View Full Version : crabbing

10-13-2006, 01:34 PM
Hi there
I have never crabbed before but the wife wants to. If she aint happy, aint nobody happy in my house!
So, can anybody tell me where to sling the trap, sand or rock?
I hear the limit is sex specific. I take it we leave the gals and keep the guys? How do I sex a crab? and what are the limits

10-13-2006, 10:28 PM
If you have a boat that will make a difference where you crab.
Sand is where you will find Dungeness crab.Ca does not have rules for keeping females if you are sport fishing but most guys will only keep males anyway.the males have a narrow tail as seen from the underside and females tails are real wide for the purpose of carrying eggs and newly hatched young. the limit is 10 if you are fishing from shore or on a private boat and 6 crabs if fishing from a charter or party boat. also read the DFG regs for season rules as to where you are fishing.My wife remided me to say You will also need a gauge for everyone on board when you are crabbing

10-14-2006, 01:33 PM
You might want to go out on a crab combo first,and see if its for you. To do it right it takes time and money to figure it out. Having said that.It is great eating and i started to do it last year. There are 3 kinds of crabs that you can target. The easyest are Red crabs,and rock crabs.You get these in shalower water,next to rocks. Hoop nets work best.They dont get as big as dungines,but taste good. there is no season. The crab that gets people excited are dungenes.They are caught on the sand. They can be caught in as shallow as 20 ft. but 60-200+ ft is usally better.You can use hoop nets,but to do it right you need traps,thats where the money comes into the picture. Danilson traps will cost about 30-40 bucks,rope,floats,weights,bait holder,bait jars.all will add up to around $80 per trap, round commercial traps run $140 rigged up. I would fish a minumum of 3 traps. good luck ;)

10-15-2006, 04:59 PM
if you do crab from a boat


if you do not other boats will not be happy with you when they tear up a prop or shaft from your floating line
you wont be happy when you line is cut and your pot is lost

if you do not use weights on your line...may you be the first to hit it


10-15-2006, 09:21 PM
Team Sheryl Lee,

I would like to try my hand at crabbing.

What do you mean when you say weight your lines???


10-16-2006, 08:22 AM
if you do crab from a boat



I could not agree more

The line weightd used for crab pots look like a big egg sinker that weigh about 3-4 oz with a 1/2 in. hole for the trap line to run thru and they are crimped in place or held in place with a seperate peice of rope that is braided into the main line,most guys run their line weights about 25 feet below the float and extra weights down deeper on longer ropes to stop the rope from floating and being run over and tangled in boat props as TSL has said

10-16-2006, 02:09 PM
thanks for the tips everybody.
I did forget to mention that I will be on my boat when crabbing.
I will most certainly use weights and very much appreciate the tip. I have had one of my props line tied with rope before and not only does it take forever to get back home but spending time with a diver who was good to goat 9pm wasnt too much fun (even though he was a good guy)

One last question, with the need for a guage, I take it there is a size limit for Dungeness....no need to respond, I will check the DFG site

10-16-2006, 08:54 PM

Thanks for the info!!

10-16-2006, 08:56 PM
When you buy your traps, pick up about 1/2dozen of them,and keep them with the traps. I clip them on a bait hanger. That way you will never forget them. They are made out of plastic and cost $1.99! Everyone needs one to take a limit!

10-17-2006, 09:49 AM
Ok guys here is a question for you, once the crabs are taken out of the traps how long do you have before you need to boil them or do you need to boil them right away and what is the best way to handle them after being caught, ice chest, gunny sack ?????? and what is the best bait to use, thanks for any feedback.

West Coast Fishing

10-17-2006, 12:08 PM
I use chicken. I have used everything else and chicken works the best. The sea lions don't care for it either - which is a bonus. You are going to want to keep your crabs alive until you cook them. I keep mine in my live well until I get out of the water - then I drain the water and pour ice over them. They can live about two hours that way. As soon as they die they secrete toxins into their meat. You could also use a wet gunny sack in an ice chest. Keep them cold though. Good luck.

10-18-2006, 02:20 PM
I crab out of my kayak and have been very successful. I usually limit out in two hours with 24 large male Dungeness crabs. That's 12 for me and 12 for my wife in the kayak next to me.
I have kept live crabs in the ice chest in heavy ice for 2 1/2 days before cooking them. With the water at a boil they cook for 18 minutes.
3 crabs generally make 1 pound of cleaned crab meat.

Very important, I use a pair of stainless tongs to sort out the crabs I'm not keeping. I have tried other tongs and they just rust in contact with salt water. The SS Tongs are made in the US and are not that expensive.

I bait with chicken thighs not legs. I use a Morrison Bait Jar device with 1/2 holes, this keeps the seals out. After the second toss of the trap, I inject the bait with Anise Oil or some other scent. This keeps your bait attractive to the crabs.

I use both soaker pots and ring pots. I had them made smaller than the commercial pots because of weight. The soaker pots are light enough for me to stand on the rocks and toss them out 15 or 20 with a 40 foot line to tie them off and let them soak for several hours before hoisting them out. You need to know the waters where you are tossing them. I'm usually in a deep flat channel where the crabs like to travel. I use this method when I'm too lazy to put the kayak in.

If someone could tell me how to post photos on this forum, I would be happy to show pics of what I use.

10-18-2006, 02:51 PM
Before you post a pic and implicate yourself - read the regs (section 29.85. page 38). The limit is 10 per person on dungeness. The fine is $500 per crab. If you are keeping 24 then thats a $2000 fine if you are caught. Better throw 4 back next time.

10-18-2006, 02:56 PM
Sorry Vito,
You need to know what state you are crabbing in!
In the great state of Oregon the limit is 12 males per lic with a 5 3/4 size keeper. My state should show on my profile. :)
Would never presume to fish over the limit in any state.
Thanks for the heads up. I assume you are crabbing in Calif?
If you get up this way let me know and I'll show you some great bays and rivers to get your limit.

10-18-2006, 02:59 PM
Groovy man - Just lookin' out.