OBX Crabbing & Shrimping

It’s vacation week for the Burchick’s, renting a five bedroom house on the Outer Banks (Kitty Hawk-Nags Head) for twelve.  The week was hot and mostly sunny.  One of the highlights for the week was to go out on a charter for some crabbing and shrimping.  No Forrest Gump references were allowed for the day.

We met Captain Marc Mitchum and his first-mate son Daniel at a marina in Wanchese, North Carolina.  His working boat was retrofitted to do shrimp trawling, and out we went.

Being from Maryland, the “Land of Pleasant Living,” we have all done crabbing, but not with commercial crab pots, and we’ve never been shrimping before.  What an experience!

Jena and Tina enjoy the ride out to the shrimping channel.

A male osprey watches from his perch, as we near his nest . . .

. . . as the mother guards two young.

Mark and Jena.

Mark, Jeb and first-mate Daniel pull in our first haul of the net.

Now it’s time to separate the catch, which included spot, flounder, lizardfish, hogchokers, crabs, croaker, mullet, and of course shrimp!

We kept the legal-sized blue crabs and the larger shrimp.  Mike had the perfect shirt for the day, “Protect and Serve.”

All other marine life “walked the plank” and back into the water, and with lots of gulls in tow.

We shrimped the Roanoke Sound and crabbed the Croatan Sound, and performed all aspects of the operations, including beheading and de-veining the shrimp.

Tina, Daniel and Mike work the second trawl.

Perfect deployment of he netting.

The net is to runs well away from the boat, and the Captain explained how different shrimping boats may have extending boom arms that carry two to four nets per sweep.

The separation of critters continues.

The larger shrimp are unceremoniously beheaded by hand, and the smaller ones returned to the Sound.

I was thinking that this size class of shrimp (mediums) makes for perfect flounder bait.

Jena holds-up our booty of over four pounds of shrimp, processed and ready for steaming with a generous amount of Old Bay seasoning, then with sides of melted butter and McCormick’s horseradish cocktail sauce!

An eco-tourism airboat passes by that was showing vacationers marsh areas, while also doing some birding.

Mike and Tina.  I think they really like each other!

We get instructions from the Captain on how commercial crabbing is performed using crab pots.

We then go on to work a series of his crab pots, pulling in the crab lines using a mechanical winch, processing the catch, and rebaiting the pots.  Jeb measures to ensure legal sizing.

Mark got several large males in this particular trap.

Tina shakes the crabs out of the pot.

At the end of four hours, we had a nearly five pound bag of shrimp on ice and an over-filled bushel of crabs.  From left to right: Mark, Jena, Jeb, Mark, Tina and Michael.

Opportunistic gulls, cormorants and brown pelicans follow near the boat.

Mark and Jeb motoring back to the marina after a successful day on the water.

On the way home, we had the shrimp and crabs steamed in Old Bay, and went on to have a phenomenal Burchick-caught dinner!  Fun was had by all!

Thank you Captain Marc Mitchum.

 

 

 

 

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