I went crabbing down near Solomons last Friday for a little while. I was chicken necking from the shore and didn’t have any trouble finding the crabs and getting them close to the net. My problem was getting them in the net. Managed to catch a couple of big boys, but lost at least a dozen or more – the crabs would let go as soon as they saw me.
To try and improve my luck, I ordered a CrabHawk (www.crabhawk.com). I placed the order on Monday and received it yesterday – pretty impressive considering it came from Oregon.
So far, I am impressed with its construction and simplicity – I can’t wait to give it a try this weekend. I am going crabbing in Annapolis or back down to Solomons – I will post a follow-up after I field test my new toy.
Managed to make it down to St. Marys on Saturday with the kids. What a great place to hang out. I threw the cast net and caught a bunch of little fish to keep the kids occupied with their "pets".
Tossed a line out around 25 feet with a chicken neck and small weight and used the infamous CrabHawk on a 10 ft. surf rod with 50 lb mono.
First observation - the CrabHawk is heavier than it looks/feels when trying to cast. It is also less aerodynamic than I thought - a good cast was around 100 feet.
Second onservation - the thing worked well and always hit the water and sank to the bottom in the open position.
Third observation - the trap was designed for dungeness crabs which are a lot larger than blues - I had a hard time detecting nibbles and ended up pulling in the trap every 5 minutes - regardless of what was happening to the tip of my rod.
Fourth observation - blue crabs are fast....to improve the closing speed I probably need a stiffer rod (no comment) and should use one of the braided lines (no stretch) as recommended.
Bottom line - I ended up catching 6 keeper crabs. Total number of crabs caught was around 10. 3 of the crabs were easily number ones and the other three were mediums. All very full and tasty. Not bad for a couple of hours playing around with the kids - considering #1 males are going for $30 - $35/doz.
I caught 5 crabs with the CrabHawk, but only one of the crabs was a keeper. The other 5 keeper crabs were all caught with the hand line.
Me thinks I need a little more research. I am going to send a note to the CrabHawk company and see if they have any tips on catching blue vs. dungeness. One factor may have been the distance from shore - the larger crabs may have been close in for soem reason - most of my CrabHawk casts were around 25 yards.
I am still impressed with the construction of the trap - I am not ready to give up yet...........
In the town of St. Marys there is a small city park that runs along the water. You can park on the side of the road and carry you stuff 40 feet to the water's edge.
The shoreline has fairly narrow stretches of sand (~20 feet wide) - like I mentioned, great for kids to play.
As you come into town, you cross a small bridge - this is also a good spot.
A lot of people wade into the water (around 4 ft. deep) and run trot lines - usually around 100 feet. Then they walk the trot line with a bucket or cooler every now and then using a net to catch the crabs.
I simply throw out a line with a 1/2 oz weight and chicken neck - around 20 to 25 feet. I lay the line on the sand with a coil - if you see the coil unwinding or the line moving off to the side, you know a crab is there.
I have improved my catch ratio by netting the crabs with a sweeping motion coming from the back - rather than the side.
Although people were fishing, I never saw anything caught - not sure if this is a good place for fish.
Skeeter you need to leave the bait out longer, you won't feel a nibble most of the time. I would leave the bait at least 15-20 min. before I checked it, the longer the better. what you will notice is the trap moving away, they like to swim off with dinner.
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