05-04-2005, 08:32 AM
Does anybody have any good suggestions for keeping crabs overnight in something other than a dirt floor basement or a refrigerator. I have tried keeping them in a cooler with ice and leaving the drain plug open and the lid cracked but I have always had mixed results with some dying (more than just one or two)
Should the crabs be on top of the ice, ice on top of the crabs, separate the two with a towel or newspaper???????
05-04-2005, 08:37 AM
Putting them in a cooler does not allow enough air and you will have a high death rate. I have crabbed for years and my trick is this. After you have caught what you want, take an empty basket and put half a bag of ice in the bottm of the basket, then load with crabs. I then put the remaining half bag on the top of them the cover the top of the basket with a wet towel. You must keep them out of the direct sunlight and any wind. in the basement should be fine and they will hold overnight very well. Of course the fridge is the best. I have an old apartment fridge that I use to keep my crabs in if I am holding them overnight. Good luck!!!!
05-04-2005, 09:44 AM
If they are iced overnight and some die, eat them I have been doing that for years and no one has EVER been sick. What is the difference between that and catching a fish and putting it in a cooler? Do a search on this subject it has come up many times on the forum.
05-04-2005, 10:05 AM
I made a grate from the plastic trays that hamburger rolls are stored in and placed it in my 150 qt. cooler. I place about 3" of ice in the cooler, then place the grate on top of the ice, then the crabs on top of the grate. The lid is kept open about an inch to allow air to enter/escape. Overnight there could be some loss, but usually it is the light crabs that succumb. The heavy ones rarely die. Also, no need to keep the drain open. The cool water will help maintain the temp. and the crabs never touch the water.
The refrigerator method is by far the best way to keep crabs for several days. A 40* to 45* temperature should be maintained with the door kept open about 1/2" to allow fresh air to enter. Crabs have to breathe! A wet rag should be placed on top of the bushel
basket(s) and kept wet. Only the weakest crabs, if any, will die and that number will be less than if they were kept in a cooler.
This has been my experience.
05-04-2005, 01:27 PM
THANKS, I much prefer the get up early and catch them in the mroning and eat in afternoon but every once in a while I need those extra couple and go out the night before.
I'll experiment a little more and see what works. Never tried the bushel basket with ice overnight. That's how I normally keep them in 90 degree days in the shade unti they get cooked but never tried it overnight. Also never noticed if the ones I lost were light or heavy.
05-04-2005, 08:49 PM
I have done the Captain44 method.
If they go into the cooler, are encased in ice and the ice is kept from appreciably thawing, then any crab in the ice will be able to be consumed. My 2 cents.
But for me, I use the live box at the end of the pier. Sometimes two when I catch enough crabs. Then I break out the second to try to reduce canablism and death by stacking. Oh yes, Live box size will increase crab life in a live box.
I have seen folks fill buckets with water thinking they will keep the crabs better and they die in an hour. No OX!
If a livebox is too filled with crabs, this same death will occur. I have seen it and experienced it.
BOL all keeping your catch!
05-05-2005, 11:16 PM
I experimented with this for a summer a couple of years ago, and I've found that just leaving the crabs in a closed bushel basket with a 15 lb bag of ice on top, with holes poked in the bag for draining and dripping on the crabs, works well. I keep it in the garage and if it's really hot outside, I put a moving blanket loosely around the whole thing just to keep the cool air trapped.
Last summer I think that I lost two or three crabs out of maybe the five or six bushels that I kept overnight. I only keep them like this for 24 - 30 hours, so I'm not sure how well it would work for a longer time. But I remember this discussion before and some were saying that they had kept crabs for five days or more.
The downside? My bushel baskets don't last as long as I think that they might because they stay wet for so long. But that's no big deal to me, especially since I think the fact that the wood is so wet (and cool) it helps keep the crabs healthy. They always come up kicking and clawing when it comes time for steaming.
Ditto What Swamp says, I use the same method when i run out of space in the refrig and it works well for me.