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Crabbing Basics

Fishing Department - Saturday, November 07, 2015

Crabbing Basics



A Crab Trap

Approximately 100 ft sinking line or floating line plus a weight.

A float with your name and phone number on it. (No improvised float like a bleach bottle)

Bait container and bait.

Crab measuring device.

Tidal fishing license.

Any crab trap will work. Some people prefer a round trap as the theory is when crabs come to the corner of a square trap they fail to negotiate the corner and keep going in a straight direction. Personally all my traps are square and I catch lots.


Fix your bait holder in the bottom middle of your trap. Hard bait holders work better than soft mesh ones. Once the crabs eat all the bait they will attempt to get out. So a hard bait holder makes it more difficult for them to empty it.


What to use as bait depends on where you are crabbing. Fresh fish is the best. Particularly salmon or herring. Prawn heads are maybe even better than fish. I keep salmon and prawn heads in my spare freezer. If you don't have your own supply, we sell frozen herring that work very well. Alternatively you can use chicken backs, or necks. Chicken works, in fact any fresh meat works. In fact, in Nanaimo Harbour most people use chicken as we have a resident seal that knows all about fish heads in crab traps.

Whatever you use, make sure it is fresh. Old meat, commercial pellets, or cat food will work, but will attract undersized, and female crabs that can't compete with the big males for premium food.

 When choosing a location to drop the trap I look for a shallow sand/mud bay, preferably with a fresh water source flowing in. If there is a creek or stream try dropping the trap in 30-60 ft in front of the stream. Let the trap soak for 30 min to 2hr before you check it. After a couple hours the bait tends to get eaten by crabs, fish or other creatures and the crabs start to try to find a way out.


Good luck, Steve V.



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