Mud Crabs Direct is run by Mark and Julianne Grunske out of of Karumba in the Gulf country of far North Queensland
Mud Crabs Direct is run by Mark and Julianne Grunske out of of Karumba in the Gulf country of far North Queensland.
Karumba is 70 km by road from Normanton and 2100 km from Brisbane. The settlement was previously known as Norman Mouth and Kimberely. Karumba was used by the local aborigines to describe the place. This name was officially used for the township by the 1880s.
Mark and Julianne hail from Maryborough where they had an office equipment business during their early married life. Chasing a change in lifestyle, they sold out and went commercial fishing. They fished the Burdekin region for crabs for around 6 years, then moved moved to Karumba in 2002.
Karumba is now the tourist capital of Cape York, and so in 2007 Mark and Julianne decided to give hospitality their best shot and also started Croc n Crab Tours. The showpiece of that business is a big pontoon boat to take visitors to their little corner of the world on a tour of the river etc.
Mud Crabs Direct know their product backwards; when the crabbing is tough they will do a 90 nautical mile round trip a few times a week, and that’s not for the faint hearted when the Gulf weather is at it’s wildest.
HOW TO COOK MUD CRABS
Wash the mud crabs thoroughly.
Place live green mud crabs into ICE SLURRY for 35 Minutes in a container or bin, or in the freezer for 35 minutes. They go to sleep and die.
Bring pot with a good handful of salt to the boil.
Place Mud crabs in pot.
Bring to BOIL again and then cook for 22 minutes.
In another container or bin add another 3 handfuls of salt to the ice slurry
Once cooked, place mud crabs into this and when cool, clean them in the slurry water. This way the FLAVOUR with salt stays within the mud crab.
Serve on a platter and enjoy!
Q: WHAT’S THE SCIENTIFIC NAME FOR A MUD CRAB?
A: Scylla serrata
Q: HOW BIG DO MUD CRABS GET?
A: Mud Crabs can can grow to more than 25 cm shell breadth (2 kg).
Males generally growing larger than females.
Q: WHAT COLOUR ARE MUD CRABS
A: The colour of Mud Crabs varies, from dark olive-brown to greenish-blue and blue-black. Patterns of lighter coloured dots cover their walking legs.
Q: WHERE ARE MUD CRABS FOUND?
A: Mud Crabs can be found along the entire Queensland coast in sheltered estuaries, tidal flats and rivers lined with mangroves. They also inhabit tropical to warm temperate waters from Exmouth Gulf in Western Australia to the Bega River in New South Wales.
As a marine and estuarine animal they’re usually found in shallow water, but berried females occur well offshore. They favour a soft muddy bottom, often below tide level.
Q: WHAT DO MUD CRABS EAT?
A: Officially, Mud Crabs are ‘omnivorous’ scavengers. But they’re also cannibalistic, eating other crabs as well as barnacles, bivalves and dead fish.
Q: WHAT EQUIPMENT DO YOU USE TO CATCH MUD CRABS?
A: There are a variety of crab traps, in different shapes and sizes, including round, square, pyramid, collapsible and net types.
Dillys and hooks have been banned for catching Mud Crabs.
Crab traps or pots are available from most fishing supplies outlets.
Almost every pot is now made of string mesh. Which crab pot you choose is up to you and your budget. The cheap rectangular pots are as good as any, but you must check and repair them constantly, as the old crab will either walk out, or chew his way out.
Commercial pots are made by “Crabmaster” , while “Bully” pots are made in Karumba by an ex-commercial fisherman. Both are excellent, as crabs don’t get out of them and they come with a large bait-bag built into the floor of the pot.
Q: WHAT IS THE BEST BAIT FOR MUD CRABS?
A: Crabs like fresh bait, so some crabbers will change bait twice a day. Fresh fish or frames and heads are excellent, in particular whole mullet (score the flesh down the the bone). Chicken carcass or necks, and kangaroo meat and bones are also good but the secret is: it has to be FRESH.
Q: HOW DO YOU PICK UP A LIVE MUD CRAB?
A: Mud Crabs have very robust claws, used for crushing shells, so you don’t want the crab to bite you.
Pick them up with your thumb and index finger.
Hold together the base of the back two swimmer legs and lift the crab up.
That way it can’t bite you.
Q: WHERE’S THE BEST PLACE TO PLACE POTS FOR MUD CRABS?
A: Where you put the pot is the most important part of the mud crab hunt. During heavy rain, or ‘the wet’ in the tropics, the rivers are high and fresh and crabs, like most other fish, can not survive in fresh-water, so they move out along the shallow coastal flats. That’s where you put your pots at that time of the year.
But during the dry as the salt water intrudes way up the rivers and creeks you follow this salt water intrusion.
Also drop your pots in very small creeks and deep gutters as crabs use these as highways into the mangroves.
Q: WHAT RULES AND REGULATIONS APPLY WHEN CATCHING MUD CRABS?
A: Queensland law states you are allowed four pots per person, and 10 male crabs PER PERSON IN POSSESSION. It is NOT 10 crabs per day. (it’s illegal to take female crabs in Queensland). Minimum ‘take’ size on male mud crabs is 15cm. See here for measurement guide.
You must have your name and address on both the pot and float.
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