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Author Topic: Info on soft shells  (Read 2121 times)
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BeKnotty
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« on: September 06, 2016, 03:39:32 PM »

I have about 4 soft shells crabs in the bunches I caught yesterday. Learning as I go, I steamed them just like I steamed all the others.  When they were done, the soft ones are really mushy to the touch.  I haven't picked them yet, they are just chilling until tonight.  Can I pick the soft ones just like the hard ones?  Also, in my haul I got an odd guy who was way darker than the other guys.  Not muddy...just darker shell...almost blackish blue.  I steamed him as well, and now he looks like all the other guys.  Should I be concerned about eating him?  Just not sure if the darker shell means something.
Thanks in advice for all your great knowledge and advice.
Cheers!
Anne
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Hawkeye
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« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2016, 03:45:30 PM »

how did you "catch" the softshells as they are typically not catchable via traditional methods (handlines/trotline/toplesstrap). 

Softshell crabs should be fried or grilled.  They can be eaten whole after they have been cleaned. 

darkshells are fine-  just means the crab hasn't molted in a long time - should be very meaty inside.  dirty crabs are typically heavier than white crabs.
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BeKnotty
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« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2016, 03:52:12 PM »

I pulled them off the boards/pilings of our covered boat shed.  Maybe the soft ones were part of several some of the doublers that I plucked w/my tongs.  However,if the female was immature I threw her back.  Until I got them all dumped out in the sink I didn't realize that I had the four soft ones.  Once steamed their shell is starting to peel back and they are much lighter in color than the others.
Why is it you can't catch these the traditional way?  I only use tongs, my net or a standard crab pot...off my kayak or the docks.
Thanks
« Last Edit: September 06, 2016, 04:19:20 PM by BeKnotty » Logged
Mutzy crab man
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« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2016, 03:53:39 PM »

Anne you got to come to the get together ..jump on someones boat and you will learn a lot..Like Hawkeye said soft crabs are the best ..Clean them,flour or bread them,fry them and enjoy them....
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Outta the river an into my pot...FUHGEDDABOUDIT..
Wallco99
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« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2016, 04:06:53 PM »

You want to take the back shell off of the soft shell, clean out the guts, dip it in flour, and pan fry in a few tablespoons of butter. Put it on a potato roll with a little mayo for the best sandwich you ever had. Can't really steam soft shells.
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BeKnotty
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« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2016, 04:18:26 PM »

Ok, thanks guys.  I think that maybe I ruined them then because I did steam them. 
I will pay more attention if I get more this weekend. 


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BeKnotty
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« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2016, 04:18:48 PM »

Anne you got to come to the get together ..jump on someones boat and you will learn a lot..Like Hawkeye said soft crabs are the best ..Clean them,flour or bread them,fry them and enjoy them....
[/qu

 I am definitely planning on coming to some part of the get together.  It is about 15 min from me...
Where do you guys go out?...Choptank or elsewhere? We only have a sailboat and a kayak so I don't know if I could get to where everyone will be on the water.
ote]
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Mutzy crab man
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« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2016, 05:12:53 PM »

Anne you got to come to the get together ..jump on someones boat and you will learn a lot..Like Hawkeye said soft crabs are the best ..Clean them,flour or bread them,fry them and enjoy them....
[/qu

 I am definitely planning on coming to some part of the get together.  It is about 15 min from me...
Where do you guys go out?...Choptank or elsewhere? We only have a sailboat and a kayak so I don't know if I could get to where everyone will be on the water.
ote]
We crab the Wye. If your only 15 minuts from the hotel ..(COMFORT INN ON RT 50) I will be there Thursday night stop by and say hello..Like I said before you could probably hook up with somebody and crab on Friday..We will all be out there on Friday
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Outta the river an into my pot...FUHGEDDABOUDIT..
Hawkeye
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« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2016, 07:23:44 PM »

All crustaceans have a hard exoskeleton shell.  In order to grow bigger they molt.  There is a brief period after they molt, they will be this very soft, very vulnerable stage.  They can be preyed upon by any number of critters -including other crabs.  Doublers will have a big male protecting them and in exchange the male gets to mate with the female.

Anyways when they are molting, these crabs do NOT go hunting for food, as it will put them into contact with other crabs which may decide to eat them instead.  this is why you will never find a softshell crab on a trot line, topless trap or handline.  the only rare time i've seen a softshell/buster in a topless trap is because the darn male crab was hungry and went into the trap draggin the female in with him.  There is a way to tell when a crab is *going* to become a buster/molt/softie by looking at the paddles - but i don't have enough experience to understand.  Gene or others on this board can tell you.  Basically if you know it will molt soon, some folks will keep the crabs live in a tank and molt them.

This link here talks more about how to catch softshells: BlueCrabForumSoftShells, but you obviously already know how to do that ha ha.

As Mutzy mentioned - how to eat them - its' best to cleaned out the lungs and some folks will take a pair of scissors and chop off it's face (eyes/mouth).  You could try and wash the tamale out but I don't bother.

Some flour and a small pan of oil works well for us.  Just imagine frying fish - but more delicious.  
« Last Edit: September 06, 2016, 07:25:42 PM by Hawkeye » Logged
crewstation
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« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2016, 07:39:45 PM »

Anne you got to come to the get together ..jump on someones boat and you will learn a lot..Like Hawkeye said soft crabs are the best ..Clean them,flour or bread them,fry them and enjoy them....
[/qu

 I am definitely planning on coming to some part of the get together.  It is about 15 min from me...
Where do you guys go out?...Choptank or elsewhere? We only have a sailboat and a kayak so I don't know if I could get to where everyone will be on the water.
ote]

To clarify the confusing post of the man who is named after mozzarella cheese, several of us bring boats down and it's highly likely that you would find someone who would let you/family/friend tag along on Fri or Sat.  While many crab the Wye, there have been trips to the Tred, Miles, Chester and (don't go anywhere with shedking) the West River.
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Oh, de crab, he taste so fine.
Yuh catch 'um wid a neck an' a line.
Bile de water 'til 'e good 'n hot.
Den eat de crab strait from 'de pot.

Oh, de beer, he taste so chilly.
Drinks it 'til I gets too silly.
Washin' down 'de crab an' butter.
If I doesn't fall down, I'll 'ave anudder.

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BeKnotty
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« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2016, 08:54:12 AM »

Post steaming one of the softies. Next time I will know better.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2016, 09:01:05 AM by BeKnotty » Logged
JLM66
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« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2016, 09:34:24 AM »

I've caught them trotlining. They are always with a big jimmy (Doubler).
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