web analytics

Return to Bait

Blue Crabs

Catching Blue Crabs:

Blue Crabs are pretty easy to catch with a crab trap.  Place the trap in a location that has moving water during tide changes.  Make sure that the trap will be submerged at low tide.  Traps come with a bait compartment.  Put the remains of your last fish cleaning task into the bait compartment.  If your wife doesn’t like the idea of fish guts in the freezer or you forgot to save them, go to Atlantic Seafood and asks them for some fish remains for bait.  The more bait you can push into your trap the longer you can leave the trap unattended.  Be sure to follow all the rules of trap placement and labeling.   The trap should be out for at least a couple of hours but overnight is best.  Carbs can be kept free in a cooler with ice.  Keep the crabs from directly contacting the ice or they will die.  Crabs make excellent redfish, trout and black drum bait.  Cut the larger crabs lengthwise to provide two baits.

Food Value:

We all know that crab is delicious but do we know how much work it is to cook and clean a crab.  Each crab takes at least 5-10 minutes to clean well and yields about 1 to 1.5 ounces of meat.   I think if I had to provide all my protean with crabs I would starve to death.  It is far better to convert that crab into a redfish or trout.

Regulations:

  • Trap size is limited to 2 feet by 2 feet by 2 feet.
  • The mesh must be 1 1/2 inch or larger.
  • The throat or entrance cannot extend farther than 6 inches into the inside of any trap.
  • Must have at least three escape rings, each located on a vertical outer surface adjacent to each chamber.
  • Escape rings must be larger than 2 3/8 inches.
  • The trap must have a degradable panel larger than 3 inches by 6 inches
  • Types of degradable panels include: untreated jute twine, non-coated steel wire measuring 24 gauge or thinner, untreated pine dowel no larger than 2 inches in length by 3/8 inch in diameter or untreated pine slats no thicker than 3/8 inch
  • The Trap must have the owners name and address permanently affixed in legible letters
  • The buoy must be no smaller than 6 inches and must be marked with a legible blue crab endorsement number that is at least 2 inches tall
  • No more than 5 traps for recreational anglers.

Starting January 1, 2020  anyone over 16 is required to complete a no-cost recreational blue crab trap registration.

This link takes you to the news release because the actual registration site is not available now.

Life Cycle:

The life cycle of the blue crab starts offshore as a small larva.  After several molts to remove the restrictive exoskeleton the crab is large enough to it uses the currents to move into estuaries.   The females remain in fairly high salinity areas while the males move back into creeks with lower salinity.    Between March and December, the females move into creek to mate.  Females can only make after they mold and are consider softshell crabs.  Most females only mate once but some will mold a second time and an adult allowing them to mate a second time.  The male remains in the creeks for the remainder of its life but the female moves offshore to give birth and may return to the creeks to mate again.

Migration:

See above.