In order to get the freshest crab meat, find out here how to catch crabs at the beach. There's a thrill in catching crabs that is rare; you are going up against something, that, while small, can slice into your flesh with their claws and scamper away in a highly amusing manner. Be aware, crabs are dangerous, in that you might end up losing a part of your finger if you're not careful. Now you have a few options, but need a few items to help you out.
To catch crabs, you will need:
- A pair of thick gloves that can withstand cuts (think leather or knife proof)
- Bait, such as raw chicken
- Twenty feet of thin rope or heavy fishing line
- A sinker or weight
- A hand net, at least one foot wide
- A large bucket
- [Optional] A crab trap
- Check your state laws on crab fishing. Each state has their own laws on seasons, limits, and types of crabs which can be taken. Make sure you adhere to these laws.
- Decide what method you want to use. Your choices are to use a crab trap (either purchased or homemade) or to use bait attached to a line to drag the crab in.
Prepare your bait. Cut up some raw chicken into large pieces and attach them to the end of your line or in the trap.
- Pick your location. Crabs can be found around rocky areas where they can hide, in marsh areas, and also in various sandy/graveled beds. You should find a location that is convenient to you that will not interfere with other coastal operations, as well as being a known place to find crabs. You can ask at your local bait shop or other fishermen; they should be able to steer you to a good location.
Drop your trap or set your line. Attach a sinker to your line to keep it on the bottom. Put it in a spot that you think might give you the best results and ideally where you can see if a crab has taken the bait.
When there is a tug on the line, pull it up. You should feel a tug on the line if a crab is eating your bait. If using a trap where the bait is not attached to the line you pull up, you will have to keep an eye on it or check the trap periodically.
- Get the crab into the bucket. Have the net ready to pick the crab off the line. If using your hands, you want to grab the crab from behind, but not by the claws. You have a greater chance of being cut by the crab if you attempt to grab its claws. Also, the arms of a crab might come off, allowing the crab to escape and leaving you with just one or two claws for your troubles. Make sure you have some heavy gloves on in case the crab tries to use its claws.
- Check the crab to make sure you can keep it. Based on your state's laws, determine if the crab is a keeper. If not, toss it back into the water and try again.