It seems brutal at times. Completely counterintuitive for hunting and killing to be part of any courtship routine. Actually, it fits quite well. Perhaps it’s the hunter, gatherer instinct.
Recently my county beau and I have stepped this up a little and I’m not talking about when we went shooting feral pigs on a Sunday – that was a one-off.
It’s the crayfish. They consume my thoughts and have even clawed their way into my dreams.
Yesterday we checked our traps three times, all before 5pm, and the haul was smaller each time. Perhaps we are checking too often, or we need to move the traps. These are in depth discussions with an intensity akin to a bikram yoga workout. My third waking thought this morning was about the traps. How many yabbies would have fallen prey to our cunning trap last night? But grand final fever has taken over and trap checking will have to wait. Apparently there are more important things than yabbies on such a historic day. It’d be like watching a documentary instead of the Olympics. Ridiculous.
But the yabbie fervour will continue. There are grand plans afoot to create a habitat of yabbies and breed them. Of course the poor critters will be sold as bait but they will have an enriched life. No cage yabbies out here.
For me, the excitement is in the catching. Pulling in a trap to see how many have been fooled by the liver bait is more exciting than a double-yolk egg. I have even learned how to hold the scary looking beasts without their gnarly claws finding a way around my fingers. That was a proud moment.
An interesting fact about yabbies for you – they are vegetarians but you can catch them with meat because they try to get it out of their space. Also they are vicious. One big sucker took his mate’s claw off the other day while they were in the bag together. Brutal.
It’s been a learning curve for me. I’d never been yabbying before and not all of the moments have been a source of pride. The first trip out was an interesting affair.
I assured my yabbying companion the end of the rope was secure after he had baited the trap.
“Are you sure,” he checked. “Yep.” Surely I could hold onto a piece of bloody wire.
He cast the yabbie pot into the brown murky water and the thin strip of red electrical cable, our only tenuous tie to the trap, slipped straight out of my slippery hand.
“You said you had it!”
“Yep,” I replied. And we watched the pot sink into the muddy water in murky silence.
He enlisted a stick for help, plucking at the water in a lucky dig that was never going to produce more than a wet stick. I rolled up my cargo pants – the only sort of pants you can wear on such an expedition – and began my journey into the middle of the pond with serious trepidation. It was bloody freezing and the clay more slippery than a freshly mopped bathroom floor but that yabbie trap came back out and I hung onto the wire the next time.
Now, these shenanigans are just part one of the hunting tale. Once we decide to attach the crayfish to a fishing hook things really get out of hand. That’s another tale for another time. I’ve got to go and check the crayfish pots.