Many motorists pass over the Parish Line Canal on I-10 going into Kenner and never know that one of the top crabbing spots in the area lies in the waters below.
The Parish Line Canal is located on the western end of Jefferson Parish and is the borderline for St. Charles Parish on Lake Pontchartrain. The quickest way to get there is to launch at Williams Boulevard near the Treasure Chest Casino on Lake Pontchartrain and make a 2.5-mile boat ride westward.
From that point, you just have to follow the shoreline until the mouth of the canal appears.
I met Jacob Thompson, Vicki Danna and her daughter, Kristen, for a recent trip. We launched at 10 a.m.
Growing up on the canals and bayous south of Houma, Vicki was anxious to show her daughter her crabbing skills.
"I grew up hunting and fishing with my dad. He made us pull up crab traps while he ran the boat and that was hard work," Vicki said. "These drop nets will be a lot easier to catch crabs."
On our way to the Parish Line Canal, Jacob and Kristen baited the drop nets with speckled trout heads caught on a previous fishing trip.
"We usually use chicken leg quarters for bait but today we have the best bait for crabs, speckled trout heads!" Jacob said excitedly.
When we arrived at the Parish Line Canal, a dredging company was setting up equipment with two tugboats. I usually start at the beginning of the canal and work towards I-10, but we had to drop the nets further down the canal so we wouldn’t interfere with the tug boats.
Jacob gave Vicki a quick tutorial on setting the drop nets.
"Throw the cork line out first, grab it by the bridle and drop the nets every 50 yards," he said.
Being a quick learner, Vicki jumped on task and set out the 30 nets just like Jacob had instructed while I drove the boat.
It’s important to pick up the drop nets going into the current. If the drop nets are raised with the current, the nets will come behind the boat and roll, which allows the crabs to escape. Against the current the cork line is raised straight up and the drop net will come up even with the boat.
We established the current line and raised the nets going towards the lake. After our first run we had three dozen crabs. Vicki was very impressed but Jacob told her that it was a bad run by our standards.
We checked them twice more and only caught a total of six dozen crabs, so we picked the entire set of nets and dropped them closer to I-10.
On our following run we were catching three and four crabs in each net and after two more runs we had 15 and a half dozen crabs.
By 1:30 p.m., we had caught enough to call it a day.
|Kristen Danna, Jacob Thompson and Vicki Danna with crabs caught in the Parish Line Canal using drop nets.|