Des Allemands man catches own crawfish to save money

Heather R. Breaux
March 18, 2009 at 9:20 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Perry Shifflett of Des Allemands catches his own crawfish instead of paying high prices at market.
Photo by Heather R. Breaux
Perry Shifflett of Des Allemands catches his own crawfish instead of paying high prices at market.
On an overcast Sunday morning, Perry Shifflett of Des Allemands prepared nearly 75 pounds of crawfish, complete with all the trimmings, for family and friends.

Even with crawfish prices still at undesirable levels, these crustaceans didn’t cost him a penny. And that’s because he caught his own.

Shifflett, whose father taught him how to catch crawfish as a child, says that he’s been quite successful running crawfish traps in local canals and off the banks this season.

“I’m catching nice, medium-grade crawfish right now,” Shifflett said. “I’ve been hitting the water just about every other day running and checking my traps.

“The crawfish are shedding right now, so in a few weeks we’ll probably start seeing a larger size.”

Crediting his south Louisiana heritage, Shifflett says that he knows just what baits to use to keep his traps full.

“I always use shad and artificial crawfish bait pellets,” he said. “Over the years, I’ve gained a lot of experience, and have come to learn that these two baits make a great combination.”

With several friends and family members also pegged as avid fishermen, Shifflett tries to make crawfishing a family affair.

“I’ll bring my wife and sons out in the boat sometimes when I’m checking the traps,” he said. “The boys seem to like it - well that is until the snacks run out.”

While every crawfisher is sure to have his own method of running traps, most also like their mudbugs cooked a certain way.

“After I’ve checked all the traps, I rinse off the crawfish and let them soak in clean water for about an hour,” said Shifflet. “Then I heat up the pot and boil the potatoes for 5 minutes.”

Once the potatoes are finished boiling, Shifflett then adds the crawfish and all the traditional garnish like corn on the cob, cut sausage, whole onions and garlic cloves.

“I just boil for my friends and family, so normally I stick to what everyone will like,” he said. “But we do add other things like bell peppers, cauliflower and mushrooms. You can pretty much put whatever you like in it.”

Shifflett boils his crawfish using a tasty mix of Zatarain’s seasonings and lemons, and tops off the Cajun cuisine with a half bottle of liquid crab boil.

“Once all the ingredients are in the pot, I boil them for 6 minutes,” said Shifflett. “Then I add the liquid crab boil and let everything soak for around 20 minutes. This helps lock in the flavor.”

Shifflett points out that crawfishing is something that anyone can do, especially if you have the right supplies.

“All you need is a set net or a wire-pillow trap, and some bait,” he added. “Then, just find a local canal with a good fishing bank and drop your nets. The best time to go crawfishing is after a good rain.

“I’ve been crawfishing all my life and crabbing for 17 years. It’s something that I’ve always enjoyed doing. I just like being out on the bayou.”

View other articles written Heather R. Breaux

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