I was down at Marine Max today in Joppatowne. I live a stone throw from the marina. I was putting my big boat back in the slip today, its been out since our trip to OC earlier in the month. I saw a little zodiac coming in to the marina and noticed he had a bushel basket in it. I asked him if he was crabbing this morning. He said yes and I walked over and looked in the basket. He was so proud of his catch, until I busted his chops about keeping the crabs that he caught. He had @ 3/4 of a bushel and just about everyone in the basket was a #3. They where so white I needed to put my sunglasses on. I hope I got my point across about keeping those crabs, once you steam them there will be nothing to eat. Real sad
Now with the amount of crabbers in the river from every state @ Maryland and most of them rookies or first timers, it is real sad to say that a lot of people do keep these crabs because they are big and they get excited and don't understand , how this is killing the river.
If we practice catch and release on all crabs except for # 1 's, it will be a great September and October.
Just my .02
This is why you see my post about the Wye and the Chester. I might only catch a bushel, but they are all #1's and black
You are exactly correct with everything you said. That is the way I also do it. Nothing light gets a ride home. They must be full and if there is any question in my mind, I pinch the shell underneath between the legs and point. If it is flexible, it goes back in the water to fatten up some more for the next trip.
The problem is that you can't get that through some of the "new breed crabbers" out there. They all want quantity instead of quality. Hopefully, they all will eventually see the light.
So what shall we do, ask for a minimum size of 8 inches? I would suspect that a large minority of crabbers will keep anything that is legal in size, they don't consider the color of the crab at all, and I will also say that there are some (not all) commercial crabbers that will keep anything legal as well...SO yes the novice crabbers do it because they don't know any better, but the one's who know and still do it are the ones that need a good chops busting
Lily, You are correct. I catch some white bellie monsters in the Gunpowder, it breaks my heart to throw them back but, they have nothing in them except water. I think to myself "what a nice softcrab that would have been"!
Confession: I kept some light crabs to fatten the basket last time I went to Cox Creek, because after several hours of running the line I had a dozen fat crabs to show for my effort and a ton of lights tossed back into the creek. So I kept a few (Not many. Just enough so I could stop seeing the bottom of my basket.)
Verdict: they don't taste good anyway. Not to mention the conservation angle. I'm not sure everybody knows to pinch the crab below the points to check for lightness.
As a general beginner, I only know because I asked about it sometime last year on this board. Before that, I really couldn't tell for sure 'till I opened them up at the table.
A legal full blackbelly that sheds is now a huge papershell. To say keeping the large papershell is killing the river is crazy. Especially if you catch the same crab a week earlier it is OK. I dont get it.
This poor guy goes out and catches crabs to bring home to the family, and you take it upon yourself to lecture him about the quality of crabs he is providing??
How do you know it wasn't his first attempt at crabbing? How do you know he knows the difference in a white crab, and a dark crab? Education is great, but to pi$$ on his parade kind of makes me sad for the guy.
I hope you were nicer with your approach, then what you've perceived here...some people will take what they can get. some people can't afford to go pay $70 a dozen for big heavy males. If paper shells are all he could catch, and the guy had invested time and money in going crabbing, well then he is entitled to keep paper shells to take home to eat. There is nothing in the law saying any differently.
just because you want October crabs, doesn't mean he isn't entitled to August crabs...no matter what the quality.