Go Crabbing at the British Seaside
Taking the children crabbing when you visit the coast is a really fun day out. It’s a truly British Seaside activity that keeps the children interested and occupied, and is surprisingly addictive for the adults.
Places to go
Crabs like to hide and they tend to live in places where there is plenty of cover from rocks, seaweed or other structures. Favourite hideouts include around piers and harbour walls, and on beaches with larger rocks and stones. We begin our ‘Best Crabbing Hotspots’ with Beaumaris Pier on Anglesey, North Wales. Send us your favourite crabbing hotspots and we’ll come up with our definitive list for avid crabbers.
Top 10 Tips for Crabbing
All you really need is a piece of string, bait and a weight heavy enough to keep the bait of the bottom. If your bait is heavy, you don’t need a separate weight. You can even go crabbing with just a piece of string if there are mussels on the beach to use as bait.
Crabs like bait such as bacon, chicken, fish and the like. You don’t need the good bits – use the bits that you throw away in a big soggy mess. Crabs are not that fussy when it comes to raw meat. However, we will let you into a little secret … frozen sand eels from the local sea fishing bait shop are like caviar to crabs. So much so that they don’t want to let go – great for landing your crabs but not so great when you want it back. A little extravagant for crabs, so we only use if we have any left over from a fishing trip.
Let your line drop right to the bottom where the crabs live. Wrap a little line loosely around your finger and wait until you feel the crabs pulling.
Wait a little while until the crab has a firm hold and then bring the line up steadily and smoothly. Not so fast that the crab senses you pulling, and not so slow that he’s eaten up the bait and dropped off.
You will land more crabs if you also have a children’s fishing net (one of those on the end of a pole) so that you can place it under the crab just before lifting it from the water. Use one if the crabs are in short supply, but otherwise half the fun is seeing whether you can bring up your line before the crab drops off.
Fishing off a high pier on a windy day is very frustrating as the crabs drop off before they get anywhere near you. Find a good place nearer to the sea if it’s a windy day.
The pincers can give a nasty nip and they don’t like to let go. Therefore, hold the crab by the shell on each side just behind the pincers with your finger and thumb. Their pincers can’t reach around enough and you don’t hurt the more delicate parts of the crab.
If you plan to keep the crabs whilst you carry on crabbing, prepare beforehand by filling your bucket with sea water, a few stones and some seaweed so that they have a place to hide.
Once you’ve finished crabbing release the crabs near the waters’ edge. Children love to see them scurrying sideways back into the water. Don’t forget to take a few snap-shots and send them to us.
Never use a commercial crab pot. Yes you will catch lots of crabs but yes it is cheating (and not that much fun either).
Those little bags that come with washing powder tablets are brilliant for filling with bait and just dropping in the sea.
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