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Our first experience crawfishin’ was in a pond. Venturing out to a deep water swamp on the Belle River with Jody Meche was a lot different and so were the crawfish.

High Water Marks on Trees Photo- Maralyn D. Hill
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High Water Marks on Trees Photo- Maralyn D. Hill

 

It was quite a ride on the river to the area of the swamp where Jody has his traps. Traps were large and pulled every three days, emptied, baited and reset. The trees were marked with Jody’s tape to indicate his territory and somewhat further apart. The current was strong and the traps were set to maximize the water flow. However, the crawfishermen go out every day to pull, bait, and replace traps.

 

This boat was not as conducive for us to do much more than watch, take photos, and listen to the stories. When one of the traps surfaced with a good size snake, fortunately dead, I was glad I wasn’t the one pulling the traps.

 

The water marks on the trees show how swamp level changes, depending on how the river is controlled and water is released in other areas to prevent flooding.  There are stories pro and con as to what is the right thing to do according to the fisherman or the land owners. It’s quite interesting to hear both points of view.

 

Basin crawfishing depends on the river and the flow to nurture the crawfish and bait to draw them into the net traps. The cost involved is quite high between buying the equipment, boat, motor, keeping it repaired, and driving a good distance before boating just as far to start fishing.

 

Instead of these caught today going to a processing plant, we took them back for our own crawfish dinner that Byron Blanchard and Dona Richard arranged. Once cooked, they were tossed is a special crawfish table, which had a funnel in the middle for the shells as we peeled and enjoyed along with boiled potatoes, onions, sweet corn and beer.

 

Learning, eating, and enjoying–it couldn’t get any better.

 

Breaux Bridge is going to be putting together a package that allows visitors to experience both types of crawfishing, from water to table, and other highlights of the area. It is about a six week window of opportunity. If you think you’d be interested, please email Dona Degatur Richard at ddr@cajuncountry.org  or drop be a line and I’ll forward your information. I’d highly recommend it.

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Peeling Crawfish Lesson Photo: Maralyn D. Hill
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Peeling Crawfish Lesson Photo: Maralyn D. Hill

 

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