Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Crabbing 101: Part II

Today's lesson in crabbing--as told by Chesapeake Bay Woman, who knows next to nothing about crabbing other than she loves to observe and take pictures of it--will review the very important process of pulling the pots into the boat and ushering the reluctant crabs out of the pot into their new home, otherwise known as a basket.

The Essential Automatic Crab Pot Puller Upper

As I mentioned in the previous post, they used to pull the crab pots in by hand, which had to have been back breaking work.  Although it's still back breaking work, at least there's the handy dandy Automatic Crab Pot Puller Upper to the rescue, making the chore of pulling up pots so much easier.

The beauty of a Chesapeake Bay Woman blog post about crabbing is only here will you see technical terms such as Automatic Crab Pot Puller Upper flaunted with utter and complete confidence. You won't find that term used anywhere else. By anyone else. By golly. We're special here in CBW-land. We're not quite the "riding the short bus" special, but we're hovering in that general vicinity.

(Not that there's anything wrong with people who ride the short bus.)

Once the Crab Pot Puller Upper has done its duty, Johnny fiddles with the pot, and then begins the very important, sometimes arduous, process of evicting the crabs from their previous abode.

And this process of evicting crabs from their crab pot home
is called shaking.

Don't go looking in any books for the term.

Or googling the technique.

Just trust me on this.

Shake, shake, shake.

Shake, shake, shake.

That of course reminds me of this song.  A little known fact: KC and the Sunshine Band played at my company's Christmas party in downtown DC back in the 1990s. It was a very large company, there were thousands of people there, and we were only one division of the global firm (meaning they had the dollars to spare). Anyway, they didn't tell us in advance who was providing the entertainment. When they made the announcement at the party, I let out a scream and sprinted to the stage, hurdling over tables and discarding my plate of jumbo shrimp like a Frisbee in the process.  

See? If you were reading about crabbing in some book, or anywhere else, you'd never hear about KC and the Sunshine Band. 

Only here.

But we aren't talking about songs.

Or even jumbo shrimp.

We're talking about crabs and their journey from an underwater home
to your newspaper-lined picnic table
set with multiple large tins

Here's the cute little wooden lid I referenced in the previous post.

After the crabs are shaken loose from the pots, a sorting process occurs; however, since CBW was more focused on other things, such as a basket lid which she somehow construed as "cute," and shake-shake-shake songs going through her head, she cannot comment on that sorting process.

Not at this time, anyway.

Once a basket is filled to the level of overflowing it then receives the cute lid. The basket is then tossed to the side where it waits patiently to be transferred to the dock.

This concludes today's lesson in 1970s music crabbing.

More photos from this journey will go up later in the week.

Thank you for your patience attention. Have a great day.


deborah said...

Wonderful photos with such concise and informative captions and explanations! Those baskets are cute:)
Have a wonderful day!

Anonymous said...

It's all your fault if I start singing "Shake It Up Baby" while I'm running errands today. Which reminds me, must go to grocery store to buy more Old Bay seasoning.

By the way, KC of KC and the Sunshine Band went to my high school. Small world, huh? But you know the crabbing guy and he's cuter. --Betsy

Daryl Edelstein said...

i am really craving crab now .. I agree with Betsy .. Johnny is one good looking man .. save 'cute' for those clever covers ..

Deltaville Jamie said...

Thank you CBW, I am now singing "do a little dance, make a little love, get down tonight" over and over in my head. Can't wait for some crabs this summer.

Anonymous said...

By the way, if you ever want ideas for future blogs, I'd love to see more like this. It's fascinating to read about the people who live in an area. Shopkeepers, artists, computer repair guys, whatever--I'll bet there are lots of people in Mathews who wouldn't mind being in your blog and have interesting stories.

Sooska said...

Our old neighbor in the Harcum area years ago was a Crabber, oysterman... In other words, a waterman on the Piankatank. He had a deadrise and went out every day before sunrise. The motor had a peculiar put-put sound as he very slowly circled while he fished his f loat traps out in the middle of river, or those he had at the shoreline. He had a mutt who swam around his boat as he fished the traps. When the dog got too tired he'd swim into the beach and cut actually shore for soft crabs. He was incredible. He'd move so slowly, stop and point with his nose, barely breathing, then pounce and bring up a soft crab and chow it down. I used to love hearing Mr. S and his boat every morning. I loved that mutt, too.

Meg McCormick said...

Aw man, you had KC & the Sunshine Band at your office party? We always just had some local DJ or other. Or maybe it was those guys who banged the paint buckets by the Metro station. I can't quite remember.

Also? Now you are making me want to belly up to a table full of #1 Males (crabs, silly) with a pile of Old Bay and a little vinegar on the side.

windsmurf said...

Great picture and stpory.

I am definately wanting some of those crabs, it has been too long since the last time.

Meg McCormick, try putting the Old Bay in the vinegar and dipping the crab meat in there, yummy.

Dghawk said...

As soon as I saw, "shake, shake shake" this morning, that song went through my mind. Don't remember much of the rest of it though.

And now we know the rest of the story! Thanks!

Mental P Mama said...

Hollendaise or bearnaise? Such decisions...I would want both.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

d-I think the baskets are cute too. (Thank you.)

Betsy & Daryl - I have passed along the praise to Johnny who didn't have a chance to read today but no doubt will be very pleased to read your kind words.

DJ-You are most welcome.

Anonymous-Agreed. Time is my problem, but I absolutely agree that's what needs to happen. Will try my best in whatever spare time I can make.

Sooska-What a great story. Thank you! (I love the Harcum area.)

Meg - This was back in the Dot Com Era, however outside of that the firm always had the $$. Chandeliers from the ceilings, catered staff meetings, free Starbucks in the break rooms. We once had a recognition event at the National Building Museum, and as part of the committee I attended all the tastings (aka sit down dinners) sampling the food of the various caterers bidding on the event. Ah, the good ole days. Come on down, the crabs await...

WindS-Great idea with the Old Bay.

DGH-If you want to hear the rest, let me know, I have various versions of it on multiple CDs. We were a KC and the Sunshine Band-loving family here back in the day.

MPM-You can have both. No need to choose.

Anonymous said...

Meg brings up a reminder: I always liked a little vinegar on the side with my # 1 Males--no, I wasn't referring to crabs--but I won't turn those down either.