Outdoor Life Online Editor

A couple of summers ago, an old friend and I launched my boat shortly before sunset. The plan was to run across Long Island Sound before dark and fish the ebb tide for overweight striped bass.

I get dyslexic around tide charts, so we arrived at low tide instead of high. Luckily my fishing partner couldn’t tell which way the water was flowing. We’ll fish the flood instead of the ebb, I thought.

As the boat edged its way over a shallow, eel-grass-filled cove, my buddy suddenly froze, pointed to a sandbar in the grass and said, “There’s a keeper blue crab right there. Got a crab net?”

I handed him my net and he scooped up the crab. One mature crab would make a great snack for our evening on the water.

He kept scooping up crabs, one after the other. Problem is, he wasn’t paying attention to where they were landing in the boat.

The sun set and he kept scooping big blue crabs, first setting a goal of 10, then 20, then 30. Greed reigned on his part; for me, it was nervousness at so many crustaceans scurrying about the deck.

Now the fun part. We tried every method we could think of to get the suckers into the live well. Of course, the only efficient way was to stick our hands in the tussle and fling the crabs inside. If we paused for a second the demons would put our fingers in a vise grip. Floating through the darkness we sounded like a distress signal, letting out a loud yelp every few seconds.

When we had finished, the live well had 38 of these evil-tempered beings locked up in a single mass. I shuddered; the water in the well was tinted red with blood spilled from the nasty bites. Not to worry, I told my friend. Once the crabs are boiled, our teeth will treat them like their claws treated us: without mercy.