How to Line Fish for Crabs

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Recreational crab fishing can provide a meal when camping near saltwater, and provide family fun when spending a day outdoors. A hand line is a more affordable than other types of crab fishing equipment. One downfall to using a hand line is that it can only catch one crab at a time.

This is not a problem when fishing for a small meal while camping. A few other pieces of equipment are needed to ensure you have a successful day using a hand line to catch crabs.

Unroll 6 or 7 feet of line from a roll of nylon line. Tie the loose end of the line to the thinnest part of a raw chicken leg.

Lower the raw chicken leg into saltwater near a dock or other structure. Continue lowering the chicken leg until it sits on the sea bottom. Tie a large loop in the nylon line. Slip the loop over a dock post or other structure near your fishing area.

Allow the chicken leg to sit on the bottom for 20 to 30 minutes, or until you see the line pull tight. Pull the line slowly off the sea bottom. Continue pulling until the chicken leg -- with a crab attached -- sits 5 or 6 inches below the surface of the water.

Hold the hand line steady. Lower a dip net in the water. Keep the dip net 12 to 24 inches away from the crab. Slide the net under the crab. Raise the net quickly to remove the crab from the water.

Measure the carapace -- body -- of the crab with a ruler. Place the crab in a plastic 5-gallon bucket filled halfway with seawater if the crab is of legal size.