Blue crabs, unlike their distant harmonious cousin smurfs, take on the personality of a pit-bull with a bad case of lock claw. Easily the type of crab you want to have on your side when the shit goes down. Even though they are about the size of a tea cup they’re still mean, lean fighting machines.
They are also the ” what’s hot now” in the crabbing world. It’s a big hit in the canning market, everyone is stocking their shelves with this tasty meat.
If you have ever eaten canned crab meat chances are it was Blue Crab. About 50 to 70 percent of the crab consumed in the U.S. comes from Blue crabs and canned meat is available throughout the world now. The most notable areas supplying these crabs are the Chesapeake’s Bay region in Maryland.
This type of crustacean are easy to catch. A little bit of bait, a trap and some rope and you’re ready for crabbing. Blue crabs like shallow- brackish water, mainly in muddy conditions around the mouth of rivers and estuaries. They reach the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada, through to the Gulf of Mexico. If you’re by the water in these parts, forget about a boat and find a pier to throw your trap in. It’s that simple.
Bait for these crabs are pretty basic. Pork, chicken, beef, fish, it’s so easy to catch these feisty critters any kind of fresh meat will work. However, Water-men (aka. commercial crabbers) have a crab seducing secret bait…cow lips. shhhh! You didn’t hear it from me.
Crabbing season in the Cheasapeak Bay area runs from April to December 15 as follows:
April 1 -July 14
*It is illegal to catch all female crabs
5″ Male Hard or 3 1/4″ Male Peeler or 3 1/2″ Male Soft Shell
July 15 – December 15
5 1/4″ Male Hard or 3 1/2″ Male Peeler or 3 1/2″ Male Soft Shell
Jimmies and Sooks
A Jimmy (male crab) is at present the only available crab for eating until these stocks are replenished. Jimmies can be recognized by the lack of bright red lip-stick on their blue claws and their under belly has and apron that looks like an upside down capital T. These crab are the better of the sexes because of the quantity of meat they contain.
A Sook (female crab) is illegal to catch and eat at present. They can be identified by a bell shaped apron on their underbellies. They also have bright red tips on their blue claws resembling nail polish.
When a Sook is carrying eggs, the apron is filled with a large mass of orange. This orange mass looks like a sponge hence the nickname Sponge crabs. Sponge crabs was once the trophy of crabs because their eggs make delicious She Crab Soup
- Blue crab fifth legs are shaped like paddle that make them excellent swimmers.
- Live up to four years.
- They aren’t really related to smurfs.
- A she crab (female) mates only once in her life and produces two million eggs.
- It takes 2 to 4 crabs to make a one portion meal.
- Can measure up to 9″ across the body.
- Named the Maryland state crustacean.