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How to Use a Crab Line

Updated April 17, 2017

Many people use crab baskets and traps to catch crabs, but learning to use a crab line can bring some fun and adventure back to harvesting those tasty critters. Crabbing is a family-friendly activity that even the youngest in your party can accomplish. The old-fashioned technique of using a crab line requires simple supplies that are available locally at hardware and grocery stores. Get an early start and you can enjoy fresh crab for dinner tonight.

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  1. Decide where you want to go crabbing. Choose any marshland or creek, or you can crab straight from your boat. Note that crabs remain close to shore in murky water and stay farther out in clear water.

  2. Cut a piece of fishing line with your knife that is about 10 feet long. Fill your bucket with cold water.

  3. Pinch a sinker weight to the end of the piece of fishing line with a pair of pliers. Tie a chicken neck above the sinker weight to use as crab bait.

  4. Fasten a stick to the other end of your fishing line. Hold the stick and lower the chicken into the water. Wait until you feel something nibbling the chicken.

  5. Slowly pull up the fishing line when you feel and see the crab eating your chicken bait. Remove the crab from the line with tongs and place it into the cold water in your bucket.

  6. Use tongs when removing the crabs from the bucket in order to prepare them for boiling.

  7. Tip

    Wear shoes to protect your feet and prevent getting pinched by a crab.


    Always obey the laws regarding crabbing in your state.

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Things You'll Need

  • Knife
  • Bucket
  • Pliers
  • Sinker weight
  • Fishing line
  • Stick
  • Chicken necks
  • Tongs

About the Author

Kimberly Dyke is a Spanish interpreter with a B.A. in language and international trade from Clemson University. She began writing professionally in 2010, specializing in education, parenting and culture. Currently residing in South Carolina, Dyke has received certificates in photography and medical interpretation.

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