CRABBING FOR FUN: Catching the famous Maryland Blue Crabs


Crabbing is one activity everyone in the family can enjoy for hours. Maryland Blue Crabs can be found just about anywhere near the Chesapeake bay from a few inches deep to the deepest parts of the bay. Crabbing season is usually June to October. Driving along the Chesapeake waterfront, you’ll see people dangling string from the sides of the docks, piers, bridges and shorelines. They are using baited hand lines to catch the Maryland Blue Crabs. Other recreational gears to catch Blue Crabs include mesh rings, collapsible crab traps, trotlines, and dip nets. Bait hand lines and dip netting are two of the simplest ways anybody can use to catch the delicious blue crabs.

Hand Line or Bait Line Crabbing

The easy method to recreational Maryland Blue Crabbing is the bait hand line method. Tie a bait to a long string or fishing line and slowly lower it into the water. Use a weight to keep the line down. Slowly raise the line when you feel a nibble and use your net to scoop the crab on the end of your line. Crabbing with a Net near the cove or shoreline, you can use a dip net while on foot or in a boat. You have to spot the crab, dip and net it. This method requires more patience and hand-eye coordination.

Determining a Blue Crab’s gender

A crab’s gender can be determined by the shape of the abdomen on its underside. The male crab has an abdomen shaped like an inverted “T”. An adult female’s abdomen is broad and rounded. A female carrying a cluster of orange eggs beneath her apron is known as a “sponge crab and is nearly ready to spawn.

Popular crabbing places for the delectable Maryland Blue Crabs

Point Lookout Area: During warm spring weather, you can see crabs as early as May. Very popular crabbing area among those who camp at Point Lookout State Park. There are boat launching facilities within the park. Some prefer to crab from the causeway or wade the waters of the lake and skim crabs. The state park is at the end of Route 5.

Chesapeake Beach: A good crabbing area from the piers, docks and pilings. Launching facilities and rowboats for crabbing are available at Stinnett’s pier in nearby North Beach.

Wye River: Maryland’s best known crabbing area and famed for the big Wye River crabs, also good for soft and peeler crabs.

Crab Alley Bay: Fittingly named is this popular crabbing area, also in Eastern Bay. Use Crab Alley Marina for launching or boat rentals.

For more information on crabbing in your local area, contact your State fishery department. Your local area may have rules and regulations on recreational crabbing.

Here’s a few points to remember when you are out recreational crabbing:

* Remember that a single female blue crab can produce up to eight million eggs in one mating season, so try to minimize their capture.
* Keep only crabs that you are going to eat.
* Don’t leave crab pots unattended for long periods of time.
* Always wear a life vest when you are in the water.
* Know the local fishing regulations before you head out.

Summary of Maryland Tidal Recreational Fisheries Regulations