Crab Gab

Everything you need to know about the blue crab…maybe too much.


Apron:
The crab abdomen, which is folded under the body.
 

Bare potting:
An unbaited pot is placed in a barren area where the crab goes for a place to hide.
 

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Buck and rider:
A pair of mating crabs; a doubler.
 

Buckram crab:
A crab past the paper-shell stage but not in the true hard-shell condition; approximately 12 to 24 hours after the shed.
 

Buffalo crab:
Soft crab with the claws missing.
 

Buster:
Molting crab beginning to emerge from its shell.
 

Carapace:
The top part of the shell that is removed to clean the crab.
 

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Channeler or chandler:
Large male that remains in the deeper channels of the bay or river.
 

Dead man’s fingers: 
The gills, located under the carapace or top shell.
 

Fat crab (also green crab):
Refers to a crab approaching the molting stage and showing a white-rim color sign within the margins of two outer segments of the swimming legs. Also describes any crab, between the buckram and peeler stages, with firm meat.
 

Green crab:
White-rim crab. Sometimes the raw (uncooked) crab.
 

Hard crab:
Crab with a hard shell; following the buckram condition.
 

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Jimmy crab, Jimmy dick, Jimmy channeler:
A very large male crab.
 

Jimmy crabbing:
Male crab is tethered swimming on a string to catch a female.
 

Jimmy potting:
Seasonal method for catching female crabs that did not reach terminal molt the year before. Two or three Jimmies are placed in a pot to attract females. Used during the last two weeks in May.
 

Lick:
Describes dredging for crabs. A dredge is drawn across the bottom to catch wintering crabs or summer soft shells.
 

Mustard:
Yellow substance in a cooked crab under the carapace. It is part of the crab’s digestive system.
 

Nicking or breaking a crab:
Break a moveable finger of the claws to prevent its use.
 

Paper shell:
A crab past the soft-shell stage but not yet a buckram. Approximately nine to 12 hours after the molt.
 

Peeler crab:
Hard crab that has a fully formed soft shell beneath. A red sign crab.
 

Pink sign (rim) crab:
Following the white sign condition. A thin pink line along the inner border of the back fin (paddle) about one week before the molt.
 

Rank or rank peeler:
Red sign peeler approximately two hours before busting.
 

Sally crab:
Immature female, the apron is still attached. She-crab.
 

Shed:
Either the empty shell or the process of casting off the shell.
 

Soft crab:
Crab that has just shed its old shell and now has a soft pliable shell before hardening.
 

Sook:
A mature female.
 

Sponge crab:
Female crab carrying an egg mass, berried crab, busted sook, cushion crab, lemon bellie, lemon crab.
 

Terminal molt:
The final molt, usually associated with the female because, at this time, mating takes place while in the soft-shell state.
 

“Ticky” crab:
One that smells of iodoform, probably because of eating a marine bottom animal called Balanoglossus.

 

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