Ocean City, Maryland has at least 3 spots famous for huge crabs: Indian River Bay, Assawoman Bay, and Sinepuxent Bay.
The crabbing season starts in May and lasts all summer and autumn – it ends on the 31st of December. If you’re determined enough, you can have crabs handy all year round.
Regulations and Limitations
Crabbers can harvest 1 bushel of crabs per day as long as they’re for personal consumption. When crabbing from a boat, you’re allowed to catch 2 bushels. That’s per boat. In other words, it doesn’t matter if the boat accommodates 2 or 10 people, the limit is still 2 bushels.
Crabbers who use trotlines, collapsible traps, seines or net rings are required to purchase a license. Those who use handlines or dip nets can crab without a license. Crabbers are prohibited from keeping female crabs, regardless of whether they bear eggs or not.
Female crabs are easy to recognize by their red claws (male crabs have blue claws).
All crabs have to be larger than 5” in order to be kept – this size limitation is in vigor from the 1st of April to the 14th of July. From the 14th of July onwards, they’ve got to be at least 5 ¼ inches. Peeler crabs that are smaller than 3 ¼ inches have to be returned in the water.
Same goes for soft shell crabs that are smaller than 3 ½ inches. Your chance of getting the maximum capture each day is to crab in shallow water rather than in deep water. During the cold season, crabs burrow in the mud, so you won’t find them in deep waters anyway.
As you might expect, you can rent boats to crab from. Go down to the landing and see what boats are available. You should consider using handlines because many crabbers who’ve been in Ocean city said that they caught more this way than by using cages.
Make sure you get a caliper when you go crabbing or else you’ll have to put them back in the water. Always respect the size limitations. It can so happen that your bushel will be verified on the pier and you certainly don’t want to pay a fine or be banned from crabbing there again.
As long as you respect all the rules and crab when the season peaks, Ocean City might become your favorite crabbing destination of all.