Maryland crabs: From the Bay to the table

30 photos

Catch of the day: Maryland’s famous crustacean from the Bay to the table. Photo essay by Erin Kirkland.

By Erin Kirkland, The Baltimore Sun

Marcus Blake rarely misses a weekday sunrise. He and his crabbing crew cruise the Chesapeake Bay on Blake’s self-built crab boat, “Miss Kristi,” while most of us are still asleep. Meanwhile, Kristi — Blake’s wife, not the boat — helps runs the couple’s store, “Blake’s Crab House,” where the early morning catch is delivered just in time for the dinner rush.

But tracking down Chesapeake Blue Crabs is easier said than done. These creatures have a mind of their own, and can easily migrate tens of miles a day. So naturally the chase becomes part of the job — a part that keeps Blake intrigued. “It’s a job you better like, because if you don’t like it, you won’t make it,” he says.

Blake can’t rely on technology for this challenge. He must rely on changing bait, keeping up with Mother Nature and his own gut. Instead, the reminder of the mainland’s technology comes from the sounds of Ke$ha blasting from the radio, accented with a few infamous mid-work dance moves from crabber Dave Bomberg.