No photos. No crabs. End of story.
Alright, a little bit of story.
If there are any blue crabs in the waters of southern Maryland, we didn’t see them. For TWO weekends running.
Over the Labor Day weekend — which was actually four days for us because we took Tuesday as a vacation day — we had our crab pot deployed and fully baited with the stinky oily fish that draws the local crabs like moths to a flame. We put the trap in the water on Friday night and only checked once per day, so as to maximize the downtime for the trap. No crabs Saturday. Three tiny crabs and one legal size male on Sunday, which we left in the pot. Just the one male on Monday. Tuesday delivered just the one male and an empty carapace, both of which we released back to the water.
Four days in the water and only one keeper in the crab pot? And only four crabs total for the entire period? How is that possible?
This past weekend we didn’t even bother with the trap, because we didn’t see any living crabs anywhere. Not in the shallows. Not in the riprap. We heard some kids netting an occasional crab off the pilings, but we didn’t actually see any ourselves. Cindy and I were getting kind of desperate for crabs and did the unthinkable… we called the local seafood market a mile away from the boat to buy a dozen crabs. Early in the morning to make sure we got some.
And they didn’t have any!!!
The guy I talked to said he was very sorry, but the local crabbing was so bad he had none to offer me.
It’s not just that business either.
Where we slip our boat is like a minor thoroughfare for the local watermen and there are around six of them that go out and come back several times per day. Not head boat fishermen, these are commercial watermen that run trot lines and large crab pot fields, plus the semi-permanent fish traps in the shallower areas of the Potomac River.
Everyday that we’re on the boat, they pass close enough on their return to the docks that we can see their catches. And this summer it’s all been fish. No crabs.
The only crab we saw all weekend was the empty husk of one, upside down in the riprap close to shore. Was it a molted husk? Or carcass? Dunno.
We are very concerned because the crab count for us in our little part of the Bay is wildly off what it was this same time last year.
I just hope it’s not what we see next year.