Thompson Beach Crab Raking

Greg Blewett is one of Adelaide cricket’s favourite sons. The former top order batsman did them proud playing at an international level for a good chunk of the nineties.

“We had great champions, Warnie, McGrath, the Waugh brothers, Taylor, Slater, Healy. Yunno these days a lot of teams are finding it hard to win games away from Australia, but we were able to do that, beat the West Indies over there. That was the first time they’d been beaten for a long time, in ‘95”.

He was part of the team that won a record 16 consecutive tests … but how does he go under pressure, taking part in a uniquely South Australian pastime – crab raking.

Thompson Beach is well known for its blue swimmer crabs, which can be harvested from October to April.  Blewy’s used the raking method before with his dad, and they got heaps. “I trod on one and he gave me a good nip, his claw was still on my toe!”

Most people head out to have a crack when the tide is out, so it’s quite a hike out through the channels. They wear reef boots or old sandshoes and tie a tub to their waste to float their catch back to shore, as the tide rises.

Once you spot one of the tasty crustaceans, it’s a fairly simple matter of placing the rake behind the crab, raking over the top, then swivelling the handle to pick up and flick the critter into your tub.

That’s the theory, but if Scotty and Blewy’s methods are anything to go by, you first dig in the wrong spot, then turn the rake too early, and then do a little dance to avoid the escaping crab from latching onto your boot.

In South Australia the minimum legal size for blue swimmer crabs is 11cm, across the carapace from the base of the largest spines. There’s a personal daily bag limit of 20, and females with external eggs must be returned to the water.