The Partners

Soft crabbing! This picture shows two young boys pushing their dip nets through greass under water to catch soft crabs, peelers, and “doublers”, which is Eastern Shore slang were called “Channie Ike.”  This was a Jimmy (large male) crab carrying a female.

In this time period you would have twenty five to thirty people, men, women, and children crabbing in the shoal water from what is now Dogwood Harbor, around Devils Island, under the wharf that led to Tilghman Packing Company and on down to the Barneck shore.

Every time these boys caught a “keeper” they would put it un the skiff with great care, cover it with sea oars or seaweed to keep the sun from killing their catch.  Of course there were many hiding plces for the crabs, in the grass, all around the old boat wrecks, any thing that would help them hide from predators, fish, other crabs, cranes, etc.  Every once in a while they would miss one, which would upset them very much.

Most of the grown-ups would keep their catch, take the soft crabs home and have a big seafood dinner for the whole family and friends.  So although it is still possible to catch crabs using a crab net I very seldom see anyone soft crabbing.  So we wonder is another piece of history passing us by?