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Author Topic: Question for experienced crabbers  (Read 176 times)
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WadeG
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« on: September 09, 2020, 11:10:53 AM »

I started trotline crabbing in May of this year after only chicken necking from the shore or a dock.  May through July everywhere I dropped I was finding male crabs, starting in August the males disappeared from the spots I was crabbing.  I read somewhere the males like less salinity so I tried further up the river trying to find less salty water no luck there.  Spoke with a comm who fishes the same area and he told me he was getting almost all females in his pots.  Any suggestions on what I should be looking for salinity, water temp, bottom, depth.  I can still find plenty of females but would rather not keep them if I could avoid it.  Thanks.

Wade
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Crabbyd
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« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2020, 12:59:51 PM »

I started trotline crabbing in May of this year after only chicken necking from the shore or a dock.  May through July everywhere I dropped I was finding male crabs, starting in August the males disappeared from the spots I was crabbing.  I read somewhere the males like less salinity so I tried further up the river trying to find less salty water no luck there.  Spoke with a comm who fishes the same area and he told me he was getting almost all females in his pots.  Any suggestions on what I should be looking for salinity, water temp, bottom, depth.  I can still find plenty of females but would rather not keep them if I could avoid it.  Thanks.

Wade

Good question Wade

This is the time of year that the females are being more aggressively eating before they make the migration down towards the mouth of the bay and continue the reproductive stage.  This will continue for the next couple weeks and up to about a month.  After the sooks head out, the males will show back up in record numbers and they will begin there hibernation phase with fattening up.  Some of the southern rivers aren't large enough to get the brackish waters that the males like.  This year, it seems the eastern shore and the northern bay are experiencing great catches.  As you crab through out the years, you will see the trends the crabs go through.  May, June you will see great catches of males, July and August, you will see the number of smaller crabs that just destroy your bait.  September is the sook run and Oct, Nov and Dec you see the sweet meat of the bigger jimmies will show back up.

As for the sooks, if you are a recreational crabber and crabbing the Chesapeake Bay or it's tributaries in Maryland, you aren't allowed to keep any sooks at anytime of the year.

Hope this helps a little.  If you haven't checked it out yet, there is a tiny crab located at the bottom of the page that takes you to a great resource for all things crabs.
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"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, a crab in one hand, a beer in the other, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -- WOW--What a Ride!"
WadeG
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« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2020, 09:38:08 PM »

Thanks Crabbyd for the reply I will check out the link. I am experiencing just what you described, males early in  the year and now females.  Early I could crab all morning on raw necks, now unless I salt them up I can barley get two hours.  I am down in VA where we are allowed to keep mature females. I hope the males return soon as recs cannot trotline after October 31. Down here Rockfish and oyster season both open up in October soon trotline goes in storage and tongs come out.

Wade
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jack1747
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« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2020, 09:13:47 PM »

Ditto what D posted..

After the females mate and migrate to spawning areas, they either remain there for the rest of their lives or move only short distances out to sea. In warmer months, males generally stay in low-salinity waters such as creeks, rivers, and upper estuaries. Research on blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay indicated that females over-wintered at the mouth of the bay and spawned there in spring, whereas the migration of males was non-directional.

Meaning that research by COMBS showed that males stay in the same area that the tides/storms take them to... Generally.
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« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2020, 08:44:11 PM »

Thanks Jack, I will keep looking, crabbed Monday(9/14) out of 5 dozen maybe a dozen males and they were #2s.

Wade
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