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Thought for the day - Killies & Crabs Harry White hrwhite leighnharry@earthlink.net It is a warm summer morning. Bubby and I ride down to one of the creeks that run through the boggy swamp areas. We are going to do some crabbing. As we approach the creek the fiddler crabs scurry into their holes in the boggy soil. We each cut one of those long stalks of swamp grass with the brown tail. Off goes the tail. A piece of thread with a bent pin hook is tied to the end of our swamp grass pole. Next we pull a piece of Wonder bread (Wonder bread balls up and stays on the hook) out of our lunch bags, roll it into a ball and put it on the hook. A small piece of swamp grass stalk is tied above the baited hook as a float. The baited hook is tossed into the water. BANG! The float goes under, the fight is on, the pole bends. I pick up the rod tip and up comes the killie fish. Off the hook and into the coffee can. I put a piece of drift wood over the can to keep Mr. killie fish from jumping out. After about 10 minutes we have enough killies to make up a few lines.
We made the crab lines last night. A piece of coat hanger bent into a circle and about 10 feet of string tied to it. The coat hanger loop is opened and the wire is passed through the killies mouth and out the gill. 5 or 6 killies are strung on to the loop and the loop is closed. The string is tied to a stick pushed into the boggy bank. The loop of killies is tossed into the creek to attract the crabs. We set several lines out and then go back to catching more killies.
Bubby says that one of the crab lines has gone taught, a sure sign of Mr. crab feeding. I grab the net. Bubby slowly pulls in the line. I see the crab and slip the net under the crab. Our first catch of the day. Bubby throws the line back in to the water. I carefully get the crab out of the net and pin it down with my hand. I put the net down. Now I very carefully work my hands around and grab each pincher claw. Holding the crabs pinchers in one hand my other hand grabs one of the pointy legs. You have to be careful because these blue crabs can really give you a nasty pinch. I pull the pointy leg across the crab and poke the point into the joint of the crabs claw immobilizing it. I repeat the process. Mr. crabs claws are now immobilized and put into a wet burlap bag.
Bubby and I continue to catch killies and crabs. It is getting hot. We jump into the creek, laughing, splashing and swimming. We climb out and catch a few more crabs. Hungry now we pull out our lunches, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a bit squished inside their waxed paper sandwich bags, but delicious. We talk about the Dodgers, one of many things we have in common, and how the neighborhood girls all seem to be growing bumps. We point to the few visible but hard to see hairs starting to appear on our chests. We flex our muscles and assume the Charles Atlas pose seen in magazines. We laugh. We are growing up.
We crab some more, take another swim and check out the sack. Must have 2 dozen or so crabs. Time to go home and split up the catch. Another wonderful summer day growing up on Staten Island.



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