How to Catch Female Crabs With a Peeler Pot

Updated February 21, 2017

The peeler pot is a highly effective way of catching mate-seeking female crabs. These crabs are known as peeler crabs because they are just about to undergo ecdysis--molting or peeling off their old, outgrown shell to reveal a new one that hardens in 2 or 3 days' time.

Bait your peeler pot with a live male or "Jimmy" crab. He must be completely closed off in his own wire compartment within the trap to keep him from coupling with the first female crab to enter the trap and thus eliminate his desire to attract others.

Check local regulations to make sure you're following local crabbing and fishing rules; in particular check whether leaving food for the Jimmy crab is allowed--usually it is not. Also make sure to check any emergency orders active in your area just before setting out.

Make sure your peeler pot is securely attached to a line, then lower it into the water. Peeler pots must be used in "bald" places where the bottom is clear of eelgrass.

Raise your peeler pot to retrieve trapped female crabs, then return it to the water for more. The captive male crab will continue to attract females, who enter the pot hoping to mate and then become trapped.


Make sure you've got your fishing license and any other documentation that is required in your area with you when crabbing.


Crabs' sharp claws can cause a lot of damage. Wear crabbing gloves and handle them carefully from the back to avoid their sharp claws.

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