BALTIMORE (WJZ)–It takes bait to catch crabs, but some watermen are using curiosity to catch a little extra income.
Alex DeMetrick reports on tour unique to the Chesapeake.
When this workboat pulls out from Shady Side most days, it’s to catch whatever’s in season in the bay. But today John Vanalstine already has his catch on board. Jody Couser and her daughter Emma, here for the Waterman’s Heritage Tour, the first stop is crabs.
“There’s the Capitol dome and the boy has the Washington Monument,” said VanAlstine.
There’s soft shell crabs right out of the water as well as the old shells they left behind.
“He left his old gills and has all new gills. So that’s your crab. They’re built just like a jigsaw puzzle so they can crack open,” VanAlstine said.
The Watermen’s Heritage Tours are a project of the Chesapeake Conservancy.
“Our goal is to get people out on the Chesapeake Bay and learn about our culture and our history and learn about our beautiful wildlife,” said Joel Dunn, Pres. Chesapeake Conservancy.
And that includes not only oysters, but all the other life dependent on a healthy oyster bar.
“But if you look, see the little muscles? Other things attach to them as well, so it’s just a house for all sorts of different people.”
“We’ve had a great time. We’ve learned a ton from Captain VanAlstine. It’s a terrific experience, it really is,” said Jody Couser.
While guests take home an experience, watermen take home some much needed income.
“To be able to take people out and make some dollars. I’d say in the neighborhood of ten percent additional to my income. It doesn’t sound like much, but when you’re losing a few percent on some of your other fisheries, it helps to keep the playing field level,” said VanAlstine.
Especially now, when the crab catch is still running low across the bay.
Sharing a life style can help keep that lifestyle going.