Crabbing for dinner
Photos by Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise
Katie Brannon of Groves, a senior at Port Neches-Groves High School, pulls up a crab line in the marshes along Highway 87 near Bridge City, Texas on Wednesday, June 7, 2006.
Katie Brannon of Groves, a senior at Port Neches-Groves High School, (left) and her niece Makayla Watson, 6, (right) of Bridge City catch blue crabs in the marshes along Highway 87 near Bridge City.
Jay Matt of Groves holds a male blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) he caught in the marshes along Highway 87. He said the family was catching the crabs for dinner.
I've got to try this. It seemed almost too easy. Crabbers tie a piece of chicken on a line, and wait a while. Once the crab grabs the chicken, they reel in the cord and catch it in a net as it releases its claws. Brannon was snagging some "keepers" without bait by netting them as they scampered along a drain pipe.
According to Texas state regulations, a valid fishing license and a saltwater fishing stamp endorsement are required to crab. There are no bag limits or seasons. Crabs must be at least five inches across from spinetip to spinetip and male. To tell if the crab is male, flip it over and look at the pattern on its bottom side. If the center plate is wide, it's a female. If it's narrow, it's a male.