8 dozen crabs caught in Parish Canal
Avery Lirette with a large crab caught in the Parish Canal.
This time of year, the Parish Canal in Lake Pontchartrain is prime real estate when it comes to catching crabs.
With the weather clearing on Friday, I met Karl Lirette, of Destrehan, at his home and we quickly cut up some chicken leg quarters for bait. We headed to the Kenner boat launch at the end of Williams Boulevard near the Treasure Chest Casino and went out into Lake Pontchartrain.
From there, we headed west for the 3-mile boat ride to the Parish Canal. The lake was unsettled from the thunderstorms earlier in the week but still had 2-to-3-foot waves due to a north wind. We took our time between the waves and reached the mouth of the Parish Canal within 20 minutes.
Immediately, we began baiting and setting the drop nets on the left side of the canal in 5 to 7 feet of water. The line of nets stretched almost a half mile along the rocked bank of the canal.
Returning to the start of the drop nets, I showed Karl how to raise them. To our surprise, we had two large blue crabs in the first net. I dumped the crabs in the holding barrel and went through the nets.
Avery and Ben Lirette, Karl’s daughter and son, were excited to see the crabs.
"I have the first one, Ben has the second and Dad, you can do the third," 8-year-old Avery said.
After our first run we had more than three dozen nice crabs.
After our next runs, our catch decreased. We moved the nets towards the interstate and finished the morning with eight dozen.
On the ride back to the launch, the winds subsided and the wave action decreased. We made it back to Karl’s house within 45 minutes.
"It’s 1 p.m. and we are home," Karl said. "The Parish Canal is an amazing place to crab."
Karl said he had crossed the canal hundreds of times on the interstate and never imagined that the crabbing action there could be so good.
"I can’t wait for the return trip," he said. "Now it’s time to boil some crabs."
Method of boiling crabs
•Put water into the boiling pot ½ full
•Add 1 box of salt
•Add 1/3 of a 16-ounce jar of Cayenne pepper
•Add potatoes, sausage, sweet potatoes and anything you like to boil.
•Bring to a boil and then add the crabs.
•Bring the water back to a boil and time nine minutes. Shut the fire off and cool the pot by adding ice or water to stop the boiling.
•Let sit for 30 more minutes. Serve the crabs, but keep the crabs upside down, or belly up. This holds the seasoned water in the shells until they are ready to eat.
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