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“Geechee Girl” Gone Crabbing and AirBnB’s Got Ya Covered


A health crisis led Tia Clark to her purpose by way of destiny. She went “kicking and screaming” along a path punctuated by friends, family and loved ones pleading with her to turn her passion into a livelihood. According to Clark, every step of the way her resistance was smoothed over by the love which surrounded her. As she describes it, “the business should be called kicking and screaming with Tia, not Casual Crabbing with Tia.”

The crabbing experience on a private dock in downtown Charleston includes two crabbing technique lessons, how to throw a cast net, and a little fishing. Clark and her staff will clean the crabs for guests to have cooked at a partnering local restaurant, the Charleston Crab House.

As a native and lifelong resident of Charleston, Clark grew up on upper King Street, and her extended Geechee family grew up downtown on Henrietta Street. She started her career in hospitality at age 17, doing just about every job in a restaurant from dishwasher to manager, before settling on bartender manager. In 2016, she quit smoking, which kicked off a health crisis as her body wrestled with numerous issues. After a year long health protocol that got her well, exercise was prescribed.

At the same time, she attended a family wedding surrounded by hundreds of her kin, including her cousin, Meechie, who invited her to go crabbing. The first place they went was under a bridge which she knew well, in an area familiar to her. Underneath the bridge was a magic she never knew existed, the water of her native home, filled with crabs, shrimp and fish. “I felt like my head cracked open when I went crabbing for the first time! I was 37 years old. The connection was instant!”

Her first crabbing expedition on a floating dock had her throwing a 7-foot cast net which came up with a crab and some shrimp. “I didn’t understand how food was in the water. I did not want anyone else to tell my story,” as crabbing was a shocking realization of her own ignorance of the very seafood bounty in her own backyard. “I wanted answers. I couldn’t understand how I didn’t know about the natural habitat I call home.”

Eventually, one of her customers sent her an article about Air BnB locations looking for activities to highlight in their online experience platform. Thankfully, Tia’s wife Katie completed the application to submit on behalf of “Casual Crabbing with Tia.” With Clark’s permission, the start of a wildly popular travel experience was born. The submission and acceptance led to her recognition as one of the top four international hosts after only three months on the platform. As the only one from the U.S., she was hosted by the corporate team for a week with the others to pick their brains in November of 2018.

I felt like a “crab out of water”, said Clark. “I’m just a Geechee girl from downtown Charleston.”

As the business began to be full time, she stopped bartending in May of 2019. Her community collaborations include partnering with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, South Carolina Oyster Recycling and Enhancement (SCORE) program, and NOAA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which funded a grant for Title 1 schools to experience crabbing, fishing, conservation and learning about the salt marsh with Edith Frierson elementary school on Wadmalaw Island and her alma mater, Burke High School.

Also serving on the board of directors for the Charleston Water Keepers, appointed to the Marine Advisory Board for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, and the South Carolina Aquarium,“Good Catch” program for sustainability, leaves Clark feeling grateful. “I love having a voice in these rooms, I take a lot of pride in being a native Geechee Charlestonian. Charleston is a small town and it always will be.”


Susan Nefzger

A seasoned PR pro and food photographer, Susan is an inspirational writer who travels the world planning her trips by dining reservations. She started the GA Lottery in the 90’s and turned to food watching Public TV with Jacques Pepin, Natalie Dupree and The Frugal Gourmet. She is an accomplished home cook and lover of all cuisines.



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