Down to the dock we went. It wasn't long before one took the bait. The trick is to pull the line in very slowly and steadily and to get the net under them without them seeing it. The net has to be below the water's surface and then quickly moved under the crab in case he sees a motion that makes him turn loose the bait. I netted all but the first one which was kind of small anyway. Only male crabs can be kept and they must meet minimum size.
|Mr. Blue Crab|
|Careful, they bite!|
|Checking out the baitfish|
We hauled him back from the edge of the dock and Googled whether a nurse shark was good to eat and what size it needed to be to keep it. Turns out they are nothing special to eat and must be 54" long to keep. Bill estimated ours was about four feet. He was heavy; skin was thick with a uniform texture, like fine sandpaper but softer. We turned him loose.
The photos below were taken while the nurse shark was being reeled in -- a job well done given the light line and small hook.
The captioned photo is one from the site of the Key West aquarium and was included for comparison purposes.
|Official Aquarium Photo|
We ended up with about a half-dozen blue crabs and had a crab boil for dinner. Lots of work to pick out the meat but excellent flavor made it worthwhile. Earlier this week, the ocean provided a mess of snapper for supper. Also an excellent meal.