Even before the leaves have fallen to the ground, area watermen begin pulling their crab pots out for the winter. Of course it only makes sense to do this. Crabs become scarce in the fall and winter. It would take a hardy soul to pull pots in 30 degree mornings. And, if the floating marker were to get separated, the pot would be nothing but a death trap to the crab and another element of pollution.
Yet, seeing all of the pots stacked on top of the other does sadden me a bit. Working at York River State Park, I enjoyed greeting the regular watermen who launched daily from Croaker Landing. Nothing replaces family picnics with bushels of cooked jimmies on one end of the table and cold beverages on the other with hands passing both to either end. Even for those who shy away from the task of picking the meat, crab cakes are something that we will all miss as the air grows colder.
We do take joy in the region in this seasonal change. Rockfish (Striped Bass) are running. Urbanna VA will celebrate another favorite delicacy the Oyster Festival next month. And we greatly anticipate the Holiday Season with the traditional meals and get-togethers.
So, farewell to the days of freshly hand picked seasoned in Old Bay “beautiful swimmers.” I warmly welcome the stews, casseroles waiting on my dinner table after days of photographing fall colors and winter waterfowl.
May all go well with you and yours
John Gresham- the Bay Strider