"Mudbugs", "Crawdads", "Crayfish" - "Super creepy mini lobsters"... As I like to call them.. OK, Straight to the point..
These delectable, hard shelled, exoskeleton, freaky, freshwater snacks are actually pretty awesome! If you like to hunt the West, chances are lunch has been hanging out under your nose undetected for some time!
It wasn't until semi recently (I dont dare age myself here..) that a fellow outdoorsman offered my hunting crew the scoop on these aqua nugget poppers. While they take a bit of time to prepare properly, the mid day down time while deer hunting is usually well served.
In my first ever blog post, I will give you some tips and tricks on how you can fill a pot and a belly with these critters to pass some time.
Where are they located??
I mainly hunt Nevada and Arizona. In my experience, I can tell you there are few; if any, fresh water streams and reservoirs that do NOT have a decent amount of crawdads scavenging the bottoms. One caveat I will make, is that everywhere I have seen rainbow trout, I have found crawdads.
How do I catch these ugly bastards?
Here is where things get interesting! This is very dependent on several factors. A. Your current blood alcohol level. B. Your level of patience. C. Which fool proof wives tale method you would like to use to catch them!
Sober? Here are my favorite methods: Crawdad trap or the "Slow Reel" method. Crawdads traps are available at most big box outdoor stores. Throw in some camp scraps (Ex. Lunch meat, fried chicken, basically whatever you have some spare of) and let the trap soak nearest the bottom for a few hours- Leave a string attached to the trap so you can retrieve it. Check it periodically thru out the day and reap your rewards.
Now the "Slow Reel" method takes a bit of mastery! This method combines the snooty smoothness of fly fishing with the pure grit of alligator wrastling. Basically, you are going to tie your bait onto the end of a fishing line. I prefer a hookless line attached to an upper end WalMart children's sized pole. Bait remains the same for all methods. I like a stout deli meat such as salami to tie off on the end of the line. Utilizing a self proclaimed "That'll do" type knot, tie that meat off so the crawdads are unable to pull it from the line once they begin munching. You will typically feel the tug once the feeding frenzy has begun. This is where the prowess and skill come into play! In a slow fluid motion you will reel the bait and crawdad ashore. Once within nettin' range you will have to lower your net under the crawdad and bait. Crawdads first reaction is always to swim backward. Once the net is behind the crawdad decrease the space between the net and the crawdad. Game over!
(Photo 2 shows seasoned Crawdadders utilizing a sophisticated net constructed from an RV trashcan and a stick; practicing the slow reel method. Granted these are not WalMart children's poles but effective nonetheless)
Tipsy? Ya, we have a solid method for this type of crawdaddin' as well. It involves a spotlight, a shoreline and minimal clothing. These critters like to come ashore on their own in the evening and become prime pickins for snatch and grab predators such as myself. When it comes to technique for this method, unfortunately you will have to develop your own. Id tell you mine, but.. This is a patent pending technique for a later date.. No photo for this method but possibly soon on my onlyfans.
Just eat em raw?!?!
No, No, No, relax- Im getting there! Ok, so. Cooking methods are pretty straight forward. I prefer to "Purge" the mini shrimp for several hours prior to cooking. This involves a cooler full of water and a slightly uncomfortable amount of salt. Combine crawfish into salt water and let em soak for a while in order to A. Clean off the shells B. Clean out the digestive track of the crawfish. After soaking a few hours rinse the crawfish well with clean water. Discard any dead crawfish- dont ask my why- Google says so? You'd probably be fine to cook and eat the recently deceased crawdads but I wouldn't risk it.. Some dude, somewhere, told his buddy the reason and now no one does it. Trust that dude, I don't need the details..
For a final cook, throw them into a pot of boiling water at camp. If you are blessed with a huge catch and need additional space, use a pan, the crawfish can care less regardless..
(Shown above is the dude who married my sister- Apprentice crawdadder, receiving guidance and coaching on his cooking techniques from my Father- farthest left in the photo.)
I prefer to add a bit of seasoning salt into liquids while they boil. Mainly because seasoning salt is the shit, and it makes me look like I know what I am doing when people watch me cook.
I will cook the Crawfish for apx. 15-20 minutes or until they turn bright red. I've never undercooked em, I don't think I have ever over cooked em either. *Pro tip, cook em until you feel satisfied and then brag you cooked em perfect when people eat them. They really are hard to screw up!
(Once complete get some blurry background pics for the Gram, throw a filter on the image and WAZAAAM dig in!!)
P.s. I don't have a degree, or a ton of spare time for proper punctuation. If you would like to discuss Grammatical errors I prefer to do so in person! Thanks for viewing!