What is the best type of crabbing?

What is the best type of crabbing? Generally, there are 3 types of crabbing: boat crabbing, pier crabbing and shore crabbing. After you’ve read this article, hopefully you’ll have a better idea which type of crabbing is best for you and your family.

Note, you’ll want to review crabbing guidelines at your state’s applicable regulatory agency regarding all updated rules, seasons, bag limits, etc. If you plan to cook and eat crab you catch, you should first conduct your own research regarding crab consumption guidelines and advisories.

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Boat Crabbing & Crab Cages (aka Crab Pots)

Boat crabbing is where you use a boat to distribute crab cages in the ocean, then at some later time you go back to check on them. You can also use crab rings or snares, but I typically see people with boats using the crab cages since you can leave them in the ocean for a long period of time and not worry about the crabs escaping (unless someone raids your crab cage).

Crab cages are circular or box shaped and you secure a bait cage in the center of the cage. There is usually one or more doorways into the cage and once a crab passes through the doorway, they can’t get out. See picture and links below to purchase.

I’ve never gone boat crabbing, but I have used a crab cage on a pier before. If you’re okay with dropping the cage into the water and leaving it alone, then a cage may work for you even when your crabbing on a pier…but it probably won’t be as fun for kids if you have them. Kids love to constantly pull up the traps to see if there are any crabs in them.

Crab cage or pot

Promar TR-555 Folding Crab Trap with top Door – https://amzn.to/3uTyU1b

Promar 4 Arm Trap Harness – https://amzn.to/3biwiSF

Promar NE-100 Poly Crab Line, 100-Feet – https://amzn.to/389qglC

Pier Crabbing & Crab Rings (aka Crab Nets)

Pier crabbing is when you go to a public pier and drop crab traps into the water. Typically, I drop both crab rings and snares into the water from a pier. I don’t typically use the crab cages because it takes too much time for the crabs to get into the cages. Crabs can get into the crab rings and get snared in the crab snares much faster and easier.

A crab ring is typically comprised of two rings, outer ring and inner ring, see picture below. When you pull the crab ring up from the bottom of the ocean, the crab ring takes the shape of a funnel with the small ring at the bottom of the funnel and this traps the crabs in the crab ring.

Crab ring or net

If you’d like to learn more about pier crabbing and equipment I use, click here.

Surf Crabbing & Crab Snares

The last type of crabbing is surf crabbing using an ocean fishing pole and crab snare. Surf crabbing is when you are on a beach and you use your fishing pole to cast a crab snare into the ocean. But, you can also use crab snares on a pier and boat too.

Surf crabbing is best for older kids and adults because you have to have the strength and skill to handle an ocean fishing pole and spinning reel. I personally like crabbing with a crab snare the best versus a crab ring or crab cage because you can control where you place the snare in the water. If I’m on the pier, I can drop the snare straight down into the water or I can cast the snare away from the pier.

Shore crabbing with ocean fishing rod and crab snare.
Caught a Dungeness crab using a crab snare.

If you’d like to learn more about surf crabbing and what equipment I use, then check out my article about how to go surf crabbing, click here.

What is the best type of crabbing? My family enjoys both surf crabbing with snares and pier crabbing with snares and crab rings. What do you think is your favorite? I hope you have a better idea about which method would be best for your and your family. Happy crabbing!

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