Crabbin’

Crabbin’

By Scott Lenox

Scott Lenox

Scott is the owner of Fish in OC and host of Ocean City’s fishing television show Hooked on OC. He has worked in the fishing industry and fished the waters in and around Ocean City for over 25 years.

It wasn’t a bad weather day in Ocean City today, but it wasn’t a great one either.  It was cloudy most of the day and the wind blew a little this morning, but it didn’t rain and that was a nice change.  The forecast was for a chance of showers most of the day and it looked like it could rain at any minute so I think that’s why the fishing scene was quiet.

My little man Ryan and I had a free afternoon this afternoon and had to make a decision between flounder fishing in the Fish in OC skiff or doing some crabbing.  With the chance of rain looming we decided to stick close to home and hit the local pier to see if we could catch a couple.  We couldn’t find chicken necks, but figured chicken thighs would work just as well.  We crabbed for about an hour and a half using handlines and a net and were able to catch 12 male keeper crabs and two keeper females.  It was a lot of fun and a great learning experience for my son.  Not only because I was able to teach him some crabbing technique, but also because we were able to eat something that he caught for dinner for the first time….the crabs were awesome and the experience was even better!

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Lots of people will be coming to Ocean City over the next several months and a lot of them will be doing some crabbing like Ryan and I did today so I thought I’d drop a few helpful hints for those of you that don’t know.

First off the season is from April 1 through December 31 so it is open now.

Next, you don’t have to worry about any licensing for crabbing and there are no restrictions to the time of day that you crab.  An immature female and male hard crabs must be 5″ from point to point on the shell, retention of sponge crabs is strictly prohibited and there is no size limit for mature female crabs.

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Male Blue Crab

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Immature Female Blue Crab

sponge-crab

Sponge Crab

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Mature Female Blue Crab

It is legal to crab in the coastal bays of Maryland’s Atlantic ocean and coastal tributaries using:

No more than 600 feet of baited trotline, with floats of the same color, size and shape attached to each end; or
No more than two 600-foot trotlines if two or more persons are in the boat; or
Dip nets and any number of handlines; or
No more than 10 or a combination of 10 collapsible crab traps or crab net rings per person from docks, piers, bridges, boats or shoreline; or
No more than 25, or a combination of 25, collapsible crab traps or crab net rings, if two or more persons are in a boat.

And last but not least your daily retention limits are one bushel per person or two bushels per boat if there are more than two individuals in the boat.

So there you go…now that you have a little insight on what you’re looking at and what you can keep, go grab some chicken necks or thighs and a net and have a good time!

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