How to Catch Crabs at the Beach

Fresh crabs are a prominent delicacy in many regional cuisines, and the pride of having crabbed successfully makes the meal taste even better. Crabbing is also a relaxing way to spend a day at the beach, and a fun activity to do with kids. Some people are intimidated by the idea of trying to catch creatures with pincers. Fortunately, learning how to catch crabs at the beach isn't difficult.

Things You'll Need

  • 20 feet of string

  • Small weight

  • Bait (unwanted chicken parts, fish heads or dead mullet)

  • Small stick

  • Long-handled net

  • Large bucket

  • Thick gloves

  • Cooler

  • Ice

Step 1

Tie one end of the string to the small weight, making sure your knot is secure. Add the bait by tying it to the string near the weight. Tie the other end of the string to the small piece of wood. Put on the gloves, and keep the net and bucket within reach. This method is called "dipping."

Step 2

Wade into the water and sink the string and bait. Do this from the dock if your string is long enough. Stand still, and wait until you feel tension on the string.

Step 3

Pull the string out of the water gently and steadily until the crab is visible on the surface of the water. Use the net to scoop up the crab .

Step 4

Grab the crab from the net, holding it by the base of one of its legs while avoiding the claws. If the crab grabs your finger, let it dangle until it lets go. If it still holds on, use your other hand to immobilize the other claw. Slowly bend the clamped claw backward until the crab releases you. Drop the crab in the bucket.

Step 5

Put the crab in a ice-filled cooler to preserve it. This is especially true if you are catching a large number of crabs over an extended period of time. Transfer the crab from the bucket to the cooler using the same method you used to transfer it to the bucket from the net. Crabs can survive for several hours in the bucket.


Cook the crabs the same day you catch them, and make sure all of them are alive before cooking. Dead shellfish spoil within two hours.

References & Resources