Harry Foote Jr., 74, a retired waterman with craggy features, surveys the setting sun gleaming through trees over the fishing boats docked on Armstrong Creek, and remarks, “What killed crabbing this season was that the market dried up. It wouldn’t matter whether we had a hurricane or not. People are broke. Not enough customers. Earlier in the season the crabs were immature. By the middle of September, the crabs are prime, full of meat. September and October were probably our best two months.”
Tylerton, MD, population 55, is a secluded little hamlet located on Smith Island in the Chesapeake Bay. The town, which is reachable by a 40-minute ferry ride from Crisfield, MD, is steeped in crabbing tradition. The island provides beautiful vistas contrasted with eroding shorelines peppered with dilapidated crab shanties and boat moorings. Tylerton is a place where it’s spectacular sunrise is equaled by the sunset.