- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
An Anne Arundel County man crabbing Sunday morning in the Patuxent River died after he became tangled in a trotline and was pulled overboard, Maryland Natural Resources Police report.
Lewis Jack Sprouse, 29, of Harwood was operating a 17-foot Mako center console boat Sept. 9 about a mile south of Sheridan Point in the Patuxent River offshore of Cremona Farm in Mechanicsville, according to a Natural Resources Police report.
Sprouse may have been putting out his trotline, NRP spokesperson Sgt. Brian Albert said, when his foot became tangled in the line at about 8:45 a.m. that morning.
Sprouse was pulled overboard, striking the boat’s moving propeller, according to the report.
“We think [the propeller] struck him in the head,” Albert said.
According to the NRP report, “After Sprouse was pulled into the water, witnesses said they saw the boat going in circles then coming to a stop after his body struck the propeller, stalling the engine.”
“We think he was out recreational fishing,” Albert said, adding that Sprouse was alone in the boat and did hold a valid tidal fishing license.
His body was recovered by Charles County’s dive team, which assisted the Natural Resources Police and members of the Benedict Volunteer Fire Department in the incident.
Sprouse’s body was taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for an autopsy.
A trotline is a long line with bait attached at intervals that is anchored on the bottom of the water. As it is pulled up, crabs hanging onto bait are caught with a net. Trotlines can be used by recreational or commercial fishermen.
Tommy Zinn, president of the Calvert Watermen’s Association, said the accident was “very unfortunate.”
Zinn said that boat decks can become slippery and dangerous when fishing.
“The weather can play a big factor, too,” Zinn said. “There are a lot of hazards out here [on the water] and you got to take precautions.”