Menu Close

Catching Crabs 101

Land crabs are curious creatures: they burrow beneath the ground to keep cool in the belly of the moist earth. They try to avoid confrontation, but armed with two formidable claws, or biters as they are known in the Bahamas, they pack a mean punch.

During the summer months, the crabs of Andros and across the islands of The Bahamas are called to arms. Hungry hunters are on the prowl, craving Bahamian crab and rice, crab soup, crab and dough and the wide variety of crab-filled culinary delicacies, and they are taking no prisoners.

If you are new to the game of catching crabs, there are certain ground rules you should follow to maximize your take and of course stay safe. Dudley Thompson, an expert crab hunter, shared some of the tricks to the trade.

Crabs are so abundant in the Bahamas that hunters can often pluck them off the road. As drivers move along the dark, moonlit streets in the Family Islands, the beady eyes of crabs reflect into vehicles. As plentiful as their numbers may be, however, roadside crabs will not usually fill your satchel. For that you will need to venture into the bushes.

Long pants and shirts with long sleeves, black or camouflage, are best to protect against mosquitos, poison ivy bush and thorny underbrush. Protective head and neck gear for the mosquitoes, as well as comfortable shoes or boots for the hike, which can often take you deep into the interior. If you are skirmish when it comes to crab biters, you might want to wear a pair of gardening or other protective gloves.

Hunting at night tends to be best, because crabs stir from within their holes to feed and venture much farther from home than they would during the day.

They camouflage well with the underbrush, so have a keen ear attuned to the sound of ruffling leaves, and a sharp eye on the lookout for pairs of beady eyes. And be sure to watch for crab holes.

Catching crab the Bahamian way requires an advance from the rear. The goal is to hook your fingers across the back of the crab. From this vantage point, the crab’s biters are of no threat. They are not ambidextrous creatures, so have no fear; they cannot reach back to pinch you.

True crab hunters will even go for crabs that are backed up in their holes. This requires a direct attack, and gloved hands are often too big to fit. The trick: Try to identify where they are turned and get your hands around the back. If this does not work – if you get pinched, in other words – true crab hunters don’t stop; they just try again, from another angle.

By Noelle Nicolls and Nadine Thomas-Brown

Posted in Lifestyle

Related Posts