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Author Topic: Keeping crabs on ice  (Read 10564 times)
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JoeFromYork
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« on: July 05, 2004, 10:53:36 AM »

Sometimes I don't have time to steam crabs as soon as I get back from the pier.  I throw the crabs in a cooler filled with ice.  How long can I safely keep them in that cooler before they croak and go bad?
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jack1747
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« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2004, 11:06:10 AM »

they will live for days if you keep them out of the ice water.  
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JoeFromYork
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« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2004, 11:16:13 AM »

Oh, it's better to keep them in an iceless cooler?  Didn't know that.

Does anyone know how long they'll live in that ice?
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jack1747
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« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2004, 04:36:48 PM »

what im saying is crabs will live a long time packed in ice.  If they are not frozen and are not in the water.  U have to keep the crabs out of any water that is in the cooler due to ice melting because the crabs will smother in the water.  They can get oxygen from the air, but will use up the oxygen in the ice water real fast.  
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Crabpop
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« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2004, 05:47:23 PM »

Yes, to what Jack said.  Couple other pointers:  a bushel basket will do fine during the cooler months of the year.  Put the crabs in the bushel as they're caught and keep a wet towel over the top.  The towel provides a cooling effect through evaporation and should be rewetted occasionally.  The bushel itself has openings on the side for air to pass through.  Crabs stay cool, get fresh air, and they're happy.  I use an insulated cooler during the hot months.  Now, do not put crabs in a cooler without ice AND keep the cooler top propped open about a 1/4"-1/2" for air to enter. Even though insulated, a cooler without ice in it will soon turn into an oven in the sunlight. Likewise, the cooler top must be propped open a little bit for air/oxygen to enter or the crabs will suffocate.  I built a second, removable bottom inside my crabbing cooler.  It's made out of a piece of 1/4" sheet plastic with six styrofoam blocks glued on the bottom for feet; it provides about 2" of dead space for the melted water to gather and keeps the crabs out of the water. I occasionally put the cooler end over the side of the boat and pull the cooler's drain plug to get rid of the excess ice melt.  I also use this cooler to transport live crabs up to northcentral PA  in my pickup for relatives.  One or two stops along the way to drain the ice melt. It works fine and I very rarely lose any.

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« Last Edit: July 05, 2004, 05:49:12 PM by Crabpop » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2004, 06:23:57 PM »

CPop..like your idea of the false botom for your cooler...how big is your cooler,can you give me a "ballpark" figure on the # of crabs you transport this way?..wanna bring some of those big blues I catch in NC later this month home Wink..will they last on an 8 hr trip home this way? ???any help 'preciated Smiley
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Crabpop
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« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2004, 07:34:26 PM »

Kingcrabber, I use a 100 qt  Igloo.  It will easily hold a bushel of crabs with ice on top and false bottom in place.  The one I have has two access tops; one is hinged to open the entire top; the other is a smaller door within the main top that is hinged to open.  Just drop the crabs in here as they're caught and keep this smaller door propped open a tad for ventilation.  You should have absolutely no problem transporting live crabs up from NC in this manner.
I also have a 72 qt rigged with a false bottom, but space can get kind of tight with this cooler.
Thing to keep in mind.  When you measure the inside of the bottom of the cooler to get the dimensions to cut the plastic for the false bottom,  allow about 1/2" space around the sides of the false bottom for the water to drain to the bottom of the cooler.  We also drilled a few holes in the false bottom to facilitate ice melt, but this really isn't necessary.  False bottom feet in the 100 qt are hard styrofoam; the one's in the 72 qt are child's plastic blocks epoxied in place, with one in each corner and one each on center lengthwise.  Good luck down in NC.  Was hoping the son and I could maybe make it, but I'll be in Italy and Spain on a business trip that week.

Crabpop    
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« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2004, 09:15:42 AM »

..thanks Pop...gonna have to go out and get a cooler that size.....have all the other "ingredients" necessary to manage that project Cheesy...got 23 days to get it 2gether Wink
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MMM@crabs
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« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2004, 05:41:02 PM »

Let's see some pictures of this crab transporter! ....
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