The blue crab and its fishery in Chesapeake Bay. Part 2. Types of gear for hard crab fishing

W. A. van Engel


During the 90-year history of the Chesapeake Bay blue crab fishery, many types of fishing devices were tried, but only pots, trotlines, and dredges proved suitable, and they emerged as the primary types of gear for catching hard crabs. In the early years of the fishery, trotlines with their various modifications were used principally for catching hard crabs in the summer. The Chesapeake Bay crab pot, patented in 1938 and modified only slightly since, gradually replaced the trotline. Pots now account for two-thirds of the Virginia hard crab catch and more than half of the Maryland catch. The dredge, first used about 1900 and relatively unchanged with time, is still the primary winter gear.