Crabbing is the skill of capturing those feisty but delicious shellfish we call crabs. For recreational crabbers like you and I, there are a few, easy-to-learn methods for catchy these delightful critters. It requires absolutely NO prior experience and provides hours of fun for everyone.

The Basics on Recreational Crabbing with a Line and Net:

One of the simplest crabbing methods relies on a line (with an optional weight), bait, and a dip net. The line can be nylon string or fishing line. Crabs don’t pull that hard so you can buy something cheap. Fishing line may be overkill but if you have that lying around, it is perfect to use. For the net, a dip net works perfectly. The length of the handle needs to be just long enough to nab the crab from where you are standing or sitting. A 2 to 3 feet handle should be sufficient. The bait is something that not many people would guess crabs eat, and it’s not something crabs normally have access to: chicken. Crabs LOVE chicken. The bait is easily available at your local grocery store. Buy some chicken, preferably a cut that has bone on it so that you can tightly secure your string to it. Chicken necks work great because they are tough and cheap. Now, here are the steps to catching crab with this method:


  1. Find a shallow water location where you think there are crabs (Piers and docks also work but made by more difficult). Stand at the shore to begin.
  2. Cut a long piece of line and secure a piece of chicken (and weight) at one end by tying it. Tip: It’s important that your bait sinks. Chicken bone might do this but you should use a weight just in case.

  3. Throw your bait out into the water as far as you desire without losing a handle on the other end of the string. Tip: Tying the “non-bait” end to a twig or stick will help it from flying out of your hands.
  4. Wait for a tug on your line. You can feel this as the crab tries to take the bait with it or eats the bait while it’s on the line.
  5. Slowly reel the line in making sure your crab does not flee.
  6. Once the crab gets close enough and is unwary of your intentions, use the dip net to quickly scope the crab up.


The equipment and bait can be cheaply and easily obtained. More importantly, however, this is such a fun way to crab! You get to use your skill and craftiness to coax the crab into your trap. It culminates in a climax when you utilize your net to catch the crab. There is skill involved and therefore you can compete with your friends or family members.


This method only catches one crab at a time (two or three if you are really lucky). The line mostly requires constant attention from you. Although you can employ this method of crabbing on a dock or a pier, this method works best in shallow waters where you can access by the shore. The crabs should be very close to the water floor when you catch them this way.


Practice good hygiene and wash your hands after handling raw chicken. Ingesting bacteria from the chicken can cause illness.
Ready to start crabbing? Check out some useful stuff at the store.