them for you while you wait which was about 20 minutes so I drove the girls home (5 minutes away) so they could get showered. I returned to get hubby and the gal who cooked the crabs showed us how to clean them and sent us on our way. She even talked me in to trying the "crab butter" after we had pulled the back off the crabs...it was actually pretty good, though seemed kind of gross to me.
When we returned to the beach house we set to the task of taking all the meat from the crab and putting it in ziploc bags to take home...of course we ate some that night.
Last night we invited hubby's parents up to enjoy some crab. I hunted around online for a recipe that I could make using what I had in the house. I found a recipe for a hot crab dip and opted for that, serving it with Triscuit Thin Crisps. It was a hit. I was a bit nervous because I had never made a crab dip before, but I was not disappointed.
I found it here at Epicurious.com and made just a few changes to it.
What you'll need:
6 oz. cream cheese softened
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/4-1/2 c. chopped red pepper
8 oz. fresh crab (or canned), use a fork to shred it
flat leaf parsley (to your liking)
1/2 c. grated fresh parmesan cheese
3 tbs. fresh chopped chives
1/2 tsp. tobasco sauce
1 1/2 tbs. fresh lemon juice
1/4 c. panko bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
Preheat oven to 425. In a mixing bowl combine cream cheese and mayo with lemon juice until mixed and smooth. Gently stir in red pepper, parsley, chives, cheese, tobasco sauce and crab. Place in a 1 qt. casserole dish. Combine bread crumbs with lemon zest and paprika and bake for 12 minutes or until dip is bubbly and bread crumbs are browned.
The recipe didn't call for the cheese, but well, I love cheese and hot melted cheese in a crab dip just sounded amazing!!!
We will definitely be going crabbing again. It was well worth it. We easily earned our money back. We figured we caught about $200 worth of crab and with our shellfish punch cards and an extra ring plus a generous tip, we paid about $123 total.
With Joy UNquenchable,