There are a few different ways to catch a great feed of crabs. Obviously you need to start crabbing in an area that is renowned for crabs. Estuaries, rivers, bays and inlets are ideal places to find crabs. There are 3 main methods of caching crabs. So what method works best? Read on to find out more.
Drop Nets – Drop nets are ideal for boat users but not as good for shore based anglers. Basically you need to drop a crab net with some form of bait hooked to the inside and middle of the net. You can buy basic nets with just a string netting or you can upgrade to nets where the base is made from chicken wire. The chicken wire nets are a bit more expensive but they are worth it in the long run as you will have less tangles. To start catching crabs with drop nets you need to leave the nets down on the bottom of the sea floor for around 10 minutes and then quickly pull them up. You need to quickly pull the line up to ensure that the crabs do not escape from the net. This method is often used from boats but can also be done from jetty’s and piers.
Common bait to use is any slimy fish or any old food that you may have (old roast chicken carcasses work great). Be sure that your rope is long enough for your drop nets. In places of high current (such as under bridges) the net may drift substantially before it hits the ocean floor. And remember to always tie the end to something otherwise you may lose all of your line and your nets. Some people use cages to put the bait in. This looks nice but from personal experience i believe crabs prefer to be able to get a good shot at the bait so using a clip is best.
All you need to do is run the bait through the clip and your away. Also remember you need to use a weight in certain situations to ensure the net sinks to the sea floor (especially in deeper spots). You need to refer to local regulations, guidelines and laws as to the number of nets you can legally use at one time. Scoop Nets – With this method you walk around in the shallows with a crab scoop net looking for crabs in the water. The scoop looks like a hanging basket steel frame attached to a long pole. This method requires good eyesight and stealthy reactions. The scoop net method is definatley challenging as well as rewarding but be prepared to be nipped a few times. Once caught, you generally put the crabs you intend to keep in a container that attaches to you via a rope. Be sure to put a little water in this container as well as cover with a damp cloth or towel. This container should follow you around wherever you go leaving you free to catch more crabs.
The crabs will usually put up their pincers once they see you and then swim to one side, so it is good to try to approach them with the scoop from either their left or right side (i.e. don’t approach them with the scoop from the front or behind) Although this method is fun you are more likely to get undersize crabs due to the shallow depth of water. Diving for crabs – There are a few ways to dive for crabs. You can either just free dive from a boat or get dragged behind a boat with a rope and then drop off when you see a crab. You will need a thick glove to dive for crabs and you need to come up from behind them to surprise them. With this method you will get nipped so be cautious and prepared. You will probably also need weights attached to you for this method to help you sink to the ocean floor. Goggles and a snorkel are also a must. So if you are having no luck fishing, or you want to try something different then give crabbing a go. Just remember to only keep crabs that are of legal size (they are usually measured across the carcass). Refer to the local laws for the minimum sizes of the species you are targeting.