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Blue Claw Crab Catch, Clean and Cook

By Kastking | 22 January 2018 | 0 Comments

Whether you catch a blue claw crab by trap or hand line they offer fantastic table fare. Here’s how…



Who enjoys an investment of a couple dollars and churning out a bushel of blue claw crabs? Not only is crabbing a great way to make the kids drop their phones, but it is also a great way to enjoy the outdoors and a fine dinner at day’s end. It’s no lie that anyone can catch these tasty blue claws. Although, sometimes these finesse creatures can elude crabbers and turn an adventurous event into a monotonous routine of checking empty traps. Here is some advice to ensure a successful trip and tips to enhance a successful outing.


blue, claw, crab, trap, www.eposeidon.com

Trapping is a popular way to catch blue claw crabs, but a chicken leg tied to a string will often work just as well.


The range of the blue claw is an important but often an overlooked characteristic of the blue claw crab. Ranging from the Gulf of Mexico to Cape Cod, the blue claw crab (Callinectes sapidus, literally “beautiful savory swimmer”) has the ability to survive in a variety of environments. This feature has made the blue claw impervious to changes in their “hometown” environments.  For example, I have caught fluke and blue claws in the clean and moderate temperature waters of Shinnecock Bay. A few weeks later when the water warmed up and the squid left, I caught nothing but blue claws.  Even though blue claws can be found in any area of salt water, some structures should be targeted within that area to ensure optimal opportunities to catch these crabs.  Besides the popular knowledge of docks and marshes, I have found that crabs love to congregate in specific areas hidden from the average crabber.


In the south, the turns of a bayou or salt river are bound to hold crab. But where in these bends should you hunt crab? Look for ripples in the turn as these ripples will signal where the tide comes and digs into the bottom.  This gully formed by the current not only funnels food to the crabs but also provides the crabs a break from the sweeping current. Another area to check out is a back bay that has been recently flooded with bait such as menhaden or shad. Aided with their little swimmers, blue claws are not afraid to move around into back bays to pick up scrapes. I found this to be true as I snagged menhaden and let the bait sink to the bottom for striped bass. Constantly, I find large Jimmies  (male hard blue claw crabs) viciously  gnawing at my bait. This is even more impressive since this happens on Long Island’s  North Shore where blue claws seem to elude the lines of chicken bait at the docks.   In addition to finding aggressive blue claws, I tend to skip the month of August since the crabs seem to be focused more on mating than feeding.


blue,claw, crab, blue claw, www.eposeidon.com

Male hard crabs are often called Jimmies. Mature female blue claws are usually called sooks. Pay attention to size restrction laws in your area.



When I go crabbing, I love to work traps in conjunction with hand lines. I love the anticipation from hauling in crab traps in addition to the adventure of capturing blue claws on the hand line. Here are a couple of tricks help yield a larger catch when using traps and handlines to catch crabs. Before every crabbing trip, I castnet loads of menhaden in the local harbor.  Cutting the menhaden and then shoving an onion bag full of the bait allows an increase in surface area to unleash the scent of natural bait. The small mesh of the onion bag however ensures that the scent doesn’t leach out too quickly. When thrown properly into a moving body of water, these traps are bound to catch crabs. However, the placements of these traps are extremely important. I have often watched anglers  chucking their crab traps off the pier. These traps should be placed with the openings facing into the current, otherwise the crabs pile up on a side of the trap. With these traps set up, it’s time for a little hand line fun. As one starts to take in the handline, the crab starts to tug back. If I were to use fish bait, rather than a piece of meat, it would crumble  and I would lose the crab along with the bait.  The tough meat and skin of the chicken allows the crab something firm to grab onto until it reaches the net. Therefore, the infuriating question of chicken or fish for bait is no longer relevant. Each bait has its own niche in the crab catching game.


The storing and cleaning of blue claws is an easy but fragile state. With the right knowledge, one could easily prepare healthy blue claw crabs for the dinner table. However, careless mistakes can leave you with a heap of dead crabs.  All you need to store crabs is a simple storage device such as a cooler or bucket. If you plan on keeping crabs for an extended amount of time, then sliding a frozen water bottle into the container is a great option. Just remember never to dump ice cubes into the container as the fresh water will start to deteriorate the crabs First timers often ignore the number one rule of keeping crabs fresh and healthy. Leaving crabs in a bucket of water is a ticket to a bucket of dead crabs as the crabs suffocate after completing the oxygen in the stagnant water.  To keep blue crabs from drying up, all you need is a wet rag covering crabs. Many anglers love the adventure of crabbing but dread the cleaning process afterwards.


blue, claw crab, blue crab, trap

Blue claw crab makes delicious table fare, but watch out for those pincers!


I love steaming blue claw crabs because this method preserves the delicate meat and its savory flavor. Sometimes people are left frustrated with  the bland flavor and struggle with separating the meat. Traditional old bay is great, but try flavoring the boil even more by adding crushed garlic, onions, bay leaves, fennel, lime juice and cayenne.  To help enhance the flavor even more, I like to pop off the top and clean the crabs before I cook them. This way, the flavors easily penetrate into the meat. But how would you clean a blue claw with its claws ready to pinch your fingers? The trick is that you clean them when they aren’t alive with energy.  Before cleaning your blue claws, fill an adequate container with salt water and ice. Dump your catch into this slurry and wait 5 minutes for the magic to work. This freezing cold mixture humanely paralyzes the crabs and allows for easy cleaning.  Now you can fearlessly handle blue claw crabs without worrying about their nasty pinching claws. A cool side effect is that the salt slurry creates a layer of air between the meat and shell of the crab. This separation creates easy pickings of the crab meat.


There you have it, tips and tricks from the pre blue claw crabbing adventure all the way to the post crabbing adventure. Next time you embark on a crabbing adventure, keep these tips in mind to improve your crabbing  experience.



By – Kevin Lin


Kevin is a high school student and an avid fisherman from Long Island, New York.  During his free time, Kevin likes to actively follow his interests in the fields of military, football and music. In the summer Kevin also enjoys being a mate on his local charter boat.



Eposeidon (www.eposeidon.com  — Eposeidon Outdoor Adventure, Inc.) brings a fresh, innovative approach to anglers by offering quality fishing tackle products at the best prices and no cost, or low cost shipping. Eposeidon’s goal is to exceed expectations through outstanding customer service and superior product value to their customers. Eposeidon is continually expanding its product lines, which include KastKing (r) fishing line, fishing reels, and fishing rods, MadBite fishing lures, Ecooda reels, and other fishing tackle products, to meet individual fishing equipment needs. Eposeidon is headquartered in Garden City, NY, USA and sells fishing tackle products globally. Eposeidon is the sole North American Distributor for Ecooda fishing reels.


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