One hundred degree heat indexes are not good for York River State Park's pier at Croaker Landing has seen more productive seasons than this one. But, don't be too quick to give up on it. There is another delicious gift of the river that can be caught even when the fish develop lockjaw.
Crabs are opportunist that will feed on anything they can get their claws on
Blue Crabs are a staple here in eastern Virginia. Thanks to wise management and resourceful commercial harvesting, There are plenty of opportunities for people to catch and keep these "beautiful swimmers" for a meal. They tend to hang around marsh grasses (especially when they are shedding and are soft shelled) and cement or wooden pilings. As structures attract smaller organisms, these predatory crustaceans take advantage of the smorgasbord around them.
This makes the 360 foot Croaker Landing pier the perfect place for crabbing
Recreational crabbing can be done either with a baited trap or a line and long handled dip net. Chicken necks and backs are time tested baits. Fish heads, squid, and the like are also effective. Be sure to follow size and quantity regulations so that there will be plenty for others to enjoy. Catching up to a bushel of 5-inch Jimmies (males) and 3 1/2 inch Sooks (females) is not impossible on the pier.
Steam your catch alive with your favorite seasonings until they turn a lovely shade of red
Picked crab meat, especially from the back fin, is the main ingredient for delicious grilled cakes. rockfish. Of course, there is nothing like sitting in the shade picking and eating them with a favorite beverage nearby.
Boaters are finding croakers and spot in slightly deeper water due to the heat this summer. But, pier anglers are not shut out of the action. Throw out a couple of crab lines for fun and dinner. And bring your rod and reel too, Imperial-stuffed croaker makes a good meal.
Croaker Landing is a separate section of York River State Park. From I-64, take Exit 231-B (Croaker) and continue 2-1/2 miles and turn right on Croaker Landing Road. Parking is $6 per vehicle all day. Honor parking is in effect when no one is at the contact station.