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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was wondering if crabs are graded different by the rivers they are caught in? My wife insists that the crabs we catch in the Tred Avon are much better than the ones we get out of the Elk and Bo rivers. She says the Tred Avon crabs have a "nuttier" flavor compared to the others. I tell her she is the one who is nutty and I can't tell the difference.
Any thoughts on this?
Lance
 

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Tred Avon

Yes, you are right, there is a difference and prices in some commercial crab-houses actually vary depending on the river.
 

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Yes!!! And that's why I trailer my rig over to Kent Island to crab even though I live 1 minute from a community ramp that leads directly to some good crabbing on the Magothy. Magothy River crabs can't hold a candle to the Eastern Bay/Wye River crabs!!! That's the truth!!!

db
 

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I agree with this too. And, all crabs are way better than Miles River Crabs. If you can catch any in the Miles that is.

But seriously, I do agree that crabs do taste different from varying tribs.

This was proven at the CF's. Although I know that no one would complain.

Man I cant wait for this season. Or for SF4!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Interesting, I wonder what makes the difference? The salinity of the water and what they would feed on I guess. It would be neat to know the migration of the different rivers, where the crabs come from and where they stay in the summer.
Always wondered about that in the Elk and Bohemia. Depending on the amount of rain up here is how the crabbing goes for the summer in those rivers.
 

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mud crabs

Lance, My neighbor used to call Elk river crabs trash crabs or mud crabs also. But now he says they are as good as Chester river crabs?

Just to play devil's advocate, is it the effort that one exudes what makes those crabs taste so good? I wonder if anyone could tell the difference.
 

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Crabs

I would imagine that diet, water salinity and other factors have a great deal to do with the taste. When we lived in England, we bought crabs that slightly resembled Blue crabs because we missed then but they tasted bland. There are 4400 varieties of crabs worldwide. Floridians love their Stone crabs. I'll take Blue. Here's some info. I found on other species including some regs on catching stone crabs.

Blue Crab
Its latin name, Calinectes sapidus, means "beautiful swimmer," and it is indeed a beautiful blue-green color. The most prolific species on the East Coast of the US, this is the crab which also gives us soft-shell crabs. These crabs do turn the traditional reddish color when cooked.

Dungeness Crab
Latin name Cancer magister, this crab is found in coastal waters from Alaska, US to Baja, Mexico. This large crab usually weighs in from 1-3/4 to 4 pounds, and is brown to purple in color. It is named for the former small town of Dungeness on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state, US, which first began commercially-harvesting the delicacy. Law requires the crab to be at least 6-1/4 inches long to be harvested, and only males can be taken. Prime season is in the winter months. The pink flesh is succulent and sweet.

Horseshoe Crab
Latin name Limulus polyphemus, this crab is named for its resemblance in shape to a horseshoe. It is considered a living fossil, tracing its roots back some 500 million years. It is found along the Atlantic coast from Nova Scotia to the Yucatan and along Asian coasts from Japan and the Philippines to India. And yes, they are indeed edible, although the ratio of meat to shell is small.

King Crab
Latin name Paralithodes camtschaticus, this giant crab is also often called "Alaskan King crab," "Japanese crab," and "Russian crab" due to its size, which can reach up to 25 pounds and measuring up to 10 feet. It may be large, but only about one-fourth is edible, primarily the legs and claws. Only males are harvested. The delicately-flavored meat is snowy white with a bright red outer edge.

The red king crab, Paralithodes camtschaticus, is the most coveted commercially sold king crab and is the most expensive per unit weight. It is most commonly caught in Bristol Bay and Norton Sound, Alaska, and is particularly difficult to catch, but is nonetheless the most preferred crab for consumption and has been said to be tastier than lobster [2]. Red king crab gets its name from the colour it turns when it is cooked rather than that of its actual colour while still alive, which tends to be more burgundy.

Recently, an overpopulation of red king crabs in the Barents Sea is causing concern about the local biosystems. It was introduced artificially in the Murmansk Fjord in Russia during the 1960s to provide new catch for the Soviet fishermen. Since its introduction it has spread west along the Norwegian coast and also towards the island group of Svalbard [3][4]. Environmentalists and some local fishermen fear the crab because it eats everything it comes across and is spreading very rapidly (despite this threat, some fishing quotas on the crab are still in place). Other fishermen see the king crab as a blessing, as it is a high priced delicacy in some countries [5].

Paralithodes rathbuni
[edit] Paralithodes platypus
The blue king crab, Paralithodes platypus, is caught off St. Matthew Island and the Pribilof Islands, Alaska, and is the largest of all the king crabs. The blue king crab is often sold as the coveted red king crab because when it is cooked it resembles and tastes similar to red king crab.

[edit] Lithodes aequispinus
The golden king crab, Lithodes aequispinus, is caught in the Aleutian Chain off the coast of Alaska. The golden king crab is significantly smaller than the red and blue crab types, but tastes similar to the red and blue king crabs although actually sweeter. They are, however, considerably cheaper due to their appearance and size. Significant populations occur in pockets in the waters off the Pribilof and Shumagin Islands,Shelikof Strait,Prince William Sound and at least as far south as lower Chatham Strait in Southeast where a regular commercial fishery occurs annually.It should be noted they occur in deeper water than the red king crab,often in depths exceeding 300 ftms.

Peekytoe Crab
These are Maine rock or sand crabs which were pretty much a throwaway by-product of lobster fishing before a brilliant marketing move changed their name to "peekytoes" around 1997. They are classified as Cancer irroratus, also known as bay crab and rock crab. You'll find full background information on this interesting and popular crab here.

Rock Crab
Latin name Cancer quanbumi, it is found along the East coast of the US, living among rocks and in deep water. Its spindly legs make it resemble a spider, and is also known as "spider crab." "Snow crab," (Chionoecetes opilio) "tanner," and "queen crab" are also known as spider crabs.

Stone Crab
Latin name Menippe mercenaria, it is also called "moro" or "morro" crab. It has large, very hard claws that are prized for their meat. Most of the harvest comes from Florida, US, where it is a prized delicacy harvested from October 15 to May 15. Only the claws are eaten, so fishermen twist off one claw from crabs and toss them back to grow a new one. Crabs will regenerate their claws within 18 months. They are left with one claw to defend themselves. The law requires these claws to be boiled for 7 minutes and then either put on ice or frozen. The freezing process seems to remove an unpleasant iodine taste which is often noticed in the meat. To determine which claws have the most meat, they are floated in a tank of water, with the less meaty claws rising and being sold as "lights." To serve, the claws are cracked with a mallet and served cold with dipping sauces. Minimum size for claws is 2-2.75 ounces. The meat has a firm texture and a sweet, succulent flavor.

Stone crab claws are high on the list of favored Florida seafood. These crabs have the unusual ability to cast off their legs or pincers if caught by one leg or experience extreme temperature change. The separation always occurs at one of the joints to protect the crab from bleeding. During the life of the crab, the same appendage may be generated three or four times. Claw regeneration to harvestable size is often within 12 months.

Florida law takes advantage of this ability of regeneration by making it illegal to harvest whole stone crabs. One or both of the very powerful black-tipped claws may be removed provided the length of the forearm measures 2 3/4 inches. If not, the claw must be left on the crab and the live stone crab returned to the water. If is also unlawful to remove claws from egg-bearing females.

Availability: Stone crab season opens October 16 and goes through May 14, with harvesting prohibited between May 15 and October 15. Although stone crabs are found along the coast from North Carolina to Mexico, they are commercially landed only in Florida, and only the claws are sold. Cooked stone crab claws freeze beautifully in the shell, making it possible to purchase cooked stone crab claws refrigerated or frozen. They are rarely available throughout the year, even frozen, as demand usually is greater than the supply.

Selection and Care: Freezing or icing raw stone crab claws causes the meat to stick to the inside of the shell. For this reason, they are cooked immediately on landing and are sold cooked. When purchasing cooked stone crab claws, freshness can only be judged on the basis of a mild odor. If you trap or collect your own stone crabs, be sure not to place the claws directly on ice. You may place them in a cooler at a temperature of about 40 degrees F. for a few hours until they can be cooked.

Claws are cooked by placing the crabs in boiling water and heating the water back to a boil. Total cooking time should be 7-8 minutes. Running cold water over the cooked claws is often suggested to insure the meat does not stick to the shells. Store cooked claws in the refrigerator at 32-35degrees F. or packed in ice no longer than 2-3 days. If purchased freshly cooked and frozen in the shell the same day, the shelf life of the claw is about 6 months. The shell protects the meat during freezing so freeze only claws that are intact. Frozen stone crab claws are best when thawed in the refrigerator for 12-18 hours before using.

Nutritional Value: A cooked 3 ounce portion of (stone) crab meat contains 60 calories, no fat, 15 gm protein, 45 mg cholesterol, 300 mg sodium, and 4 gm calcium.

Use & Preparation: Because stone crab claw meat is so rich, generally you need purchase only three large claws per person. A good guideline with purchasing crab claws is to allow 1 pound per person. Approximately 2 ½ pounds cooked stone crab claws are required to one pound crabmeat.

To serve: Crack all the sections of the shell with a hammer or a nutcracker and let everyone pick the meat out themselves. You can also crack the claw, then remove the shell and moveable pincer, leaving the meat attached to the remaining pincer. This is the way they are usually served in restaurants. The cooked meat can also be picked from the shell and used in any recipe calling for cooked crabmeat or lobster.

Most people are purists when it comes to stone crab meat and prefer it cold or steamed only long enough to heat it and served with clarified butter, warm lemon butter or this warm Mustard Sauce as a compliment.

Stone Crab Harvesting Gear

It is unlawful to use any device on the taking of stone crabs that can puncture, crush, or injure the crab body, such as spears, grains, grabs, hooks, or similar devices
Maximum of five (5) stone crabs traps per person as described in the summary of stone crab trapping rules below
Stone Crab Trapping Rules

Five trap maximum

Buoy must have a legible "R" at least two inches high, permanently affixed to it. Buoys are not required if trap is fished from a dock.

Trap shall have harvesters name and address permanently affixed to it in legible letters.
Traps must be pulled manually (not by a trap puller). Any vessel that is rigged with a trap puller will be considered a commercial vessel and the appropriate licenses will be required.

Traps must be pulled only during daylight hours.

Traps must not be placed in navigational channels of the intracoastal waterways, or in navigational channels maintained and marked by any county, municipal, state or federal governmental agency.

A Florida recreational fishing license is required to harvest stone crabs under the recreational fishing regulations.

Stone crab trap specifications are the same for recreational and commercial harvesters. Trap specifications may be found in Rule 68B-45.004, Florida Administrative Code.
Can both stone crab claws be harvested?

Both claws of a stone crab may be harvested lawfully if they are both of legal size. Although it is currently lawful to harvest both of a stone crab's claws, usually only one claw is taken from an individual stone crab during harvest for conservation purposes. The practice of removing both claws of a stone crab threatens the ability of the resource to renew itself. Stone crab claws are a renewable resource because only the claw may be harvested and the crab is left to regenerate a new claw. Should both claws be of lawful harvest size and removed, the crab would be left with little means of defense and no mode of acquiring food. This drastically reduces its chance for survival and re-growth of a new claw is highly compromised without a proper nutrient supply.
 

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JR,
TMI, TMI. Although interesting information.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Scotty, you and I are in the same proverbial boat. Tough to choose between the 15 minute run to the ramp for local "mud" crabs, or 2 hours to the Tred For the "nutty" tasting ones. I'd say more work does make them better.
Looking for a 16-19 foot CC to replace the old Chris Craft this spring, did you ever sell you're boat?
Lance
 

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Tony your right on there. This may sound wierd but crabs in the same location can taste significantly different from one week to the next. Not sure if it is the temp, slough, or another factor but there is a difference. I have not had wye or tred crabs but the pax suits me just fine. Definately sweeter than bay crab.
 

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Good Commentary!
 

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The Chester River crabs I caught laster year were much better than the Wye and Kent Narrows Crabs I caught on every trip but one. I was crabbing the Narrows in June and caught the biggest, sweetest crabs of the year. That trip stood out in my mind until I put the boat away for the season.
 

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Save yourself the trip to the ES as crabs in the Wye and EB taste like ****z.:D Brackish water is where you will find the tastier critters. The EB and Wye river crabs owe their taste and size to the proportion of salt and fresh water mix.
 

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I was once told by a fish and game guy they they have there taste from the clams that they eat. I don't know but I have been crabbing since I was 5 and am now 27 and will not eat crabs unless caught from Chester, EB, or the Wye they are best crabs hands down. My grandfather grew up on the Chester and would not eat crabs unless caught in the same locations as I listed. I guess if you wern't raised on them you would not know the difference in the taste. I cannot wait to see them big black fellas filling my baskets. Good luck to all this year and be safe out there.
 
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