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Field preperation Harvesting Processing
Harvesting
  • Setting Traps
  • Bait
  • Running traps


      Harvesting is when the crawfish are actually pulled out of the field.  To harvest the crawfish, traps are placed in the field to catch the crawfish.  Click for larger picture These traps operate in much the same way as a crab trap.  They are made of a chicken wire mesh and have a three-sided pyramid shape.  At the points of the pyramid are three holes.  These holes have a funnel shape to them that allows the crawfish to enter the trap, but will not allow them to leave.  The top of the trap sits out of the water, and a large 6 hole is placed in the top of the pyramid to allow for retrieval of the crawfish.  Crawfish are amazingly good climbers and will scale the chicken wire to get out the large hole in the top.  To prevent the crawfish from escaping the trap, the top of the trap ends in a PVC pipe.  Once the crawfish reach the PVC pipe, they can no longer climb and usually retreat back into the water.
     When harvesting begins, bait will be placed in the traps to attract the crawfish.  This bait could range from anything like dried blood bait that dissolves in water, to dry fish bait that dissolves in water, to actual pieces of fish.  This bait is placed in the trap one or two days before the trap is checked.  Hundreds of these traps will be placed in the field, and each trap will catch between 1 or 2 crawfish to a dozen crawfish.  We prefer the later, but often get the former.
Click for larger picture      On the day of harvest, we take a special boat called the crawfish combine out into the field.  The crawfish combine is a boat with a cleated hydraulic wheel attached to the front of the boat.  This wheel pulls the crawfish combine through the water allowing it to go in water that is much too shallow for other boats to travel.  The boat will be loaded up with bait and large plastic buckets.  Beginning in the morning, workers will take the crawfish combine out into the field.  At each trap, the trap will be lifted out of the water and the crawfish dumped into the bucket.  The trap will then be baited for the next day and placed back in the water.  This will be repeated for each trap until all the traps have been checked.  The trap is not selective in what it catches, and will sometimes contain other things beside crawfish including fish, turtles, and snakes.  Lifting a trap up with a snake in it will wake a person up much faster than coffee ever will.
     Once all the traps are checked, the buckets are loaded up and are taken off to the purging tanks to be processed. 


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