Chesapeake Bay > Sidebars > Crabbing and Clamming

Crabbing and Clamming

Part of the appeal of crabbing and clamming is the simplicity. How many activities are there where nothing but a piece of baited string or a rake, along with a net and bucket, will obtain something akin to the food of the gods for dinner? Assateague Island has many places to find crabs and clams, but Toms Cove at the southern end of the island is good place to begin.To catch the delicious blue crab (Callinectus sapidus), tie a chicken neck or other bait available at bait shops onto a string, toss the bait a few feet away in shallow water, and keep the string taut until something latches on. When crabs are around, it doesnít take long for them to locate the bait. Pull the bait and crab slowly to you across the bottom, then up off the bottom enough to slowly slip the net beneath. If the crab lets go as you pull, simply wait a few seconds and it will probably return.Crabs may also be caught in shallow water from boats, docks, and piers. In Maryland, crabs must measure 5 inches across, from point to point, to be legally keptóa good rule of thumb for conservation reasons in Virginia and other states, also.Clammers generally use a rake in shallow water to dislodge hard clams (Mercenaria mercenaria) from just beneath the muck on the bottom. Itís also possible to find the clams with your toes, then reach down to dig them out.

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