When we were young my brother and I crabfished

Along a great big stone wall

That blocked off a pond

From flowing with the river

On the end of our weighted crab lines

A chunk of fleshy mackerel

The smell was strong

So strong

We couldn’t think of anything else

We walked alongside the edge of the wall

Dropping our lines, letting them unroll

Till it hit the bottom

Of the pond


We didn’t have to wait long

The crabs were very hungry today

We could feel the weight of our lines

And guess quite accurately

How many crabs there were


One crab was okay

Two crabs, better

Three crabs, wow, quite a clump

Four crabs, How do they manage to all stay on like that?!

Five crabs and you’re a crabfisher god


We brought extra large sized buckets

With fresh water from the pond

So that the crabs had plenty of space to

breathe and maneuver


We could watch them for hours at a time

Different sized crabs

Two varities of colour

Green and orange underbellies

With a thick brown armour

Claws as big (or in some cases, bigger) than their bodies

All clamouring over eachother

Occasionally fighting for space

Breathing angry bubbles


When it got too cramped

Or if they were in there too long

We released them into an area

Where the others wouldn’t get to them


The other children made me question life

From a very early age

They’d catch crab after crab

Squeezing them all into a tiny little bucket

I feel sorry for the ones that were rammed in first


They had no way of breathing, or moving for that matter

All the while being crushed by the weight

Of crabs on top of them


When the bucket was full to the brim

The children

Emptied the buckets across the concrete wall

To find more than half were corpses

They were feasted on by seagulls

Broken open

Their bodies exposed to the sun


The lucky (or unlucky) crabs

That fled into the water

Were only to be caught again

By other children exacting the same process


The children, smiling without a care

Without remorse

Whinging to their parents

That they were bored and wanted to go home

The parents, unaffected

Held their childs hands

Walking away





Author: Jack Bennett

Born in Torbay, living in Bristol. One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.

6 thoughts on “Crabfishing”

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