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How to catch crabs without a crab trap

Updated April 17, 2017

Collapsible crab traps are commonly used to catch crabs. However, there are other ways to catch crab that do not involve a trap. With patience and coordination, you can catch crabs with a dip net or a drop line.

Catch crabs with a dip net by using a long-handled net. Wade into a cove or shoreline on foot or from a boat. Wait for a crab and then quickly dip your net into the water to catch it. There is no need for bait when catching crabs with a net.

Catch crabs with a drop line or sing (string) line by tying bait to the end of a line or ball of string. Use raw chicken necks, salted eel, bull lips or raw fish heads as bait. Attach a small stick (approximately one foot in length) to the line. Dip the line into the water and wait for a nibble. When you feel a nibble, slowly raise the line and reel it around the stick until the crab is in the air. Use a net to transfer the crab from the line to the bucket.

Wear gloves when handling crabs to prevent pinches and bites. Place crabs in a basket or cooler filled with ice. Alternatively, use a live well to help keep the crabs alive longer as you continue to catch more crab. Eat your catch the same day.

Things You'll Need

  • Dip net
  • Line
  • Stick
  • Gloves
  • Bucket with ice
  • Bait
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About the Author

Audrey Farley began writing professionally in 2007. She has been featured in various issues of "The Mountain Echo" and "The Messenger." Farley has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Richmond and a Master of Arts in English literature from Virginia Commonwealth University. She teaches English composition at a community college.