Crabs are tasty, but they sure are expensive! I used to be confined to purchasing them in the local market, which was quite pricey. However, I realized that I could catch them on my own, and you can, too!
Don’t be intimidated, as catching crabs on the beach is actually pretty easy to do. So read on as I show you how to catch crabs on the beach in Florida.
How to Catch Crabs on the Beach In Florida
Catching crabs on the beach in Florida is fairly easy, as long as you know what you’re doing! Here are helpful facts to learn about crabbing and the traditional method to catch crabs by the beach docks in the state.
1. What to Know About Catching Crabs in Florida
Catching crabs isn’t only a fun pastime, but they make delicious dishes! But before you go crabbing, there are things you need to know to help you catch them successfully:
Rules and Regulations
Florida has state laws on what to fish and the crabs you can get. They have size limits, which may change annually or person. If crabs have an egg sac, the law requires you to release them.
Make sure that you check with the local areas to follow any restrictions in size and the number of crabs you can catch. You should also search up on the type of crabs you can expect in the specific beach in Florida!
Where to Find Them
You can find crabs in salt water, which is why they are most popular to catch by the beaches. They are abundant in the ocean and are usually near underwater structures like bridges, sunken shipwrecks, and pilings from the docks.
What Bait to Use
There are different kinds of bait you can use that crabs will love, such as:
- Any type of dead fish is good to use so long as it’s a reasonable size, preferably between six inches to one foot. The typical fish people use to catch crabs are sea robins, snapper blues, and bunkers. I recommend that you cut the dish into 2×6-inch pieces with cuts so the smell travels easily.
- Hotdogs aren’t common because of its soft texture, which crabs can easily tear and eat. However, they are tasty and cheaper, so it’s good if you’re on a budget.
- Chicken legs are the next best choice over fish, as they are cheaper and are a more solid bait compared to crabs. Crabs will be enticed with the taste but the chicken won’t easily break up when it tries to eat.
- You can still use other types of meat, though the ones mentioned above are the easiest to use and most affordable.
I’ll be showing you a method that uses the simple net, though you can also use crab traps in exchange for it. These are the common traps you can use:
- Weighed hand or drop lines
- Box crab traps
- Pyramid crab traps
- Ring crab traps
- Commercial crab traps can catch and hold dozens of crabs and are easy to use. However, you will need a license for this.
2. The Dipping Method
Dipping is the simplest method when catching crabs by the docks! You only need items you can find in your home, making it easy to do and still as effective as using pricier crab cages and equipment. Grab a shade tent before heading out to the docks, this will protect you from the sun’s harmful UV rays and keep you comfortable so you can relax while waiting for your catch.
What You Need:
- 20 feet of strong
- A small weight
- Chosen bait
- A small stick
- Large bucket
- Long-handled net
- Thick gloves
- A cooler with ice
Directions to follow:
1. Prepare Your Materials
Tie one end of your string to a small weight, ensuring that the knot is secure. Next, add the bait, tying it to the end of the string near your weight. Tie the other string’s end to your small stick. If you’re setting up shop at the beach, I would highly recommend these canopy tents for windy conditions.
Put your gloves on and keep your net and bucket nearby.
2. Head to the Waters
Wade into the waters, sinking your string and bait. You can do this by the docks if you have a long string, or wherever is more accessible and comfortable for you.
Stand still, waiting until you feel a bit of tension and tugging on the string’s end. It’s similar to fishing, so be patient!
3. Get Your Crabs
Pull the string out gently, making sure you stay steady until you see the crab from the surface of waters. Use your net nearby, scooping your crab.
4. Collect Your Crab
Grab the crab using your net and hold it by the base of its leg. When holding a crab, you should grab the base or last leg, which is located at the back. Lift it up slowly, so it can’t pinch you.
Even if it can’t pinch you, you still need to avoid putting your fingers near the claws. You may have gloves, but the pinch will still be painful.
If a crab grabs your finger, allow it to dangle until it would let go. But if it continues to hold on, use your free hand to immobilize its other claw. Bend the crab’s clamped claw back slowly, until it releases the finger, then drop it in your bucket.
5. Store Your Crab
Place the crab in the ice-filled cooler so it preserves. This is an important tip, especially when you plan to catch a lot of crabs and spend the entire day catching them by the beach. The crabs will be able to survive for several hours, so you can cook it fresh or prepare it for preserving for later use.
I highly recommend that you cook crabs the same day you catch them, ensuring that they are alive before you cook. Dead crabs will spoil within two hours, making them inedible!
Do you want to learn more about how you can catch crabs on the beach? Check out this informative video:
Wrapping It Up
I hope that this article on how to catch crabs on the beach in Florida helped you out! So start gearing up and prepare to catch your first crab now.