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Don L 06-22-2018 05:38 PM

Crab Pots, friend or foe
I learned to sail in the Northeast and spent 7 years sailing there. In the NE there are lobster pots EVERYWHERE!!!!!! You can walk across them to shore sometimes and they are even right in the middle of the channel. Even out 20+ miles from the shore in 100' depth you will come across one and my theory is that they have a magnetic attraction to fiberglass because even if it is the only one in a 10 mile radius you will be going right to it. And there's not just 1 trap on that float, there may be 10+ on a long "stop your boat dead it's tracks" daisy chain.

But down "south" there are crab pots instead and I've read how they are "everywhere". But after 2 years now I feel there are a lot of them, but it is nothing compared to the lobster pot population. And they aren't dropped in the channels and from watching them it appears there's only 1 trap to a float. Another thing I've become aware of for the crab pots is that they aren't really in deep water. They seem to be on depth contours starting right about 6' and less. To me this has become a great value as I can almost navigate into a creek etc. based on the crab pots! I went into a creek the other day that was narrow (probably wouldn't even have risked it 2 years ago) and staying between the lines of pots I was in the deep water (the 8' water). And coming around some point I can tell where the shoal is, because that's where the pots are! What a plus for those of us new to these spots.

So to you crab pot waters sailors/boaters:

Are crab pots your friend, or your foe?

I vote friend!

ggray 06-22-2018 08:48 PM

Re: Crab Pots, friend or foe
It's not that simple a question to me. Of course, I've not sailed Maine waters for a comparison.

I respect the hard work watermen do and the conditions that--at least some-- work in.

Crab pots don't bother me in the open waters of the bay. I have to be more careful when under power; sailing with folding props is no problem, and the pots give me a clue about the current.

My problem with crab pots (really those who set them) is that with the thousands and thousands of acres of bay of appropriate depth for setting a crab pot, watermen set pots in the relatively few acres that are protective anchorages. Seems to be particularly bad if there is a launch ramp nearby.

capta 06-22-2018 09:15 PM

Re: Crab Pots, friend or foe
I really think that it depends whether it's wrapped around your gear or if you are sitting in Joe's Stone Crab, in Miami.

Don L 06-22-2018 09:21 PM

Re: Crab Pots, friend or foe
Btw-Iíve caught a few lobster pots onmy keel, Iíve never caught a crab pot

Capt Len 06-22-2018 10:23 PM

Re: Crab Pots, friend or foe
Prawn trap floats can be sucked just under by big current. Close eye for surface disturbance is needed to avoid hanging by your prop until slack when you can dive with a knife. Be prepared in the inside passage.

CalebD 06-22-2018 11:52 PM

Re: Crab Pots, friend or foe

I think you might change your tune a bit if you ever have to jump into the nettle filled water to dislodge a crab pot that has somehow mysteriously grabbed your rudder or keel.
Of course it is best if you can avoid cutting the line of some hard working bayman's equipment. Then again, if the line is wrapped around your prop it might be good to have a nice sharp knife.

chef2sail 06-22-2018 11:57 PM

Re: Crab Pots, friend or foe

Youíve obviously never wrapped a Prop with one.

Your observations are spot on except:

Some areas like the Pawtuxet they are in 15 ft. Look tomorrow as you leave Solomonís to enter the Chessie. There are hundreds on the north shore and point. Yes they usually signify shallower water...but 6 ft is not at all close to universal. Many in the northern Chesapeake are in water close to 15 ft.

Crab pots should all be neon colors like yellow, orange . Which numnut crabber does blend in green or even black. You canít see them. And if there are whitecaps the pots are hard to see in any color...especially going with the wind.

Yes they usually lay them in a line, however some crabber seems obnoxiously scew the line sometimes just to be different.

Current areas , not usually the Chesapeake can have a crazy aff3ct where the line/ float is. It overrides the wind So you travel along expecting the bouy to be downwind at its length to the wind......but the current takes the float in the opposite direction. Therefore the line is no5 where you think it is.

Repeat after me : CRABPOTS ARE NOT MY FRIEND 🦀🦀🦀🦀🦀🦀🦀😈😈😈😈😈😈⛵️⛵️⛵️⛵️⛵️🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬👹🌪🌪🌪🌪🌪🌪

chef2sail 06-23-2018 12:00 AM

Re: Crab Pots, friend or foe
Real Chesapeake sailors do not cozy up to crabpots we hate them EXCEPT we love to eat what they catch
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Minnewaska 06-23-2018 07:15 AM

Re: Crab Pots, friend or foe
Iím heading to Maine in a few weeks. Think Iíll defer my answer. As much as I love the sailing grounds, the feeling of heading offshore to return home and the ability to take a 10 second watch break is liberating.

I do find them very instructional to guests that I let take the helm. They keep a watchful eye and usually pick them out well ahead and want to begin steering away. When I tell them to maintain their heading, they get nervous. Sure enough, a set and drift lesson is upon them. By the time we get to the pot, weíve drifted to leeward. Not so effective in Maine, as there are 1000 more to leeward. :)

Don L 06-23-2018 07:56 AM

Re: Crab Pots, friend or foe
My wife calls the northern lobster pot floats "sea monsters", so far she hasn't given a name to the crab pot floats.

Once in Maine she kept asking "you see that pot, you see that pot" so much that it make me crazy and I told her to go below for a time out. This by the way was in the CHANNEL!

I never wrapped a lobster pot in my prop even though a did catch a couple on my keel. So I don't see why I would expect to catch one of these few crab pots! One on the advantages to having a deeper draft boat is I don't cut across a corner.

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