Frequently asked Questions

  1. WHAT IS A TROTLINE?

    Watermen have crabbed on the Chesapeake Bay using a trotline for hundreds of years. It is one of the most efficient methods of crabbing. A trotline is a long length of rope which has bait attached to it every 4-6 feet. The preferred bait is chicken necks. They are attached to the main line by a simple slipknot known as a snood. This line is lowered into the water and sits near the bottom. It is anchored and attached to a buoys at each end.

    To "run" a trotline the Captain of the boat begins at one buoy. That end of the trotline is raised from the water and slipped over a roller which is attached to the starboard side of the boat at the stern. As the Captain pilots the boat slowly down the line, a person with a net will watch as the line rises up out of the water and over the roller. It is their job to dip the crabs that they see eating the bait. The "dipper" needs to be quick because the crabs will drop from the line as soon as they break the surface of the water. One helpful hint as well is to avoid casting your shadow on the line so as not to scare the crabs off too early. Once the boat has reached the second buoy the Captain will pilot her back to the starting buoy and "run the line" again.

    Captain Russell will provide the line, bait, nets and bushel baskets. Each passenger can take a turn dipping their own crabs. You can keep all that you catch!

  2. WHY SHOULD WE CHOSE CAPTAIN RUSSELL AND THE RILEY KAT?

    Captain Russell Dize is a Coast Guard certified licensed captain. He is a sixth generation waterman who can trace his ancestry on the Eastern Shore back to the late 17th Century. Born on Smith Island, Maryland he has been a waterman his entire life. He is the Captain of the Skipjack Kathryn on which he dredged oysters on the Chesapeake Bay every winter for 20 years. For the past 35 summers he has made his living crabbing on the Chesapeake Bay. With his lifetime of experience and wealth of knowledge you will not find a better Captain to make your day crabbing a successful and fun-filled experience!

    In addition, the Riley Kat is a spacious boat of the exact type that most watermen use to ply their living from the Bay. She is 42' long so everyone will have ample room to move about. Topped with a full canopy, she will not only shield you from the sun but will also provide cover from the rain.

  3. HOW LONG WILL WE BE OUT?

    Charters last approximately 4 - 5 hours. Arrange departure time with the Captain.

  4. AM I RENTING THE ENTIRE BOAT OR AM I RENTING A SEAT ON THE BOAT?

    The Riley Kat is hired as a private charter. This means that for $450.00 you and up to five of your friends have rented the boat for 4 - 5 hours. You will not find any "strangers" added to your party once you arrive at the dock.

  5. WHAT IS THE WEATHER POLICY?

    The Riley Kat sails rain or shine, Tuesday through Sunday. In the unlikely event that the Captain should need to cancel the charter, a full refund will be issued.

  6. WHAT IF WE DON'T CATCH ANY CRABS?

    It would be highly unusual for you not to catch anything. However, from June 15th through the end of the season, Captain Russell will guarantee you one bushel of crabs to take home with you.

  7. WHAT TYPE OF ITEMS SHOULD WE BRING WITH US?

    Captain Russell will provide you with all of the equipment you need to crab. Furthermore a cooler will be provided with iced water and sodas. You should bring any snacks or specific beverages you desire, a towel, sunscreen and a camera. You may want to bring a jacket.