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Crab Bait

Crab Baits article by John Staten

Peeler Crab.

There are other crab baits that are available but the most popular is the peeler crab, especially for catching cod.  Crabs are very often classed as a pest by most anglers. The only time most of us look forward to seeing crabs is when we use them for crab bait when the winter sets in and again in early spring.  

As the water temperatures start to increase in the spring many crabs will peel up to 3 times per year, with the first peel being around April early May.
The shell of the crab does not grow as the crab grows, so it sheds it shell by taking in large amounts of water, this swells the inner body forcing the shell to crack revealing a new soft shell underneath, this is when you need to collect them.

I know lads who collect 100's and either freeze them down or keep them in a fridge if they are to use them fairly quickly

Crabs can be found in various locations such as rock pools, under rocks and around walls and piers.
In the N/East where I originate from a lot of the anglers set crab traps by means of laying old tyres in and around small inlets or mud flats.  Some use guttering stuck in to the sand at about 18 inches deep, I have never done that myself but I believe it can be very productive

The one thing I would emphasise here is that if you do collect your own, please replace any rocks etc that you move, back to their original position.  If you just leave rocks upturned you will destroy the area and the crabs won't be there next time you visit!

When using crab baits the one thing I would suggest is that you cut them nearly completely through, this helps to release the very strong scent and I have had more luck with presenting them that way than when using them whole.

This is a top cod bait, especially along the east coast for Cod, Bass, and a lot of other species.  The one thing to remember with peeler crab is not to obscure the hook point in any way, as with any bait really, make sure you use elasticated cotton to tie it on to your hook, you can then ensure that the hook point is clear.

Soft crabs are peelers that have already peeled, they are very vulnerable to predators at this stage of their existence and most bottom feeding fish find them irresistible.

The new shells harden fairly quickly but they are a good crab bait to use immediately if you find any or you could choose to freeze them down.

crab bait image
Author's Resource: Sea Fishing Articles by John Staten.
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