Chris Dollar: Fall crab run leads to successful morning trot


We could have easily caught another basket of these black bellied blue crabs, but we agreed to stop a bushel away and go fishing.

In what has become a semi-annual ritual in which I meet my longtime friend on a river on the lower east coast, we eat crab or oysters, then go rockfish hunting. Can you think of a better way to spend a resplendent October afternoon than this? I can not either.

We met at the public boat ramp on the Tred Avon, a tributary of the lower Choptank River, at the very civilized hour of 10:30 a.m. Shortly after 11am we played the 1,200 foot baited trotline with tired chicken necks.

A mere 90 minutes later – time spent talking about past adventures, who’s been doing what these days, and not a word about the problems of the world – we had a bushel basket overflowing with crabs. I gave away a few, but kept the lion’s share for picking and making crab soup, dips, and crab cakes.

Every year, I overestimate my picking skills. If I had to do it for a living, I would surely starve. Luckily the good music and cold beer kept me company.

The second half of the day allowed us to hunt rockfish from Nelson’s Point to Cook Point. For the uninitiated, it would seem that we are fishing the same lure. And in a general sense, we were.

Using similar lightweight gear, both decoys were made of elastic rubber and both were pinned to a lead jig with eyes. Yet the differences, subtle as they were, were actually key to who caught the most rockfish, most often.

It was not me. If you didn’t already know, let me remind you that stubbornness can be the stupid cousin of persistence. Thinking I could force these striped bass to hit my lure, cast after cast, I was proven wrong.

This is especially tedious when the fish finder screen is lit up with large marks of fish. Oh, I caught some fish, including a pretty decent soccer-shaped keeper, but not as many as my buddy.

The difference? It was threefold: he used a jig head that was a quarter ounce heavier than mine, it had larger eyes, and the soft plastic was a two-tone shimmering chartreuse while mine was a lighter green without the reflections. And you can bet when he wasn’t looking, I changed.

Bonus Tip: All anglers should have black lures in their arsenal, especially if you’re fishing at night or in very low light conditions.

Think about it for a second: the light comes from above, to the right, which makes everything backlit underwater. Thus, the silhouette of a forage fish presents itself to a predator in a more defined way. For opportunistic game like rockfish, this may seem like an easy meal.

“Buh-bey”, AquaCon, at least for now. The people have spoken.

I’m referring to an almost 30-year-old Saturday Night Live skit in which David Spade and Helen Hunt pose as rude flight attendants who utter this catchphrase to deplaning passengers to describe what I thought when I learned that the Norwegian company withdrew its application for a permit to build a 25-acre industrial salmon facility near the shores of idyllic Marshyhope Creek on Maryland’s east coast.

A bit sarcastic of me, perhaps, but far less exaggerated than AquCon’s dubious plan which, if implemented, would have resulted in the facility dumping 2.3 million gallons of water. of salmon contaminated blowdown in Marshyhope Creek every day, year round I guess.

This would likely degrade the ecological and recreational value of the tributary while jeopardizing Maryland’s only confirmed spawning habitat for the endangered Atlantic Sturgeon.

If my reading between the lines is correct, AquaCon’s decision appears to be simply a pause in their longer-term goal. In a statement, the company’s CEO said he “looks forward to continuing to work with the [Maryland Department of the Environment] to obtain permits that allow aquaculture production while protecting water quality and the health of the bay’s ecosystem.

They may have lost the first round, but it sure looks like they’re recharging for an extended effort. What it also clearly portends is that anglers, boaters and other conservationists must keep the pressure on the new slate of elected officials to come – and those they appoint to leadership positions. key within MDE and Ministry of Natural Resources – to prioritize finite and finite resources of the bay. fragile natural resources in relation to short-term economic gains.

October 27: Celebration of Conservation, hosted by the Annapolis Chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association. The event takes place from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and tickets can be purchased at

From November 1 to February 28: CCA Maryland Pickerel Championship, a photo shoot tournament using the iAngler Tournament smartphone app. Register at

November 2: Free State Fly Fishermen. “Inshore Kayak Fishing in the Delmarva Peninsula” by Jim Delle Bovi. 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Davidsonville Family Recreation Center. Contact Ryan Harvey at [email protected]

November 5: Free State Fly Fishermen. Monthly fly tying instruction. 10am-12pm. Davidsonville Family Recreation Center. Contact Ryan Harvey at [email protected]

November 19: Free State Fly Fishermen. 10am-12pm. Duber Winters and Joe Bruce will teach club members how to tie a handful of “you really need to know” fly fishing knots. Davidsonville Family Recreation Center. Contact Ryan Harvey at [email protected]

January 14: “Fishing Expo” at the North Beach Volunteer Fire Department, 8536 Bayside Road, North Beach. 8am-2pm

January 20-22: Second Chesapeake Bay Boat Show, State Fairgrounds in Timonium. Details and tickets at

Send calendar listings, news and photos to [email protected].


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