How A Crab Trap Works And Important Aspects

How A Crab Trap Works? They are attached with baits and put down to water areas. You can use traps to catch crabs quickly and easily.

Crab trap sounds like an ideal activity, especially for group or family gatherings. However, people need to have a crab trap because even for fun or for meal purposes, crabs cannot be caught with bare hands. The “hunting” with a crab trap becomes easier and without much effort even for those who are just beginners and the possibility to get multiple crabs are very high.

However, people seemingly blur about knowing how a crab trap works and relevant aspects added in with the trap to boost up the achievement of the hunting. Therefore, this article will specifically explain how it works and other relevant information for successful crab hunting.

What are crab traps?

To make it short, a crab trap is a contraption design attached with baits (from various materials) and then put down to water areas. The main purpose of the trap is to attract the crab with the bait to come inside and stuck with no way out. It is up to each person’s timing that the trap is pulled up to collect the results. 

So far, there has been a variety of trap categories in the market. To simplify, in terms of space, people usually see the two types with trap rope (left pic) and trap basket/ box (right pic).

Each kind of crab trap above has its name and it works differently depending on its design. For this reason, to clarify how a crab trap works, this article will base on its dedication and features. 

How does crab trap work according to their types?

As mentioned above, in general, all the crab traps working share the same purpose of luring crabs with baits and offer them no chance to escape. By using specific traps, fishers have higher chances to catch specific types of crabs or just be compatible with crabbing areas. 

Box Crab Traps

How a crab trap works
Box crab trap contained top, bottom, and four sides that are all open

This type is designed with a rectangular shape, made of wire mesh and almost no effort of human is required during the fishing. Box crab trap contained top, bottom, and four sides that are all open. It also has flaps that only allow the crabs to be in but not to be out. Strings or ropes are firmly tied on the top of the trap to help its users pull up the trap for harvesting.

The string should be long enough to be able to fit the required depth of water and enable flaps to sides sealed off (make sure no crab can escape during the pulling). For these types of traps, the ideal place to put the bait is either in the middle of the cage or in the top positioned middle.  

Pyramid Crab Traps


Similar to the box trap, the pyramid trap is made of a wire mesh. Its name says all, this trap is featured as a pyramid model with four triangles, each of which attaches with a square and known as a trap. Additionally, a rope or a string will be attached firmly to each edge. The lines from four directions will join on top via a ring or a knot. 

Once pulled up, thanks to the lines, the trap will shape itself like a pyramid, but when lying down the bottom of the water, it is flat. Because of this specific design, once the trap erects up, the crabs can never find their way back. Bait place is supposed to be in the middle of the trap with some weight, which will equally attract the crab crew.

Ring Crab Traps

The ring trap is typical and easy to recognize the shape as circular rings, which are made of wire or strings. A string with sufficient length will be tied at different positions on the ring for pulling up. Like a pyramid crab trap, it turns flat when lowered down the bottom water, and until it is pulled up can it present a trap. This trap has two rings, the pulling lines/ strings are tied with the larger or the upper ring, and the lower one is a place to hold the trapped crabs. Bait is placed amid the trap with some weight to help the bait be fixed. This trick will equally attract the crabs to come in. 

Commercial Crab Traps 

These traps are among the types introduced above but designed with bigger sizes (width of 2 to 3 feet) for higher productivity and modified with more details. Only after having a license can people be allowed to utilize these for their commercial activities or in case, they have their dock. Because of its size and its weight, the preparation step and process before pulling up requires more effort. Instead, the achievement for harvesting paid off what the owners put. 

Other important aspects to help crab traps work?

  • Weighted drop lines 

To prepare for the crabbing trip, the trap’s frame itself is not enough. Among other accessories, it is compulsory to equip the trap with strings or weighted drop lines and its end is normally a weighted hook. The hook is where the bait – the most important part to lure the crab to come in – is attached and prevents it from floating. The other end should be tied on some stable/ solid objects or positions so that the crab or its crew cannot accidentally pull the line out of your track. 

  • Bait

As claimed throughout this article, bait is the most crucial part to get crabs trapped, bait is easier to prepare than you think it is. It is suggested that you use different types of fresh and natural meat or others like razor clams, chicken legs, chicken neck, fish, gizzards, shad, etc. Bear in mind that crabs are not picky so you had better prepare baits at a reasonable price. 

  • Season & Place

Current water, saltwater, backlist water/tidal water, piling, bridges, etc. are the most common recommended places to find crabs. Especially, crabs are more likely to be caught in multiple numbers in the fall than others so be mindful of the season. 

  • Timing 

Similar to the depth to lower the trap, there are no standards of timing to follow. But trappers should keep an eye on the line to see its slight moving. Normally this comes after 05 to 10 minutes after throwing and at this point, you should pull it up. You will immediately know if there is any crab in the cage. If not, you throw or put the trap back and see what comes next. Be nice and slowly catch the crab stuck in the cage and put them into some of your prepared buckets. 

In conclusion, it can be said that crab traps make perfect tools for any fishing crab adventures, even for food or for fun. Knowing how the crab traps work, especially for each type, will allow you to take advantage of them. Now not only do you have fun but also some achievement to be proud of. 

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