So I was out this morning crabbing out on the severn river. I set a couple hand lines, and dipped 10 or so very small crabs off the pilings. There wasn't much happening at all on the handlines; caught 2 or 3 mediums. Then I felt some resistance on one of my handlines, like a snag. It came up, but I investigated what it may be. After 20 minutes of trying to get this thing up, I finally got my hands on it, and out of the water came an old, moss, muck covered crab trap with 4 of the BIGGEST crabs I have ever seen in my entire life, and I've seen alot. 2 years ago a buddy lost a trap in that same spot, and that had to be it. The trap was severely mangled, but still closed. It had clearly been in the water a long time. Also inside was a very large white perch. I was in shock, as I have been crabbing that same spot for 25 years and never caught one even close to as big as any of the four. It was incredible, they were all easily 8 inches, and covered with dark "growth". They clearly had not shed in quite some time.(all year for sure)
This whole event baffled me. How did the crabs get in there? Did they all just stop shedding due to old age? If they shed, they of course would be eaten by the others. Did they spend the entire winter in that trap? What did they eat? There were no shells in the trap. It was truly one of the coolest, but strangest things I have ever seen. I know one thing, crabs that size rarely, if ever are caught around that pier, and like I said, I've been crabbing there for a long time. HOW DID IT HAPPEN!
About three weeks ago, my trotline did the same thing. Couldn't run the line no matter how tight I pulled the anchor. Finally, I had enough and decided to pack it in. As I was pulling in the line, it got real tight and would barely budge. The line was snagged on something. As I kept pulling, the boat was moving, not the line. Once I got to where the snag was, I pulled and pulled and pulled. Finally the snag gave out and up comes a commercial pot full of seaweed, 3 large catfish and about a dozen dead crabs stinking to high heaven. Pull the pot into the boat and notice there is a line coming off the pot and going back into the depths. Pull that line and attached is another pot. This one looks like someone sat on it, totally rusted and full of seaweed and dead crabs. Both these pots looked like they had been there since last season. Loaded the 2nd one onto the boat, released the catfish. Once back at the ramp, I threw the two ghost pots into the dumpster.
I was inside a river where pots technically should not be. So I don't know what was going on. But at least those two pots won't be killing anymore crabs or snagging lines.
On the 4th of July I anchored on a channel edge next to an oyster bar and got an old topless trap when I pulled my anchor. Surprising how much weight they can add. The trap had to be a year old as you couldn't see through it. Did have on amazingly large, mossy, DARK green crab with a very healthy, just as large sook underneath. Her sluff was in the trap and she wasn't mossy. Hated to split up a good relationship but probably wasn't the first time