It started out as a tip from a friend. Fooling with his crab line in a distant, shallow cove, he had discovered a bumper load of crabs weeks earlier than he had ever encountered anywhere else on the Chesapeake. I wanted in on that.
Experience with chasing the delectable Chesapeake blue crab had convinced me that catching enough for a good feast was probably not going to happen until mid-June. Before then, it always seemed that our state’s hallowed crustaceans had risen from their winter slumber and were moving about, but they weren’t concentrated anywhere enough to make the effort worthwhile. Perhaps this year was going to be different.
Baiting my crab line, prepping my skiff and getting a good night’s sleep, I resolved to find out if something, somehow, had changed. The next morning, driving a ways south to the secret location, I launched right at sunup. After a brief run, I arrived at a shallow cove and laid out my trot line with guarded optimism.
–The first run was disappointing. Perhaps, I thought, my friend’s story had been a bit of an exaggeration. Then as the morning sun warmed up the shallow waters, the jimmies began to show up on my line with ever-increasing regularity.
Crabbing alone that morning, I also began to experience a difficulty I hadn’t expected. The tasty critters wouldn’t hold onto the bait. They were dropping off well below the surface and proving damnably elusive to net. But I was determined.