animals, anticipation, food

The Mendocino County Crab

Some time back in the summer of 2008, I joined my friend Mark Sung for a short trip to the Mendocino coast. We meant to go camping, but the tent spots were full and we ended up fishing until about 4 a.m., anyway. Actually, we weren’t fishing for fish, but crabbing for crab.

Mendocino’s a pretty spot. Here, for example, are some nicely situated homes.
mendocino houses

But there isn’t any shortage of pretty spots north of San Francisco. Less than a quarter mile from those houses, we ran into the Pacific Ocean.

mendocino coast

Those are brown pelicans flying past. They plunge bill-first into the water at 40 miles an hour.

Mark is a great cook, and like some cooks, he’s happy to procure the ingredients himself. The fisherman’s lament (one lament, anyway), is that he never gets out as much as he wants. And the same goes for crabbing.

Mark used a regular fishing rod, and he lent me an extra one. He tied wire cages to the lines, and we crammed pieces of half-frozen squid into the cages, which we secured with thick rubber bands. Along the perimeter of each cage were about a half dozen loops of blue line. With a quick flick of the fishing rod and some luck, the loops close around a crab claw or leg as it pulls the squid from the wire cage. Then reel in.

Mark caught two crabs worth keeping. I caught one. Here’s one of them, which Mark cooked later that morning in its shell with nothing but boiling water and served unadorned. Good eating.