Constructing a crab pot is a bit of a project, but if the trap is well constructed, the financial benefits of fresh-caught seafood can far outweigh the time spent building it. The basic frame of a crab pot consists of two U-shaped pieces that lock into each other to form the outer walls and the parlour, a v-shaped piece attached inside the cube. Additionally, there are four cylindrical pieces called the entrance funnels, which are connected to holes made in the outside walls of the trap, where the crabs enter; the bait box, where the bait is kept; and the hatch, and open seam along one side, which is used to empty the catch of crabs from the trap.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
Things you need
- 20 feet of PVC coated wire crab pot wire (24 inches wide, 18-gauge with 1-1/2 inch mesh spacing.)
- 3 feet of PVC coated 11-gauge smooth wire
- 2 feet of PVC coated eel pot wire (24 inches wide with 1 inch by 1/2 inch mesh size)
- No. 4 Hog rings
- Hog ring fastener
- 6 inches of bungee cord, 7/32 inches in diameter
- 2 cull rings
- 1 plastic hook
- Wire cutters
- 2 2-by-4 boards, about 3 feet long
Cut a piece of crab pot wire that measures 20 meshes long. Lay the wire flat and count six meshes from the left side. Lay a 2-by-4 board on the wire, with the left edge of the board at the beginning of the seventh mesh.
Bend the left side of the wire up at a 90-degree angle over the 2-by-4, being careful not to move the board as you do so.
Count six meshes from the right side of the length of wire, and place another 2-by-4 board on that side, with the right side of the board positioned at the point where the seventh mesh from the right begins.
Bend the right side of the wire up at a 90-degree angle over the two-by-four. Do not disturb the board.
Remove the boards. You should now have a U-shaped piece of wire. Check that you have bent your wire at the proper places by taking another length of crab pot wire and checking to ensure it measures the same, width-wise, as the bottom of the U (between the bends).
Perform steps 1 through 5 on another length of crab pot wire measuring 20 meshes.
Cut a piece of crab pot wire that measures 11 meshes long. Trim a half a mesh lengthwise from each side of the wire to end up with a piece nine full meshes long.
Place a 2-by-4 at the very centre of the piece to completely cover the fifth complete mesh.
Bend the two sides of the wire up into a V shape. Remove the board and turn the wire upside down so that it is standing on its two ends.
Turn the wire so the tip of the V is perpendicular to you. Skip the mesh closest to you and begin cutting the funnels (the wire holding the meshes) among the next three meshes. Do the same thing on the other side of the wire. This will be your parlour.
Cut another piece of crab pot wire that measures two meshes long. Trim off the smooth edges of the wire on the left side at an angle so that there are 12 full hexagons on one side of the wire and 10 on the other. Trim the right side, but cut the wire in between meshes so there are three loose ends, or "pigtails," hanging off the hexagons.
Shape the wire into a cylinder. Attach the two of the cylinder by bending the pigtails around the other side so they hook the two sides together like a clasp.
Bend the cylinder at then centre slowly. Do not flatten it totally, so that the ends of the piece are oval-shaped, rather than circular. One end should be wider than the other.
Repeat steps 1 through 3 again on another three pieces of crab pot wire so that you end up with four completed entrance funnels.
Cut a piece of eel pot wire that measures 25 meshes long and 12 meshes wide. Bend this piece into a cylinder.
Fasten the two ends of the cylinder together using hog rings and your hog ring fastener. Use at least three hog rings (one on each end, and one in the middle) to keep it firmly clasped together.
Flatten the wire at the end of the tube that has rough ends of the wire hanging off. Use hog rings to fasten the flattened end shut. This will be your bait box.
Face one of your U-shaped pieces up, with the flat bottom of the piece resting on the ground. Place your parlour piece into the U, forming an upside down V-shape.
Attach the loose ends of the parlour to the U piece about two meshes from the edge. Bend the loose ends to fasten the parlour to the U piece..
Assembling the Bait-box Attaching the Parlor to U-shaped Piece
Cut a hole in the bottom of the U-shaped piece by clipping out a full hexagon in the very centre.
Push the bait box through the hole so the smooth side lines up with the bottom of the U-shaped piece, and the flattened side touches the slants of the parlour.
With hog rings, attach the smooth round side of the bait box to the bottom of the U-shaped piece.
Using hog rings, attach each corner of the flattened side of the bait box to the spot where it touches the parlour.
Set the assemblage so that it is lying on the bottom side with both arms of the U extended upward.
Install the Bait Box
Place the other U-shaped piece over the first U-shaped piece so the two lock together and form a box.
Attach the two U-shaped pieces together by wrapping the loose ends of the wire over the two bottom edges. Attach only one of the top edges together, leaving one top edge free to use as your hatch, the place where you'll empty the trap.
Using hog rings, attach each of the four walls of the box together at the seams.
Attach the parlour with hog rings where it touches the walls of the box. Place one hog ring at the top of the V, and one hog ring in the middle of each arm of the V.
Install the Other U-shaped Piece
Adjust the box so you are facing one slope of the parlour and the seam where the tip of the V meets the U-shaped piece is on the ground.
Find the centre of the side facing you. Cut a hole along the bottom edge two hexagons high, the top row three hexagons long, and the bottom row two hexagons long. Do not cut on the seam. Cut on the first full row of hexagons above the seam instead.
Perform steps 1 and 2 on the side directly opposite (180 degrees) from the one on which you have just cut.
Rotate the box 90 degrees. Cut a hole on the bottom of this side, similar to the two you have just cut, except the top row is two hexagons long, and the bottom row is three hexagons long. Cut the same type of hole on the opposite side.
Push one funnel piece through each of the holes you have just created. Line up the larger side of the funnel with the wall of the box and the seam of the funnel faces the ground. Attach each funnel at the seam where it meets the wall using hog rings.
Install the Entrance Funnels
Move to the unattached seam (the hatch). Line the rough edge of the hatch with smooth 11-gauge wire by folding the loose ends of the edge of the box over it. Cut the extra wire off.
Position the box so that you are facing one of the sides where the slopes of parlour are attached to the outside walls with the parlour is standing like an upside down V.
Cut out a hexagon on the top left of the wall facing you. Line the cull ring up with the hole and bend the wire around it to fit it securely around the hole.
Rotate the box 180 degrees. Cut another hole--the same size as the first--out of the bottom right part of the side facing you. Line the second cull ring up with the second hole and bend the wire around it to fit it securely.
Loop the bungee cord around the top lip of the hatch side. Attach the bungee cord to the lip of the hatch using hog rings. Attach the hook to the end of the bungee cord. Form a handle by opening the hook and clasping it to another part of the wall.
Line the Hatch and Install the Cull Rings and Hook
Tips and warnings
- Wire is not counted in inches or feet but in meshes. To measure meshes, count along the smooth edge, or "selvedge," of the wire. One full hexagon of wire equals one mesh.
- When cutting wire (unless otherwise directed), always cut "along the half-mesh," which means count out the number of full hexagons required by the measurements, and make your cut in the middle of the next hexagon.
- If you prefer, you may make only two entrance funnels and funnel holes for your crab pot.
- You can use galvanised wire instead of PVC-coated, but you will need to tie on a zinc anode somewhere on the pot to keep it from rusting.
- Some recreational crabbers like to have a bait box door over their bait box so that they don't have to refresh their bait. To do this, attach over the bait box hole a piece of plastic or eel wire big enough to cover it, leaving one end free. Tie the other end closed with bungee cord.
- Consult your state regulations for crab traps in case you need to have special adjustments made to yours.
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