By Patrick D. Bonin
Branch, LA – Getting the crawfish into our traps is just half the battle here at Fruge Aquafarms. Getting them out of the traps, cleaned up, sorted, sacked and ready for your pot are the other vital pieces of the mudbug harvest equation!
And considering that we bait and empty about 11,000 traps each and every morning during the height of crawfish season, you can just about imagine the time and manpower that it takes day-in and day-out just to get the crawfish out of the ponds.
Our secret weapons in the process are our custom-made crawfish boats!
These 14-foot aluminum boats are outfitted with four 13-inch tires (two on each side) and one big paddlewheel, which actually churns in the mud on the pond bottoms to propel the boat forward.
And our fishermen use foot pedals, not a steering wheel, to navigate through the ponds hands-free, so they’re easily able to empty the crawfish traps onto a sorting tray and keep the process moving.
And speaking of moving: the boat rarely stops during the entire harvesting process. Traps are carefully spaced so the fisherman has time to grab it, empty it and re-bait it just in time to place it back in the pond and pick up the next trap.
So why have wheels on the boat? To make traveling from pond to pond easier and more time-efficient.
“The four wheels allow the boats to be amphibious,” said Mark Frugé, co-owner of Frugé AquaFarms. “We’re able to drive on land for short distances, cross farm roads and get into and out of the ponds pretty easily.”
Mark explained that when harvesting for the day is complete in one pond, the fisherman can simply drive out and head for the next pond, so the whole harvesting process can begin again. The paddlewheel provides the power, and the tires provide clearance for the boat to ease over the land
This way, fishermen don’t have to waste time getting their gear and bait into and out of several boats throughout the day: it streamlines the process and makes the tough task of harvesting all those mudbugs a bit more efficient.
The Frugé Aquafarms custom-made crawfish boat: that’s just how we roll.. and float!