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The Lowcountry Blue Crab
The Low Country Blue Crab
Most blue crabs appear fearsome but they really aren't quite as bad as they appear. Though they are aggressive and will pinch you with a claw if given the chance. If your going to be going crabbing remember to approach the crab from the rear. Pick him or her up from the rear and the crab won't be able to get you. Blue Crabs are caught from Maryland to Texas with the most blue crabs caught in North Carolina and Louisiana. But there are plenty of blue crabs to be caught in South Carolina. There they are pursued by recreational and commercial fishermen.
Blue crab are caught by crab nets, crab pots and by tying a chicken neck to a cord and throwing it out into water where there are likely to be blue crabs. They let the chicken neck laying there until they feel a tug on the chicken neck and then they slowly pull the cord in and the hungry crab comes along. A hand net is used to capture the crab that's after the chicken neck and if it's over five inches across and not a female with eggs it's put into a ice chest or bucket and the crab fisherman goes back to catch another blue crab.
In South Carolina you can legally have two crab pots which are really big traps made out of wire mesh and you set these baited crab traps out with a float attached so you can find the crab trap and if you keep it baited and check it daily you can catch a lot of crabs. In South Carolina you can have up to two of these traps and the float attached to the trap should have your name, address, and phone number written on it with a permanent marker. You can use fish or chicken as bait for the crabs in these crab pots and if you pick a good spot to put your crab traps you should catch a lot of crabs.
You can also use a simple crab trap with chicken necks and weights in them and let these crab nets down into a spot where you know crabs live. About every 10 to 12 minutes you pull the crab trap up out of the water and hopefully dump a legal crab or two into your bucket. In South Carolina the crab must be over five inches across and it can not be a female with eggs. If it's a female with eggs the female crab will have an orange mass of eggs like a sponge under her shell and you should carefully return her to the water.
We go fishing for blue crabs quite often in the tidal creeks on James Island South Carolina inside of the Charleston County Parks. You can check out the Charleston County Parks by CLICKING HERE NOW. The Charleston County Parks are some of the best parks in the south and they have something for everyone. There are several places in the Charleston County Parks where you can go fishing for blue crabs and you can also go fishing for blue crabs on the pier at Folly Beach which is also part of the Charleston County Parks.
If you check out the Charleston County Parks I bet you'll be surprised at all of the wonderful things that the Charleston County Parks have to offer. On James Island they have one of the best water parks in the south and not a lot of people even know it's there. Be sure that you check out their web site carefully so that you'll know all they have to offer.
Jimmies Are Big Blue Crab Male Crabs
Big Male Blue Crabs are known in the South Carolina Low Country as Jimmies and they are the more aggressive of the blue crab species. Jimmies usually have bright blue legs and claws and they will be 6 to 7 inches across and it's not unusual to find some that are 8-10 inches across. Blue Crab males of this size should only be picked up from the rear and you should carefully avoid the claws because they can deliver a powerful pinch. But if you cook the big jimmies you'll find them packed with lots of delicious meat. Mature female crabs have bright orange on their claws and this easily distinguishes them from male crabs.
If your going to be fishing for blue crabs ask the people at the information office at the Charleston County Parks where the best places to fish for blue crab are located. They are always really helpful and they can tell you exactly where people are catching blue crab.
At the pier on Folly Beach is one place to fish for blue crabs and you can also catch some big fish off the Folly Beach Pier. Just ask in the tackle shop what the fishermen on the pier are catching and what they are using for bait. Most of the fishermen fishing on the pier are also usually very helpful with information about what's biting and what you need to use to catch them with.
You'll find that you can usually catch Sheepshead on the Folly Beach Pier and if you can catch one or two of these big fish you'll have a wonderful tasty fish that can be fried up into a delightfully delicious meal. If you click that link you'll find some great information about catching sheepshead. I will tell you that one of the best things to use for catching sheepshead is fiddler crabs. Sheepshead just can't resist fiddler crabs.
Homemade Crab Cakes
If you catch a lot of blue crabs boil them and then carefully pick all the meat off them. You'll need about four pounds of crab meat to make a run of delicious crab cakes. You can pick the meat off your crabs for two to three days and then make your crab cakes. Or if you need to run down to a local seafood shop and buy enough crab meat to add to yours so you can make your crab cakes.
For Your Crab Cakes You Will Need.
1. Four Pounds Crab Meat picked and looked carefully for pieces of shell.
2. One Large Egg.
3. One Teaspoon Lemon Zest.
4. Two Tablespoons Fresh Chopped Basil.
5. One Cup Crushed Saltine Crackers.
6. One Cup Mayonnaise.
Mix your ingredients together well and then form it into small round cakes. Cook your crab cakes in vegetable oil in a skillet and don't turn them over any more than necessary. Once your crab cakes are brown on both sides take them out of the skillet and drain them on a paper towel covered plate.
You can serve either tartar sauce or cocktail sauce with your crab cakes for a delicious meal I guarantee you that everyone will love. I serve homemade slaw and homemade french fries with my crab cakes and almost everyone loves it.
I always catch enough blue crab in two to three days to be able to make homemade crab cakes. I usually pick my crabs each day for their meat and save it in the refrigerator covered for a day or two while I catch more blue crabs to add to my crab meat.
Blue crabs are abundant in the coastal waters of South Carolina and once you catch your blue crabs out of the water don't put them into water. You can put your blue crabs into a 5 gallon pail with a lid as you catch your crabs or you can put them in a ice chest with ice to slow them down and keep them fresh until you get ready to cook them.
The ideal way of cooking blue crabs is in a large double boiler because it allows the blue crabs to be cooked through steaming and not boiling. Use crab boil and bay leaves when you are cooking your blue crabs. If you don't have a large double boiler you'll find several to choose from above plus you'll also find crab boil above.
In Folly Beach South Carolina there are two wonderful restaurants that I can highly recommend. One is the Starfish which is the restaurant located on the Folly Beach Pier and the other is the Crab Shack located on main street in Folly Beach. Both places have some of the best and freshest seafood that you will find in the area. The Crab Shack offers a Frog More Stew which contains blue crabs, shrimp, sausage, and corn on the cob and it is truly one of the best things you'll ever eat. So be sure to check out the Crab Shack while your in Folly Beach South Carolina.
If you have any questions about going crabbing in the low country waters of South Carolina you can go into almost any tackle shop and ask questions and they will usually be glad to help you and point you in the right direction to catch your own blue crab. Be sure that you ask about local regulations and be sure that you read and understand these regulations.
If you don't want to go to the trouble of catching your own blue crabs you can usually purchase a half bushel or full bushel of these delicious crabs in most coastal areas. Just watch for seafood shops and if they have live crabs up for sale they will often have a sign up letting you know they are selling blue crabs. You can also check to see if they have soft shell crabs for sale and if they do consider buying some. You dip the soft shell crabs in mixed up milk and egg and then you dip it into flour, salt, and pepper and deep fry the crabs. Deep fried soft shell crabs are some of the most delicious crabs you'll ever eat. I like the soft shell crabs deep fried and put onto a toasted bun with lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise and I have a wonderful sandwich.
The Blue Crab is a wonderful delicacy that everyone should try. There are so many ways to cook blue crabs and while I've covered several of them here there are many more. Just be sure to cook your blue crabs while they are still alive and if you steam them with crab boil and bay leafs you'll be rewarded with some of the most delicious crab meat in the world. They really are that good.
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