An Amateur Guide to Catching Crabs

Ever thought you might make a first rate crab fisherman? Have you always felt a need to act on this hunch, but been held back from fulfilling the fantasy by a fear of general ineptitude? Fear not. As someone who has fished for crabs once, under professional supervision, I can teach you everything.

So I love my family, mostly because they come out with impromptu ideas like “let’s go crab fishing.” Last week, in some rare UK sunshine, we climbed aboard a £10-an-hour crab fishing boat and set sail in calm waters. I was apprehensive, having never caught crabs. But turns out it involves standing fully clothed on a boat as you repeatedly drop a net in to the ocean.

All in all, my crab fishing experience was fantastic, and I learnt a thing or two. If in future you wish to wow with truly superior crab-fishing know-how, heed the following tips:

1. I cannot stress this enough: DO NOT NAME THE CRAB.

There’s a story behind this one. At the start of our crab fishing journey, we were told that we could only take home crabs of legal size (which basically means big crabs). Luckily, my sister can speak to sea animals and managed to wrangle this beast:


Clarice the spider crab

She (my sister, not the crab) is currently reading The Silence of the Lambs. Long story short, I made the enormous mistake of naming our crab Clarice. Over the course of the day, as we took Clarice to restaurants and cradled her bucket on long car journeys, I began to grow attached to her spikey appendages and the soft layer of excrement on her shell. I couldn’t watch as she was cooked to death in a boiling pot. And at first, I couldn’t open the fridge for fear of seeing her dead. To ensure Clarice didn’t perish in vain, I made sure I shared in her communal consumption, all the while feeling like Hannibal Lecter. Today I went to the beach and on the general seaside smells commented, “everything smells like Clarice.”

There was but one upside to this heartbreaking experience: the novelty of creepily opening the fridge with “Hello Clarice.”

2. Don’t drop your net on the crab

Surprisingly, this is really not how ‘drop nets’ work. The crab will run away shaking its fist.

3. A hermit crab is no crab (just like a khal who cannot ride is no khal)

Technically it is. But if you catch a hermit crab and nothing else, you may feel like this guy.

4. Don’t take your crab to a restaurant

The crab will not be interested in eating honey and ginger prawns. The oil from said food will, however, pollute the water and hasten the crab’s demise.

5. Don’t put your crab in freshwater

So my sister is a Marine Biologist or something, and she says that if you put a crab in freshwater it will blow up. You’ve been warned.

6. Don’t kiss the crab

Apart from the obvious pincer hazard, crab shells tend to have ucky stuff on them. When I asked what this was, ‘sea poo’ was in the list of things mentioned.

7. Don’t be the recipient of crab-associated punishments

I kept my cousins waiting on the way to a family gathering. They made me hold the dead crab for the duration of the 40 minute car journey.

8. Don’t tell people you have been crab fishing

A plethora of ill-conceived STD themed jokes will follow. And you’ll probably end up naming your blog post in this fabulous tradition.

Have a lovely weekend. Go forth, catch many crabs.

Peachy x


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