If your homestead is located anywhere near water, particularly the flowing variety, chances are you’ve wet a line or two, and made yourself better acquainted with several varieties of aquatic wildlife. In doing so, you may have stumbled across some strange critters lurking along the bottom, particularly under rocks–critters that look a heckuva lot like a miniaturized variety of your last meal at Red Lobster. These freshwater lobster lookalikes, also known as mudbugs, crawdads and crayfish, are actually quite tasty, and have long been considered something of a delicacy in the South. Read on for some creative ways to catch yourself a parcel of the critters, perfect for inclusion in a low-country broil.
Line and Pole
Turns out, if you have a fishing pole, some quick reflexes and some patience, you can catch crawdads on a pole pretty easily. Simply find a location with clear-flowing water and large flat rocks. Bait your hook with a small bit of worm, like you would for a fish, and dangle it around the edge of the rocks. Work it with a little bit of motion, like you would a jerk bait (without the reeling-in part), and wait for the bugger to strike. Once he locks on with his claw, reel it on in quick, and boom! You’ve got yourself a crawdad.
Now while the above method is quite a fun way to while away some hot summer hours, it’s pretty time consuming. In fact, if your objective is a full meal, chances are you may burn more calories catching the damn things than you’d consume. For that reason, when going for bulk, it’s best to build a trap.
The easiest sort of trap to make can easily be constructed out of a bottle. Though any will work, a 3 liter or gatorade bottle suit best. Start by cutting the top of the bottle off, at a point below the curve. In other words, make sure your cut runs along the widest diameter of the bottle. This is generally about a third the way down. Take the cap off, and spin the freshly cut top around, inserting it into the bottle’s now open mouth. Secure it here with glue, staples, zip ties, or anything else you can reliably use to keep the top securely pressed against the bottom’s walls. Take some rocks, and put them through the top. These will serve as weights to sink the bottle to the river’s bottom. Next, punch a hole in the lip of the bottle, just behind where the top and bottom are joined, and tie a string to it. Once you get to the river, you’ll tie this string to a nearby tree branch or other anchor, both to secure it in one spot, and so you’ll be able to retrieve it. Finally, put a couple slices of meat in the bottle. Hot dogs work, as does pretty much any form of meat–fish heads, gristle, chum bait, etc. This, obviously, will serve as your bait.
Take your contraption, toss it in and tie it off. Leave it for at least an hour, though for best results I generally wait several–never longer than a day. The crawfish, smelling the bait, will crawl through the bottle top to eat. Once inside, they will drop to the bottom, and be unable to find their way back out. Set a few traps in as many areas, and you’ll soon have an aquatic feast ready and waiting for your collection!
A humble homesteader based in an undisclosed location, Lars Drecker splits his time between tending his little slice of self-sustaining heaven, and bothering his neighbors to do his work for him. This is mainly the fault of a debilitating predilection for fishing, hunting, camping and all other things outdoors. When not engaged in any of the above activities, you can normally find him broken down on the side of the road, in some piece of junk he just “fixed-up.”