( A Cyn~Mel~Sue Adventure Story from Captain Capt. Willie's " Fishin Daze " )
Psalm 71 : 5,8 For You are my hope, O Lord God; You are my trust from my youth. Let my mouth be filled with Your praise and with Your glory all the day .
The creek ship Cyn~Mel~Sue was stripped down for speed and a day of exploration. The Captain and Brittany, the English Springer Spaniel, departed the Owl's Nest Boat Launch as the early morning sun began to rise. Two of the boat seats had been removed and only the necessary equipment for crabbing, fishing, and a picnic lunch were loaded. The Captain was hunting for and only keeping huge monster Blue Crabs today. He wanted to start the day exploring areas he had never been in, around the hundreds of winding creeks and ditches that snake through the meadows and patches of woods from Dividing Creek to the Delaware Bay along Fortescue, NJ. This would be a day for a new adventure, observation of God's wonderful wilderness creation, worship, and dinner catching. The Capt. didn't even take a watch, he would follow the sun.
Brittany the water dog flopped into the creek for her pre-adventure swim as the Capt. warmed up the engine. She swam to the boat and hopped aboard. The lightened creek ship opened up to full throttle. Brittany had to stand up on the bow to keep it down some as the boat leveled off and glided along. The Capt. began to daydream of finding a remote meadow pond with huge crabs in it. A pond way out where nobody goes. The Capt. navigated up a creek he had never been in, it took him through Fortescue, and then right into the Delaware Bay. The Capt. followed the shore line along the bay until he spotted another creek. This creek had some nice sandy beaches along it. A great place to take the Mrs. for a picnic sometime. The Capt. and canine took in all the wonderful sights of this remote meadow world. In this area were dozens of species of birds. The Capt. spotted some Giant Blue Herons, some Red Wing Blackbirds, several types of Ducks, and so many different Sea Birds, he could not possibly name them. The CMS's bow anchor was thrown overboard near the beach, and the Capt. walked ashore with a crab net. Brittany took off like a shot romping through the meadow. Being a bird dog by nature, Brittany went on a bird investigation of her own in the meadow. The Capt. spotted some small and well hidden meadow ponds. The first pond looked deep, it was round, and about 20 yards across. The pond was landlocked. The Capt. saw small schools of minnows in a rush trying to escape something. The Capt. stood along the bank, then he saw something move. The moving object was heading toward the edge of the pond. The OLE Capt. could hardly believe his eyes, out of the depth of this pond was a monster crab slowly heading toward him. Blue Claw Crabs are not true scavengers. They only eat living and fresh dead things. This crab was king of this pond, and he was chasing some minnows to the bank.
At first glance, the meadow and water areas here look so peaceful. The fact is, the food chain was at work, and everything was trying to eat something. This huge Pond King was tracking his food. Capt. Willie, a proud member of the meadow food chain stood poised at the edge of this pond, waiting for his dinner. The King Blue was in about 12 " of water and about 3 feet away when the Capt. swept his net down on top of him, and dragged him out of his water home. The Capt. was thrilled and ran to his boat with the first catch of the day. He dumped this monster crustacean into the boats crab holding tank. ( a cooler with ice in it). He grabbed a trap and headed back to the pond with a vision of catching a bunch of these monsters. The King Blue turned out to be the only crab in the pond, he must have lived his whole life, trapped here, except in very high tides. He had gotten big and fat with all those minnows and grass shrimp.
The Capt. moved on to a couple of other ponds. He observed several areas where the grass was matted down. Small herds of deer had been here resting. In this area, and where there are clumps of trees, big bucks hide out. Once in a while a deer can be spotted working their way across the meadow. The Capt. hoped with the tide going out, some of these ponds that were not landlocked would yield more monster blues. The next pond produced 2 nice big keeper crabs. Brittany continued to race around splashing in the ponds and ditches. The Capt. decided to move on, and back to the creek ship he went. Whoops ! The boat was on dry land, the tide had moved out very fast. The Capt. chuckled, he was the one trapped now with the tide out instead of the crabs. He stopped chuckling when he realized how heavy this boat was. The Capt. pushed and pushed and pulled and slid. He was finally able to get his ship to the water. Brittany of course was not interested in helping. All she cared about was chasing birds and looking for lunch. The Cyn~Mel~Sue was back in the water again. The Capt. headed for new area now in search of big crabs for dinner. The weather was perfect for crabbing, it was cloudy with huge white and gray clouds, not humid, a slight breeze, and no bugs at all. What a wonderful day to explore!
The Cyn~Mel~Sue navigated back through Fortescue. Fortescue, NJ is a great fishing town. The waterway leading from the Delaware Bay into the town is lined with docks and boats. Bay Charter boats are all over. They were all out fishing on this day. Once past the boats, the creek ship opened up and headed toward Beaver Dam.
The Cyn~Mel~Sue was positioned in an area with a swift moving tide where 3 creeks meet, and the tide and wind were going the same way. One of these creeks was draining a huge mud flat. Though a new spot to the crew, this place looked great. The twin anchors were thrown, one off the bow, and one from the stern. The Capt. hoisted the ships colors (a blue and green beach umbrella) and settled back. He also cast out a fishing line. When the first trap was pulled, the Capt. knew he had hit a crab hot spot. Ripping in 2 and 3 nice big crabs per trap the Capt. kept busy. The holding tanks quickly filled (a bushel basket with the cooler). Then the fishing pole jumped around and the Capt. brought in a nice striper. He was a beauty, but a little to small to keep. Strippers must be 28" to keep.
Brittany began to whine a little, it was time for lunch. The Capt. brought her a nice can of dog food. She wolfed it down, drank some water then dove overboard for a swim. When the Capt. wanted to eat a sandwich, she climbed right back aboard and began begging for his food. What a pig this dog is! She wants to eat everything. On the last trip, the Capt. turned his head for one-second, and the Spaniel took a huge bite of his sandwich! Well, rules are rules, and the creek rule for this one is, you walk the plank when you steal the Capts food! So overboard she went.
The Capt. was really enjoying the sights on this wonderful day. He had plenty of crabs, and decided to head toward the boat launch. Because the tide was now dead low, the Capt. had to go crab trolling. The Cyn~Mel~Sue eased her way into a shallow ditch with high mud banks. It was wall to wall crabs, minnows, and grass shrimp. With the tide down, all the creatures were condensed into a smaller area. A creek feeding frenzy was going on. Entire schools of minnows and shrimp were leaping into the air to escape bigger fish and crabs. Some minnows in a desperate attempt to escape leaped onto the creek mud banks, then slid back into the water. Some crabs jumped right out the water and onto the banks with them. Lots of crabs were resting on the banks also.
The Capt. likes to catch soft-shell crabs at this time. These are crabs that just shed their shells, and they are waiting for their new shells to harden. They are very weak, and the female softshells have a male with them to protect them. The Capt. is always happy to have them both for dinner. Softshells are fun to eat, you eat the shells and all after cleaning out their insides. They are best deep fried. The Capt. netted several nice crabs then headed closer to the boat launch a couple miles away. On the way back in the main creek, large crabs could be seen along the banks catching minnows. The Capt. cruised slowly scooping up the biggest ones. Crab greed had now set in, and the Capt. could not stop himself from catching more. As the incoming tide picked up speed, the Capt. decided to head in. The Capt. loaded his boat and catch at the boat launch. Crabbing on the shore was a father with his two small sons. They had only caught 5 crabs. The father struck up a conversation with the Capt. The father began to talk about the Lord and how great he is! The Capt. told the father that he also was born again. The Capt. then asked the man how he cooked his crabs. The man gave the right answer, he cleans them first, so the Capt. gave them about 3 dozen nice crabs to take home. They were happy and blessed, the Capt. was happy and blessed, Brittany was hungry, and only a couple hours of sunlight remained. The creek dog walked up on the old Owl's Nest Bridge and dove to into the creek about 12 feet below for a last swim. (show-off! ) The crew headed home.
Once back at land base, the Capt. cleaned his catch and began to olive oil steam the crabs in garlic and Italian bread crumbs with cheeses. A few crabs were traded to the Broad Street Bully for some weak fish. ( sea trout) It was a wonderful day. It was a great day to enjoy the Creators natural and living artwork. It was a blessing to be a creek explorer.
Captain Williecrab, Creek Explorer Into the 21'rst Century ! To God Be The Glory !!
Captain Williecrab's Top Secret Cooking Procedures and Ingredients:
You will need: A large pot and lid. Olive Oil. Coarse Ground Garlic Powder with Parsley. Ground Red Pepper. Crushed Red Pepper. Lemon Pepper. Season All Salt. Salt. Pepper. Fresh chopped up and minced garlic, chop yourself, or you can buy ready to use Minced Garlic in a Jar. 1 teaspoon of vinegar.
Create the crab mash, customize to your liking: Take your large pot, put about 2 inches of water in the bottom. Add about a cup of olive oil. Add about 4 heaping teaspoons of fresh garlic minced. Add about 6 good shakes of season all salt. Add about 6 good shakes of Ground Red Pepper. Add about 3 good shakes of Lemon Pepper (optional ). Add about 8 good shakes of Crushed Red Pepper. Add some regular salt and pepper, maybe 4 or 5 shakes. Stir up , then warm. Take the cleaned crabs, and dip and turn in the mash. Then set them in your sink to sit. While the crabs sit for a little bit, sprinkle on them some coarse garlic with parsley, also Shake some ground red pepper on them and any other ingredients you like. ( The Capt. adds some Italian bread crumbs with cheeses to the water, and sprinkles that on the crabs before he dumps them it. The dried cheeses melt on the bodies, and the spicy bread crumbs puff up and splatter on the crabs in the steam. ) Bring the mash to a hard boil, make sure you put the lid on the pot. With the mash boiling at the maximum, life the lid and dump in about 15 to 20 crabs. Put the lid on and oil steam them for 12 minutes. Make sure there is plenty of room in the pot for the steam to circulate little drops of olive oil on the seasoned bodies of the crabs. After 12 minutes, take out your crabs, and test a claw. If the meat slides out and is juicy, you got it ! If the meat is stuck in the claw, you are cooking at a little to high of a temp. To fix that, on the next batch, once you have dropped in the crabs, knock down the temp 1 or 2 notches. Rarely though do crabs get overcooked in 12 minutes. If you do not like the crabs getting mushy on the bottom, put a little steam tray at the bottom to keep the crabs out of the mash. If you really like garlic, put some minced fresh garlic right in the bodies before you steam. If you do not have a lot of crabs, pre crack the claws before steaming. If you do it right, you won't need a wooden hammer to break open all the claw. The trick is to make the crabs cook with the spices melting into the meat, and steaming so the bodies of the crabs have an olive oil sheen on them. Only barbaric heathens do not clean a crab first, they cook a whole crab alive and cook his guts in the meat instead of wonderful spices and things like garlic. That is very very bad.
This is how Capt Williecrab cooks his Blue Claw Crabs. Now, sign this form and swear an oath.
I _____ being of sound mind, on this date ________, promise and hearby swear that I will not share this top secret plan to cook crabs with anyone other than serious crab cookers. I also promise that once I have tried it, I will do everything possible to avoid cooking a live crab, and will discourage anyone else from doing so. I will clean my crabs first, then cook, just as Capt Williecrab would want me to. Also if I become a blue claw crab eating addict, I will not hold the Williecrab responsible ( note, you must be at least 6 years old and be able to read and write to sign this form )
Sign in triplicate
have notarized and framed, and keep all the copies in your file
for future reference.