If you are considering a dip in the Karuah River – Look out! I’m receiving reports of mean tempered giants rumbling through the mangroves in the dark of night. 

They have big hard shell and beady eyes on a stick with two powerful claws that could snap a broom handle. They’re scary monsters that feed on bivalve gastropods including mussels, pipis, fingers and toes.

They answer to many names – muddie, punga, black and mangrove crab. These thumpers, which could be mistaken for a turtle, are stomping through the muddy shallows right through the western harbour.  From Soldiers Point west to the upper reaches of Tilligerry Creek and the Karuah River, these wild crustaceans are out of control. 

They’ve also been sighted in North Arm Cove, Swan Bay and Fame Cove. These crabs can be caught with a trap set among the mangroves. Check out the NSW Fisheries Hand Book for all the regulations.

Your real trouble starts when you lift the trap to find that you have caught one! How to get it out? How to encourage the outraged beast to crawl into a cooking pot. The best tip is to lower the crab into a freezer then, after 15 minutes, they are easier to handle.

Fishing writer, author and radio presenter John “Stinker” Clarke can be heard weekly, throughout NSW, on popular ABC Regional Radio fishing program “The Big Fish”. Check him out on www.stinker.com.au or send an email to editor@manningcommunitynews.com with your information and questions. 

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