How to Use a Crab Trap

Want crabs? Just use the trap! However, crab traps seem just like objects covered by wires, and you may not figure out how to use them properly. Today I would like to give you detailed instructions on how to use a crab trap. Therefore, you can tackle the mission on your own.

What is a crap trap? How does it work?

A crab trap is a mesh that is designed to fit only adult crabs by using tempting feed called bait. All sorts of traps are suitable for both beginners and experts in crabbing.

What is a crap trap

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Before getting down to work, just determine which kind of trap to use, for the sake of observation process and bait’s place in the trap. After that, I will show you how to use a crab trap.

Determining which trap you should use

On the market, there are various kinds of crap traps. However, all types of crab traps have the same constituents: A frame and a net. Now, here are some features of the most commonly used crap traps you should keep in mind.

Ring crab trap

Ring carb trap is a tool that contains two rings usually made of metal. The upper ring is usually bigger than the lower ring. The lower ring is usually covered with suitable materials and arranged in a net shape. Between the two rings, the net is placed. It appears flat on the sea bottom but makes up a contemporary side along the rings when lifted up from the water.

Ring crab trap

Image source: WDFW

Pros and Cons: The advantage of this kind of trap is that its sides can collapse when placed on the sea bottom. Therefore, it can allow crabs to move freely to the bait. However, this feature also requires frequent check as the crabs can escape after eating the bait.

Pyramid crab trap

It works similarly to the ring crab trap, but it makes up a pyramid shape when lifted from the sea bottom. The constituents are a bottom basket and four triangular sides. When lied on the seabed, it appears flat just like the ring crab trap.

Pyramid crab trap

Image source: Pinterest

Pros: Pyramid crab traps tend to be more stable in strong water currents than ring crab traps.

Cons: There are no deterrents preventing crabs from getting out of the trap if neglected, just like the ring one.

Box crab trap

This kind of trap is often in a rectangular shape and made up with non-collapsible wires, as it has a frame.

Pros and Cons: The surpassing feature of this trap is that it may be easy for crabs to enter but much harder to escape. This trap is recommended by many experienced crab fishermen. No problem of this trap has been reported.

Box crab trap

Image source: Instructables

After checking the trap type, read the instructions below to start crabbing!

How to use a crab trap

Now that you’ve already known the trap type, these are the steps for efficient crabbing. This process does not require much human intervention and it is very easy if you follow the instructions.

Locate the bait in the trap

You should tie the bait securely in case of strong sea currents. For all kinds of types above of trap, you just need to locate the bait in the middle of the bottom. And then tie it neatly and tightly.

For box crab trap, you can even cut the bait into smaller pieces and tie them on the sides of it. In doing so, the smell gives off more densely so you can attract way many more crabs.

Locate the bait in the trap

Image source: ODFW

If you are wondering about which bait to use, read the next part. There, I will tell you about my favorite baits according to my experience in crabbing.

Buoy, line, and cord

You should choose a buoy that is remarkably recognizable in the sea. The ideal choices are orange, red and green. As for the line, you should use a weighted line so that it can sink in the water.

Also, it has to be long enough for the trap to reach the sea bottom, as crabs mostly walk on it. For the cord, you should choose a sturdy rope to lift up the trap from the water.

Locate your trap

The time has come, now you can place it anywhere you want to tempt the crabs. Remember to ask for an allowance.

  • Tip: I often place my trap in at low tide. Also, I never forget to check them every 30 minutes to one hour for pyramid trap and ring trap, and 12 hours for box trap.
  • I think small channels that branch off the main creek is a good idea to put the trap in. If you get crabs leave the pot in the same place, if you don’t get crabs two drops in a row, move it.
Locate your trap

Image source: LeeRoy’s Ramblings


Important Note: Frequently, places, where there are no water currents, do not have any crabs entering. You should check the trap in the first 20 – 30 minutes of the process to make sure the area has crabs. If you do not, all your efforts may go to waste.

After acknowledging the existence of crabs in the area, you should leave the trap for some time. For ring crab trap and pyramid crab trap, you should check the trap every few hours, avoiding losing bait and crabs. For box crab trap, you can sit back, relax and wait for 12 hours, or a day or more and eventually triumph over the result.

My recommendation for baits

As I said, I will show you my favorite kinds of baits. For different kinds of crab, you may need different kinds of baits.  For example, with blue crabs, their favorites are chicken necks and razor clams. These are some best baits regarding the effectiveness and lasting time that I have used or been recommended by many people:


Yes, fish is my recommendation for you. Fish should be cut into half or one-third its original size for its smell to travel more easily in the water. Salmon bits, cod fish bits, and mackerel bits are great choices.


Image source: Northwest Podcast

Human food

One of the most common baits is chicken neck due to its cheapness and long-lasting time. You can also use anything that gives off the funky scent (and sometimes oily). For examples, you can use hot dogs, cheese (may dissolve very soon, but very fragrant) or bacon.

Other baits

You may use eel (recommended) or animal carcasses to attract the crabs as well. Remember to take notice of the local regulations on which types of bait you are allowed to use.


Crabs are an awesome food with high nutritional contents. They are particularly beneficial for height development and preventing osteoporosis. I hope you can make good use of this article and have a healthy and wonderful life. Low carb but no low crab.