Crayfish is an extremely popular delicacy amongst seafood lovers the world over and we are very fortunate to live in the Western Cape, an area that is well-known for it’s excellent crayfish amongst other things. During the summer months it is crayfish season in the The Fairest Cape and if you have a valid licence and the required equipment, you can go crayfishing during this period. Now neither Jaunine nor myself are into fishing or catching crayfish but we both love eating it. Fortunately we have friends that are really into catching crayfish and that have developed it into a fine art. So when we got invited to join in the fun of catching crayfish it was an easy decision to make and Jaunine promptly got herself the required licence for catching crayfish while I opted for observing this spectacle from terra firma instead.
The weather does not always play along though, but when it does it becomes an adventure worth experiencing! Let me explain – this particular group of crayfish enthusiasts are not content with just going out and catching crayfish, oh no – it has evolved into a day-long ritual that follows a very set and predictable sequence of events. No amount of explaining or photographs can accurately convey the feeling of this experience but I am going to try it nevertheless.
It usually starts off early on a Sunday morning when everybody gets together, hook up the boat on it’s trailer, pack some sandwiches and other paraphernalia, and then head off to the chosen crayfish catch-destination.
The trip to the fishing spot takes about an hour which passes very quickly because there usually is much yapping, laughter, and funny stories being exchanged. Arriving at the chosen spot the boat is quickly unloaded and prepared for launch. Crayfish nets and bait are loaded, followed by some food and beverages for the crew.
And off they go – heading for the the selected spot beyond the waves where the crayfish catch-baskets are lowered into the sea after being baited.
While our crew has shot off into the blue of the ocean things on the land side has not stood still, many enthusiasts arrive in a steady stream, prepare their boats and other watercraft, and then also head off into the waves.
Boats are usually out between one to two hours before returning, the time is usually determined by how quickly a catch is made. Several baited baskets are lowered in the water and then periodically inspected for crayfish. As soon as the quota of legal-sized crayfish is reached, it is time to head back to shore.
At last! After nearly two hours our crew is spotted, charging back to shore and the noise and racket kicked up by them is clear indication of a successful trip 🙂
Once the catch has been secured and the boat loaded on the tow-trailer, everybody heads of to the local bush-pub close by to celebrate success.
After the celebratory drinks the next event on the agenda is to head home, stopping halfway at a nearby coastal village for some ice-cream on the beach, a very important part of the ritual 🙂
After the ice cream it’s heading straight for home for the final celebration – a huge late afternoon crayfish lunch !
While the crayfish is cooked, the boat is unloaded and cleaned, and more family members and friends arrive for the feast that is soon to follow.
By now drinks have been served, side dishes and salads are on the table, and about a dozen of hungry people are ready to dig in!
After much chatting, eating, and drinking the catch of the day dwindles to a heap of empty shells while the sun is on it’s way to setting in the west.
As the sun set people lazily gets up, getting ready to go home.
Another perfect day in the Fairest Cape has come to an end 🙂