Posted by Schaefer's Canal House on 3/30/2015
For pranksters, April 1 is a day of mischief. For Chesapeake Bay visitors, however, it is that time of the year when handlines and dip nets come out and when avid crabbers start putting out the baits in popular crabbing spots around Chesapeake Bay.
Chesapeake Bay sees the most number of crabbers in summer – from 4th of July to Labor Day. But you can get there as early as April to enjoy the stillness of silky-smooth backwaters and the sound of bass catching its first meal of low-flying bugs. You can also bring the whole family including kids and even Grandma on wheelchair.
There is no license required for recreational crabbing, but as with any protected fishing ground, there are restrictions to observe to keep the bay’s crab population healthy. If the many regulations leave you feeling confused, just remember to never catch the female hard crabs or peelers (crabs that are about to molt). Catch crusty male crabs (because their meat will not leave you feeling disappointed) in the following places.
The 380-foot Bill Burton Fishing Pier is one of the most accessible crabbing spots in Anne Arundel County because it allows differently abled crabbers in wheelchair to catch their own 12-crab limit. Aside from the wheelchair-accessible pier, other amenities include picnic areas and walking trails for when young crabbers tire of checking their pots.
The T-shaped, 200-foot pier is a major feature of the King's Landing Park found along the shore of the Patuxent River. Apart from hiking trails and picnic pavilion, the park is also outfitted with wheelchair-accessible boardwalk.
Flag Ponds Nature Park
For visitors who love to have some time on the beach or an opportunity to scramble up cliffs, the nature park in Lusby run by Calvert County Department of Parks and Recreation appeals to more physically active crabbers. It also has an added curiosity for kids of all ages: Along its shores, the children can hunt shark teeth and fossils to distract them from frequently checking the pot.
If you find yourself in Annapolis, head to the Jonas Green State Park on the Severn River adjacent to the US Naval Academy Bridge. The portion of the old bridge now serves as a fishing pier from where you can drop your handlines. However, it can be crowded during weekends especially during summer, so if you want to have the place to yourself, come on a weekday. Another crowd-pleaser is Sandy Point: Drive to the south end of the boat launch ramps for excellent fishing and crabbing spot.
North Beach Pier
Another kid-friendly crabbing spot is the North Beach Pier on the Chesapeake Bay itself. Children can swim, bike and paddleboard while the adults bait the line and net the family’s dinner.