Yesterday I fulfilled a lifelong dream of mine. We drove up to Strawberry Reservoir and caught crawdads. It was a riot. We brought a rotisserie chicken and a bag of rolls along for a little beachside picnic. Craig, Meg and Greg (sounds like a Dr. Seuss book, right?) and Yo Hey (that's a phonetic spelling of our new friend's name) accompanied us on our outing.
After devouring the savory greasy chicken, we took chunks of the carcass and tied them to the ends of string. Greg went out into the water first and launched his line. He didn't catch anything for a while, but we didn't get discouraged. Yo Hey took a dip in the frigid water while I continued preparing lines with bait. We moved over a ways to a rockier area and continued tossing out lines and waiting. Nothing. Then Yo Hey, crayfish ninja master, spotted a crawdad right where we were standing. We had no idea they'd be so close. We started luring it with the chicken, and it slowly emerged from its rocky lair. The crawdad circled the chicken and then decided he wasn't interested, but Greg had already positioned himself to lunge for the unlucky crustacean. Greg snatched it out of the water with his bare hand and tossed it in a five gallon bucket.
Then the frenzy began. Yo Hey and Greg continued spotting them all over, and one after another we baited the crawdads and scooped them up. Yo Hey found a badminton racket on the shore which he and Greg used to capture them. In the end we only caught eight crayfish, but that was more than enough for a sampling. We left a little early to get Samuel back, and Greg and Yo Hey met us at our place to cook them up, along with Luke. Greg and Yo Hey pulled them out of the cooler and stabbed them all in the head (Greg read that this is the quickest, most painless death, although they continued to move around long after the lobotomy was inflicted). Then we threw them in a big pot of boiling water until they turned bright red. We savagely ripped off their tails and cracked them open. Armed with butter, garlic and salt we carefully extracted the meat and scarfed it down. Yo Hey figured out you could get meat out of the claws too, and we pretty much dissected every part of the animal to get every morsel. It's a good thing we hadn't planned on them for dinner, because we would've needed about thirty times as much. But it was a glorious experience, and definitely something I'll want to try again.
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5 months ago