Crab Fishing Guide: How To Fish For Crabs


There is a lot of delicious food hiding in the murky depths. Crabs are among the most popular kinds of seafood. To enjoy dining on delicious crabs, understanding how to fish for crabs is necessary.

While you may not be a fishing beginner, chances are that in the past, you have only gone after the normal fish. While you may know how to catch bass and other fish species, crab fishing requires special skills. In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about fishing for crabs.

Where to Go Crab Fishing

To increase your chances of landing a crab when you wear your fishing hat and grab everything you need during your crab fishing trip, you must understand where to go fishing for crabs. It is impossible to find crabs in freshwaters.  Crabs like to hang out in saltwater, including bays, saltwater inlets, and river estuaries.

Fishing for crabs on piers and docks will increase your chances of success. This is because crabs are very fond of underwater structures.

If your goal is to land the biggest crabs, you should visit the Northwest coast. However, you can still find crabs on the west and east coasts.

The Best Time to Go Fishing for Crabs

Crab fishing success is dependent on the fishing time. While it is possible to lure and catch the crabs during the day, day time is not the best time to wear your fishing shirt and go fishing for crabs.

Crabs are generally nocturnal creatures; hence, they will be more active at night. Planning a night fishing trip could help you increase your odds of landing more crabs.

Most of the crab fishing professionals report that crabbing during the slack tide has, in most instances, helped them land crabs. The slack tide refers to the 2-hour window existing between the high and low tides and vice versa.

Water moves slowly during the slack tide. This makes it possible for the crabs to move slowly on the sea bed so that they can feed. For this reason, the chances of the crabs taking your bait will be much higher.

When trying to decide the ideal time of the year to go after crabs, you will need to consider the type of crab you intend to land. The popular crab fishing seasons begin in the fall months. The seasons generally last through the winter.

The Necessary Equipment

Irrespective of the crab species you intend to catch after you wear your fishing sunglasses, the majority of the crab fishing equipment will be the same. For the majority of crabbing methods, you will need the following equipment.

1. Bait

While different crab species may have varying diets, the majority of the species are not too finicky. This tells you that they may end up eating just about anything you present to them.

When choosing the meat to use to land the crabs, you should invest in tough meat. The major reason for this is that the crabs will have a harder time tearing the tough meat. This improves your chances of landing the crab.

Both chicken and duck necks are generally tough. Additionally, they are cheap and easy to find. This means that you can use both the meats as bait when fishing for crabs. Some crab fishing experts do report that chicken legs and chunks of fish, baitfish, and eel may also offer great results.

Leaving the bait you intend to use outside overnight is a good idea. The bait will acquire a pungent odor. This odor should draw the crabs in.

2. Safety Equipment

If you are just getting started with crab fishing, staying safe is crucial. It is not uncommon for crabs to be aggressive.

To avoid being injured while handling the crabs, you should invest in a pair of thick crabbing gloves. The ideal gloves should be made up of heavy-duty rubber. It is worth noting that the standard fishing gloves or the normal ice fishing gloves may not be an ideal option.

In addition to using the crabbing gloves, you can also use tongs to handle the crabs. This will keep the crabs at a safe distance.

Accidents do happen. This means that you may end up being pinched even after taking all the necessary precautions. For this reason, packing some band-aids and rubbing alcohol when planning to go fishing for crabs is an excellent idea. If you get pinched, you should immediately wash the wound and cover it.

3. Measuring Device

If you are crabbing in an area featuring size restrictions, a measuring device is essential. It will help you keep only the right-sized crabs. An adjustable caliper should be an ideal measuring device.

4. Storage Container

Just like you use a fishing cooler when going after different fish species, you should have a storage container when crab fishing. You can use either a cool box or a large bucket filled with cool water.

You must ensure the crabs are still breathing until you are ready to throw them in your cooking pot. Crabs generally start spoiling the moment they die. Hence, they should stay dead for the least possible time before being thrown into the cooking pot.

Note: If your container is not large enough, you need to change the water frequently. This will ensure that the crabs do not die from lack of oxygen.

5. Net

Nets are not one of the basic crab fishing requirements. However, it can make scooping the crab much easier for you.

6. License

Staying on the right side of the law is important. Check with the authorities to determine whether there are any restrictions or requirements in the crab fishing spot you intend to visit. Also, be sure to get a crab fishing license.

Methods of Fishing for Crabs

Using a Hand Line

This is the simplest method of catching crabs. Among crabbers, it is the most popular considering that it requires minimal equipment.

The necessary equipment for this method includes a bait, drip net, and crab fishing line capable of reaching the sea bed. After attaching your bait to the line, simply throw it into the water. Give the line time for it to reach the sea bottom before you tie it off.

The line should have slack. This will make it possible for you to see whether crabs are pulling at your bait. When you notice that a crab is pulling on the bait, you will need to pull the line up slowly. If you pull the line too quickly, you could spook the crab and hence eliminating the chance of landing the crab.

Once the line gets close to the surface, use your net to scoop the crab. After sizing the crab to determine that you won’t be breaking the law by keeping it, put it in the storage container.

Using a Trap from the Shore

For this method, you will need to invest in crab traps. You should be able to find a wide variety of crab traps in the market. The key thing to note is that the crab traps work the same way.

All you will need to do is put a bait on the trap, weigh it down and then drop it into the water while attached to a line. Allow the trap to drop to the bottom before you tie the line off. Make sure that a slack exists.

After dropping the trap, you should observe the line to figure out when crabs are trying to take the bait. Pulling firmly on the line should close the trap. All you will need to do next is pull your trap up.

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With the right tools and knowledge, fishing for crabs should not be too complicated for you. To increase your odds of catching crabs, you should go crab fishing at the right spot and at the right time.

Staying safe when crab fishing is crucial. You should wear protective gear and also have a first aid kit. The first aid kit is for when things go wrong. Be sure to comply with the rules and regulations to avoid lawsuits.

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!