Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Weekend Getaway

Last weekend I was able to sneak away from work and my busy schedule. Elaina and I rented a cabin on Upper Hoopers Island that we were referred to my Michael (Redfish12) and Jack (Kanvery), fellow kayak fishermen that stayed there last fall.

After a few back outs my parents were able to come along somewhat last minute.  We stayed at Sunset Cabins, owned by Al and Jeannette Cassalia, an extremely welcoming couple that live on the property as well and were just a phone call away if we needed anything.

We arrived Friday and got situated in the cabin and checked out the scenery. The property includes a pier, a small beach, and a screened in porch with a swing and hammock. And the cabin itself is a 2 bedroom (queen beds), full service kitchen, dining table and living room. No TV or Wifi, which was a perfect escape from the busy lifestyle of the western shore.

Friday my dad and I went out for an evening trip from the launch at the 1st bridge over to middle hoopers. It wasn't as successful as we hoped, no specks and no reds, but we were able to catch a few stripers and croakers with decent size.

Saturday we took the full squad out on the water. Elaina and I paired up on the PA 14 and Mom and Dad on the PA 12. Again not successful fishing wise, but it was a fun filled day with awesome weather and great scenery. We launched from the beach at the cabin and paddled over to the Barren Islands on the Bay side of Hoopers. The water was very shallow and very grassy which made for tough fishing and sometimes tough pedaling. We enjoyed lunch on the island and then continued our round trip back to the beach.

The PA 12 seat is perfect for taking off the yak and using for lunch and chilling!!

The Cabin lived up to its name as "Sunset Cabin"!!

The cute little cabin with everything you would ever need for a weekend or week getaway.

I got home on Sunday and decided I wanted to try and catch some crabs since the fishing wasn't too exciting over the weekend. Crabbing was slow at my spot, but I knew I wasn't crabbing the best tide. Ended with a dozen big males and ate them that night to culminate an awesome weekend with family. Even though I didn't fish as much as I really would I hoped I truly enjoyed just spending time with Elaina and my parents and just relaxing for a few days.
If you might be interested in booking Sunset Cabin you can contact me for more details or you can call the Cassalia's at 215-778-3296 or 443-477-1503 and let them know you heard about the cabin from me for a possible discount.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Kayak Crabbing Tips and Trotline Setup

Here are some tips that I have acquired from some other veteran kayak crabbers and some other tips I've come up with on my own during my 1st two trips.

Trotline Set-up
I use 5# barbell weights for my end weights on my line. The weights are connected to 20ft of rope which connects to the Bucket with lid. Connect the ropes to the side rim of the bucket and not the handle as the handle can pull out. From the bucket there is 20ft of rope connected to 2ft of chain. The trotline clips to the chain with a brass clip. My trotline has 80 snoods, about one every 8ft, which allows for ample space between scoops for crabs. My snoods are made of 8-10 inch pieces of small diameter bungee double knotted to the line. For the end of the line everything is the same as the first half.


1. Mark the last 1 or 2 snoods at each end of the line with a colored sharpie so you know for sure you are on you last snood and can get the line of the prop stick before you get to the chain.

2. Use buckets as floats as they allow for great storage of the trotline, weights and chains. And I like orange the best as it is highly visible.

3. Pre-rig chicken necks prior to crabbing and just allow the line to coil in one bucket. The line with run out smoothly as you set the line.

4. Set your line over a change of depths. I like to cover at least 4-5ft of depth change. Generally 8-13ft or so is good.

5. Make your PVC prop stick about 3-4 feet, depending on your arm length and the length of net you plan to use. I use a 4 foot net and 4 foot prop stick.

6. Using your net upside down works great as a hook to grab your line to put on the prop stick.

7. De-baiting is a lot easier to do as you pull you line than it is to do when you get home.

8. Crabs can climb out of you basket, so either build a cone style top on top or be prepared to bat them down with the net.

9. A wire net is a must, especially when you need to shake off a female crab and there is another crab on the next snood.

10. Run the trotline with the wind at your back. It can help push you slowly down the line and generally less chop in the water.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Kayak Crabbing 101

Over the last month or so I have loathed over the idea of really trying the whole crabbing thing on the kayak. I spoke with some of the local experts in my buddies Metroman and Moc, whom you can find all over youtube with kayak crabbing videos.

I looked in the expenses and gathered up some of the items I already had to help cut down on costs of putting together a trotline rig for my Hobie Pro Angler 14.

Kayak Crabbing Essentials:

-Trotline around 500'-600' w/ Snoods (My line is closer to 700' w/ 80 snoods)
-Trotline includes 2 2' chain sections, 2 weights, and 2 matching floats
-4' Wire Net
-PVC Propstick
-Basket to keep crabs in w/ straps to tie down to kayak

MY propstick arm that attaches to my existing PVC rod holder setup. And how I store my net when not in use.
With these essentials you can be on the water crabbing the next day. Having snoods on the line allows for baiting and de-baiting quickly before and after trips. For floats Metroman suggested Buckets with lids and I agree this is the best set up for a kayak. Most importantly because it provides storage for all equipment before setting the line and for putting away the line at the end of the day. Also, make sure to tie your anchor line to the bucket itself and not the handle, because the handles can pull out.

As you can see the Pro Angler provides ample storage space for kayak crabbing equipment and the mirage drive allows for easy propulsion down the trot line, using one hand to steer the rudder and the other to scoop the crabs as they come down the line.

I crabbed the Severn River Thursday and was somewhat successful for my first try. I ended up with around 2.5 dozen crabs over the minimum 5" size requirement point to point on the shell. It was a crazy day to say the least. Shane (Reelaxin) and I set out with high hopes of catching bushel baskets full of crabs, but before Shane was able to run his line for the 1st time his Mirage drive broke. We ended up taking turns using my drive to check our lines, but neither of us were super successful and our lines weren't running as smoothly as we would have liked. Eventually Shane called it a day, but I stuck with it to catch a few more.

I gave it a go again the next day, but I decided to sleep in and just crab the 3 hours before low tide. This seemed to be a lot more production. My line ran much smoother and the crabs started to fill the basket and I finished the 3 hour session with a little over 4 dozen crabs. So I now had over 6 dozen crabs to feed my roommates, parents and Elaina for a little cookout on July 5th, which happened to be the day after Elaina's birthday.

Monster crab 8 plus inches

On Saturday Elaina and I tried our luck with a little dock fishing and she was able to catch her first fish on her new rod. A custom Overboard Rod I got her for her birthday, Black handle and purple blank and engraved with her name.

It was a great birthday weekend!!! More crabbing tips to come soon and hopefully a video if I can find my Go Pro Charger.