Crabbing is one of summer's pleasures


Vacationers come to Ocean City seeking simple pleasures. Crabbing is one of those fun and interesting things to do. All one needs is a piece of string weighted with a sinker, a chicken neck, a crabbing net and something to put the crabs in. The crabber drops the bait in the water and waits for the line to go taunt. The crab is pulled in slowly; the crabber is careful not to let the crab see the shadow of the net. The crabber nets the crab, checks to make sure it is at least the legal taking size -- 5 inches from tip to tip of its shell -- and flips it in a bucket, basket, box or cooler.

Crabbing can keep the kids occupied on those "partly cloudy" days that are not good beach days. Even if the crabs are too small and must go back, the kids learn a new sport, a sense of conservation and an appreciation of the bay.

One can catch crabs almost anywhere in Ocean City where the water is at least 3 feet deep. Any empty lot, along any lagoon, or in the marsh are fine. There are public piers at 125th Street, TC behind the Recreational Center; 41st Street, behind the Convention Hall; and just before you cross the bridge to go into Assateague State Park. Crabbing on the Isle of Wight, which is off the state Route 90 bridge, is also an excellent spot.

Although they should be good later this summer, the piers closer to the inlet are not producing many crabs. The best time to try for crabs is during the higher tides when the water beneath the piers is the deepest. These areas are also producing Norfolk spot. Thread little pieces of worm on size No. 6 hooks for these.

Ocean City flounder fishing has been good but spotty. One had to be at the right place at the right time. Mike Hoffman of Ocean City was one of those lucky people. He was drifting his boat just north of the U.S. Route 50 bridge when he got into a whole school of flounder. He discovered them in only 2 to 4 feet of water eating shiners next to a shoal. Some of these flounder were over 2 pounds.

Peggy Pennypacker of Willow Street, Pa., caught one of the largest flounder of the week. She was fishing close to buoy No. 8 when she landed a 5 pound 8 ounce flounder. She was using a live minnow and squid sandwich and weighed her catch in at Bahia Marina.

The flats north of the Thorofare have produced good catches of flounder. Dawn Hof of Manchester, took a 3 1/4 -pounder on a minnow and squid combination there. Jim Walters and Charles Schutz of Fenwich Island fished there and caught a whole stringer of keepers weighing up to 2 pounds. They were also using minnows and squid.

Several anglers had good luck in the flats near buoy No. 13 on the east side of the bay. Kelly Durkin of North Potomac, fishing aboard the Bay Hag, took a 2 1/4 - and a 1 1/2 -pound flounder there on minnows.

Drifting in the bay behind Assateague produced good catches, as well as fishing on the U.S. Route 50 bridge itself. Some anglers took some good size flounder in the inlet, as well as some bluefish and one puppy drum.

Though sea trout fishing slowed down somewhat last week, one was weighed in last weekend. Bob Kuczinski of Baltimore landed a 7 3/4 -pound sea trout from the sea wall at night. He was using live spot for bait. Yes, live spot has been a good bait for trout and big bluefish in the inlet. Since the spot are running "eating size," it is hard to find any small enough for bait. But apparently, anglers are finding some.

The Ocean Pier in Ocean City has seen good action. Pat Townsend said anglers were catching good size spot and kingfish on bloodworms, and flounder on shiners and squid combinations. At night, they were catching sharks, rays, some blues and some sea trout. They have been catching numerous smaller sharks and sighting many larger ones. Pat Townsend reported one strange catch last weekend -- a 15 inch dolphin (also known as mahi mahi).

The Oceanic Pier has been seeing some action with Norfolk spot, some flounder and some snapper bluefish.

The surf came alive last weekend with kingfish, Norfolk spot and sand sharks. The slight easterly breeze stirred up the fish -- and quite a number of fishermen as well. Jerry Bosley of Ocean City caught six kingfish and many spot fishing with bloodworms last Saturday at Fenwick State Park. Anglers on Assateague caught good catches of kingfish as well as some flounder.

Fishing offshore on the party boats has been fair. Some good size sea bass mixed in with lots of small ones is the typical fare. Some of the party boats are beginning to drift fish for sea trout and flounder. The sea trout are running small, but at least they are showing up. Bill Splitgerber of Baltimore, fishing aboard the O.C. Princess, had several good size bass, along with one that weighed 3 1/2 pounds.

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