Thursday, August 23, 2012

Blue Crabs In Local Waters + Other Recent Pics

I had heard the rumour for years, during drought years the blue crabs will ride the incoming salinity from the Chesapeake Bay up the Potomac to our local waterways. I had heard about kids crabbing off the docks in Old Towne Alexandria with string and chicken necks a few years back. Though I had never had visual confirmation.

In college in the summer of 1996 Gary and I were fishing around Fredericksburg on the Rappahannock (a tidal water). I'll never forget that day. I caught my first ever striped bass. It was on an  ultralight spin rod. I also swear I saw a crab move through the grasses. I never had confirmation so I just assumed it was an albino turtle.

Then last year I was guiding clients for stripers at Gravelly Point. I saw a blue crab in the grasses by the outflow from Roaches Run. I ran to grab my net but by the time I got back it was gone. Then a month later I found half a dead blue crab across the way along the runway. Sceptics would say it was from someone's lunch or it washed in from across the river at the DC waterfront.

It was not until yesterday that I got my first visual and tactile confirmation. I was fishing lower Four Mile Run with my wormie flies for carp. I waded in and found a dead blue crab. I took out the camera and got pics. 

 Here is a picture of the blue crab in the water. Such a cool find. Especially in an urban sprawl waterway that is plagued with run-off and litter.

I continued to fish the worm on my switch rod. I only picked up one white perch. I had several tugs and nibbles but I was too slow to set the hook. I saw one white goldfish in the water. Maybe it was a subtle tug from a goldfish.

I think the rod was just too long for me to set the hook on some of the small fish. Either way, this worm fly is crazy effective in this waterway.

I waded out to my winter carp haunts to sniff around. I found a submerged tree in the water with all sorts of branches. Just downstream from this branch was a crab! It was burried into the mud. Its back fins and legs were sunk. I did not know if it was alive or not. Not having a net, I bent down to pick it up. I've been bitten by a lot of things in my day (wild baby lion and a penguin in Africa, snakes, mosquitos, praying mantis, a red snapper, a magpie in Australia, a dragonfly in Maryland, etc.). I figured a crab claw would just add to the stories.

Turns out this one was dead too. Not sure why 2/2 crabs in the water were dead. Maybe just past their age? I kept fishing.

I found one more. I figured this one would be dead too. I reached in up to my shoulder and pulled it out. It too was dead. Very interesting to find these in this waterway. I've been fishing Four Mile for years and never seen a crab. It would have been cool to see a live one.

Like I said, drought years bring organisms further up the river. At least we don't have any sea nettles (jellyfish) to deal with.

Some other observations, here is some of the wild passion fruit along the stream. This one had a big old bumble bee on it. 

And to top off the evening, a big rainbow!

Y'all will be the second or third to hear about a live crab caught. I'll tweet and facebook it first.

Maybe I should put out some crab pots in Alexandria....


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