As mid-June approaches, crabbers have been encouraged by reports of good catches for this time of year. On June 8, instead of joining my friend who caught 1 1/2 bushels in Shipping Creek, I chose to crab the upper Chesapeake, as many readers requested a report for this area.
Somewhat disappointed, I caught only three crabs using 20 traps in 7 to 8 feet of water on the western side of Hart/Miller Island, and no crabs in the Gunpowder River in front of the state park. I'm expecting the upper bay to become more productive later in the summer and will keep readers updated.
This past Monday, I returned to Eastern Bay off Kent Narrows, dropped 40 traps on the eastern shoreline and caught my first bushel of dark, heavy males in just over two hours. The crabbing then slowed a bit, but I managed to get a second bushel by 11: 30 a.m.
Areas reporting average catches of a bushel include Thompson's Creek, Crab Alley and the mouth of the Magothy.
If you are planning to go crabbing, be aware of the state laws:
Crabbing season runs April 1-Nov. 30.
Crabbing is closed on Wednesdays except for hand lines, dip nets and pots at private piers.
Crabbing is allowed from 5: 30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the main bay, and 5: 30 a.m. to sunset in tributaries
Crabbing without a license:
Unlimited hand lines are permitted 24 hours a day from boats, piers, pilings and/or shorelines.
Waterfront property owners may have two crab pots.
Ten collapsible traps/ring nets is allowed per person.
A person on a boat is allowed a 600-foot trot line and/or 10 collapsible traps/ring nets. If two or more persons are on a boat, they are allowed a maximum of 25 traps/ring nets and/or two 600-foo trot lines.
There is a maximum catch of one bushel per person or two bushels per boat.
Crabbing with a sportsman's license ($5 fee):
A combination of 30 collapsible traps/ring nets plus a 1,200-foot trot line is allowed per boat with licensed person.
The allowed catch is two bushels per person, with a maximum of three bushels per boat with one licensed person.
For more information, visit my Web site at http: //www.members.home.net/thecrabman
Pub Date: 6/17/99