First crabbing trip of the 2012 season. Not a bad start to the season. Great shakedown cruise to work out some kinks.

Summary:

Location: Poquoson, VA.

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Time: May 19, 2012. Launched 10:00 am from the Messick Point public boat ramp. Returned to ramp at 2:45 pm.

Methods: 8 crab pots, 20 rings, 2 trot lines (300′ each). Crab pots baited with frozen menhaden. Rings and trot lines baited with chicken necks. First time using snoods on trot lines.

Conditions: Very windy. Small craft advisory on the Bay. NNE winds 20-25kts. Tried to stay relatively close to the north bank to stay in the lee.

Yield: 3 dozen keepers. Mixed sooks and jimmies. Most sooks taken in pots, most jimmies on trotlines.

Details:

Launched at Messick Point public boat ramp at 10:00 am. Very high tide, very, VERY windy. Four of us on board: Matt, Todd, Zack and Ted. Even though Matt and Todd each have a recreational 5-pot license, the season does not start until June. So we were stuck with only 8 pots total (two for each of us). First order of business is to get the pots soaking (plus they take up an ungodly amount of room on the boat). We dumped them right away, then proceeded to lay out a line of 20 rings. 18″ net rings. So windy we just turned the engine off and dropped the rings in a line that the wind blew us.

We tried to run the rings, but navigating the boat up to the rings with the wind proved very tricky. The boat is high-profile enough to make it challenging in 20kt winds. After a frustrating time trying, and no crabs in any of the nets, we decided to pass on those and lay out the trot line.

This was our first time using snoods on a trot line. Previously we had always tied slip knots in the main lay line. I like the snoods. Crabs REALLY hang on well. We had one or two times when the snood lines would get wrapped around the net hoop, but once we figured it out, we didn’t have a problem.

The first run of the trot line yielded two keepers…and lots of undersized crabs. Good to see. We deployed the second trot line, and started to get a couple of crabs per run. Sometimes no keepers, sometimes four.

We had what looked like about a 1/4 of a bushel (maybe a little less), and we were needing to get off the water to make it back up to Midlothian to steam them up. Pulled up the two trot lines, then pulled the rings.  We’ll store those for use on the pier during vacation, but will probably pass on using them from this boat any more.  Pulling the pots yielded about 4 to 5 keepers per pot after a 4-hour soak, in 8 pots. All sooks. Saw maybe 3 or 4 sponge crabs, all of which went back (even though some were “orange” and therefore legal to keep…we put all sponges back).

Pulled the boat, then stopped by Bill Forrest Seafood to top off our bushel. Grabbed a half-bushel of mixed jimmies (some #1s, mostly #2s). That late in the day we were happy to get any, and it was enough to mix with our catch to make a good steam-up for the family back home.

Gave ‘em a vinegar sauna with a JO mineral rub and cracked into ‘em at 6:45 pm, along with family and friends.

First crabs of the season are always so dang tasty!

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