How to harvest crabs using a trotline?

Waterman have crabbed on the Chesapeake Bay using a trotline for hundreds of years. It is one of the most efficient and enjoyable methods of crabbing. A trotline is a long length of rope with bait attached to it every 3-4 feet. The bait varies from chicken necks to razor clams. The bait is attached directly to the main line or a slipknot known as a snood. This line is lowered into the water and sits near the bottom, attracting the blue crab. The line is 1500 foot long and is anchored and marked with buoys. 
The Captain begins at one buoy and hooks the line using a boathook. He then places the line on a roller attached to the starboard side of the stern. The Captain carefully navigates the boat down the line, while the person with the dip net quickly scoops the crabs attached to the surfacing line. Once the boat reaches the ending buoy the Captain will return to the starting buoy, repeating the process.


How long will the trip last?

The trip will last 4 hours.  There are two Crabbing Charters a day from 6am-10am and 11am-3pm.  We are available for the earlybirds and the late risers.

Note: Crabs tend to be more active in the morning


How many people can we have in one group?

Chesapeake Bay Crabbing Charters can hold up to 6 passengers.  We have other boats available if your party exceeds 6.  Please call in advanced so we can properly accomadate you.


Why Chose Chesapeake Bay Crabbing Charters?

 Captain Brant Nordhoff is a Coast Guard certified licensed captain, holding a master 100- ton inland waters license authorized in commercial assitance towing.  Born on the Eastern Shore and from a family of waterman, Captain Nordhoff has aquired a vast background of knowledge and experience harvesting crab and fish from the Bay.  He is the Grandson of Captain Larry Simns, President of the Maryland Waterman's Association and stays involved with the politics on the water.  For the past four years Captain Nordhoff has worked on the 72 foot oyster planting vessel the Robert Lee as the acting mate and field advisor.  He is a Washington College Alumni and resident of Rock Hall, MD.  Make your trip to the Eastern Shore complete with this authentic funfilled learning experience.  


What is the Weather Policy?

We will sail in rain or shine.  Be prepared for all weather conditions


What if we don't catch anything?

 It is very unlikely to catch nothing.  However, Captain Nordhoff will make arrangements to get you crabs to take home and make your experience worthwild.


What should I Bring?



close toe shoes



cooler with beverages of choice







Maryland's Delicacy
Maryland's Delicacy

Chesapeake Bay Crabbing Charters

5000 Piney Neck Rd

Rock Hall, MD 21661

Tel: 410-708-5144


Captain Nordhoff
Captain Nordhoff