Jun
25

A Crabber’s Life: Days Are Consumed by the Water

By Alex Moe  //  Crabs, Fishing Industry  //  86 Comments

Capt. Bob Evans (left) works alongside Anthony Jones pulling up crab pots near Shady Side, Md. (News21 photo by Allison Frick)

SHADY SIDE, Md. – Capt. Bob Evans has the same routine six days a week, each and every week, during the warm months. He sets out on his 40-foot boat around 6:30 a.m. and, a few minutes after leaving the dock, is already pulling up his underwater lines.

Six hours later, after checking about 400 pots, he returns to the dock and makes the short drive to his store, where he unloads the bushels from his truck.

“I was raised on the water,” recalls Evans, 57. “I just couldn’t stay away from it. I started out as a kid just fishing and crabbing, and I absolutely loved it.”

For the past 40 years, he has been crabbing for a living. “I don’t know how to do anything else,” he says.

His crab pots are scattered in the bay and in nearby rivers in Shady Side. “Captain Bob,” as he likes to be called, has two men who work with him on his boat, while his two daughters run his seafood store in Churchton, Md.

“It’s a family business, and we like it. We’re proud of it,” he says.

Watermen must make enough in the summer season to last them for the year. “We don’t get a pay check every week,” Evans says.

“When you do good, you have to save your money for the tough times.”

This season has been good so far for Evans’ business. He caught more than $1,600 worth of crabs just on that day.

But he says that is not always the case.

“You’ll never get rich doing this,” Evans says. “But it’s a good honest living –and we’re proud of what we do.”

–by Alex Moe

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Bay on the Brink is a multimedia reporting project examining the fate of the Chesapeake Bay. It is produced by fellows at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism as part of News21, a consortium of journalism schools. This is the fellows' blog. The full project site is here: http://chesapeake.news21.com
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