Crab Hunting In Jamaica
Highlights Of The Insane Adventure
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In this special article, I share highlights from my recent Crab Hunting In Jamaica adventure. It was an amazing experience learning how to catch land crabs but moreso, catching crabs myself!
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It has always been a fantasy of mine since the first time I did it at about 12 years old; I always wanted to go back to hunt crabs and so, I got the courage, and called up "Mexican", back in the hills of Westmoreland who was more than ready!
He took a few other family members with him and we made it a fine day!
In the end we caught probably close to 4 dozen crabs - two of which were caught by me, yes, yours truly, he he!
Crab Hunting In Jamaica | My prized souvenir crab
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The highlight though was the chief crab hunter, the grand father and god father of crab hunting in the district, surely one of the best and darest in Jamaica, Govie Munroe, although known as Mexican and Humbug!
Not only does he catch crabs without any hand protection, he will literally lie on his belly (stomach) and dig as far as he needs to get to and catch crabs.
Insane or crazy, some of us might say!
In one instance, he 'unearth' as much as three from a single hole but told me he has gotten up to 4 already!
Crab Hunting In Jamaica | Mexican Digs For Crabs
I should tell you also that this approach is probably the hardest and most risky way to catch crabs; ideally, they wait until the rain falls, usually after a heavy downpour.
The crabs would then leave their holes (nest) which would become filled with water, and wander around on land. The hunter would then stealthily try to corner the crab, grab its back, or claw, and quickly deposit in a waiting bag.
But this time, we didn't have that, not only was it a rather dry day, it was broad daylight and so it took some skill to hunt them directly in their holes!
And that's what Mexican and the boys did!
In the end harvesting close to 4 dozen!
By the way, he is close to 80 years old now, and has been doing this since he was a teenager! I asked him about how long he will continue this, his response... "As long as he can come to crab bush"!
He is also the one who taught ALL the younger men in the community about how to catch crab, he said.
How To Catch Crabs In A Hole
Of course, for the record, I tried to learn from him how to catch crabs, I mean the crabs when in their holes, this is what I got...
- Identify the hole (larger means bigger crabs)
An active hole, meaning signs of movement, suggest that their might be at least one crab in it.
- Use a machete or similar too to 'track' where the hole leads, feeling for hollow areas in the ground. Note that you can track a crab up to 4 feet from where you identify the entrance to the crab hole. Be wary of the root/ base of trees though which are usually harder to navigate.
- Carefully dig while 'feeling' for the crab's back or limbs.
Sometimes you have to forfeit a hole as the crab might not be there at the time.
- When it is found, with knowledge of the anatomy of the crab, try to mentally locate it pangs or claws then attempt to get your hands behind them and hold on to them. The reason? That's its main weapon! It can literally tear away your fingers!
- Carefully pull the crab out and immediately place in a bag and close the neck to prevent it from running out.
- That's it...
One key point though... it takes t some practice and courage, but the more you do it the better and simpler it gets but still, its not for the weakhearted :-)
And I have a BONUS!
We didn't get around to the cooking of the crabs after the catch but on my way back home, I ran into another gentleman cooking crabs at his eatery along the side of the road!
I got a chance to quiz him about the process...
How To Cook Crabs Outdoors- Jamaican Style!
- But water to boil in big pot (outdoors preferably)
- Season the water with pimento leaves, salt, onion, garlic, thyme, escallion and scotch bonnet peppers
- Hold each crab by back and quickly place in the boiling water.
Note that if the water is not boiling, or if pangs are place first, they might drop off the pangs.
- Cover and allow to cook for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, depending on crab sizes, larger takes more time.
- Remove and allow to cool then crack and serve.
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Highlights Of Crab Hunting In Jamaica Adventure
By the way, did I tell you that I have highlights of our crab hunting trip on video?
Oh yes I do!
Below, embedded, is the YouTube video, enjoy!
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