Trapping crabs is an activity that requires not just skill but also the right equipment and knowledge. In Florida, there are five subspecies of diamondback terrapins: Carolina, Florida east coast, mangrove, ornate, and another yet to be identified. Preparing your traps with the correct bait and attaching it properly to your net is crucial, and sometimes, a bait box can be an effective addition.
Bay Country Crabbing Supply and Tackle offers a one-stop solution for all crabbing, fishing, and hunting needs around the Chesapeake Bay. For beginners, the KUFA Vinyl Coated Crab Trap Accessory Kit is an excellent purchase, providing everything needed to start crabbing with traps.
It’s important to minimize the set time for fishing gear to reduce accidental harm to aquatic animals like platypus and turtles. West Marine, apart from crab pots, also offers pinfish bait traps and a shrimp pot. When choosing your trapping material, remember that crabs don’t pull very hard, so something like cotton string can be effective.
Crab traps have specific regulations. They cannot exceed 18 cubic feet and must include two escape rings for immature crabs. This is important for sustainable crabbing practices. In some regions, commercial shrimpers are incentivized to remove derelict crab traps during operations, helping to reduce ghost fishing.
When setting up your trap, such as a kayak crab pot, ensure the bait is inside, attach the rope, and drop it into the water, hitting the bottom. The effectiveness of luminescent traps on crab catch per unit effort (CPUE) depends on the soak time. Baiting each trap with herring and ensuring a separation between them can increase your chances of a successful catch.
Derelict crab traps can continue to trap and harm marine life for years, depending on environmental conditions and trap materials. This highlights the importance of responsible crabbing practices.
In addition to traps, other methods like crab nets, ring nets, and crab lines can also be effective. Baiting with raw chicken and casting into shallow waters can be a simple yet effective technique.
Remember, crabs prefer rocky areas, especially in deeper waters. Marking your trap location with a bright object, like a foam ball, helps in keeping track of your equipment.
Lastly, the Pro-Cure Crab and Shrimp Attractant Bait Oil is highly recommended, especially for Dungeness crabs, enhancing the effectiveness of your crabbing efforts.