Crabbing on Antipoison Creek

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By Gary Greenwood

As Katie pointed out in a previous post, some restaurants in the Washington area were reporting a shortage of crabs. When I was down at our house on Antipoison Creek, I stopped by to see Glenn, one of the local crabbers, to see how many crabs he was catching.

On July 2, Glenn brought in nine bushels of crabs from more than 150 pots. He considered that a good day, and said he had had a pretty good June as well. I rode with him as he delivered the crabs to his buyer and then picked up bait for his next trip out. Glenn had four bushels of #1s, three bushels of #2 and 2 bushels of #3 crabs.

The first picture shows the buyer weighing the four bushels of #1 jimmy crabs. Each bushel is marked as to the type of crab it contains. #1 are mature jimmy (male) crabs. These are often sold intact for steamed crabs. #2 jimmy crabs are younger male crabs, probably used for crabmeat. The #3 crabs are mature sooks (females). The price paid for a bushel depends on the type of crab, as well as the time of year and market.

The buyer was waiting for one more waterman to drop off his crabs, and then he would load the day’s catch into a refrigerated truck to take to the Little River Seafood processing plant up in Reedville.

After the bushels were weighed, Glenn picked up nine empty baskets, and we headed back to White Stone to pick up bait at a local fish warehouse. Glenn uses menhaden to bait his crab pots, and we picked up five 50-pound boxes of frozen menhaden. We stored those in an insulated box on the dock, ready to be loaded on the boat for the next trip out. Buddy, the blue heron that hangs out at Glenn’s fish house talked us into giving him one of the menhaden, which he promptly stabbed with his beak.

Weighing #1 crabs harvested from the pots that morning.
Weighing #1 crabs harvested from the pots that morning.
Frozen menhaden headed for crab pots as bait.
Frozen menhaden headed for crab pots as bait.

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