Crab trap recommendation

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    Alan & Belinda

      We are looking at trying our hand at crabbing while at the Rear Commodore cruise in Telegraph Harbour.

      I’ve seen the collapsible traps on Army and Navy’s site but I wonder if anyone has any experience with these or recommendations on a good trap that doesn’t take up too much room on the Mac

      Alan and Belinda


        We’ve used the collapsable square traps and had limited success. For the most part we do our crabbing by wading and snorkelling. We like to find a little cove with eel grass that has a large tidal exchange(no PSP risk). If you find a public dock or want to crab from your dinghy our new favorite is the Frisbee/Taco style. They look like a frisbee with a mast. When you pull the line(through the eye at the “masthead”) the trap folds up like a taco. Very successful at Fernwood Dock just south of Kuper Is on Salt Spring.

        If you take your dinghy through “the Cut” from Telegraph you come into Clam Bay(Cove) it’s more inset into Kuper than Thetis. Near the private dock there’s an underwater “wall”. We took some huge Rock Crab there snorkelling(below high water is public domain 😉 ). If you search around and find some eel grass with 10+ ft depth at low water you can get some Dungeness. They’re bigger but our whole family finds Rock Crab sweeter.

        I’m not a good deepwater crabber, lost our bait so often its frustrating.

        Note that it’s been a lousy year for crabbing and Dungeness prices have passed Lobster prices here.

        Rick & Sue

          We purchased the” title=”Flex fold crab trap” target=”_blank”>Flex Fold Crab trap , mainly because of storage concerns. We have used it a few times and had success. It is more expensive so make sure you set it so it doesn’t drift away. I installed weights to help keep it in place. I have also heard the Round traps are better (what the pro’s use) apparently crabs walk in straight lines?? and if they don’t find the entrance they will not turn the corner of a rectangular trap but would follow a round trap until they find the entrance? Seems like a good rationalization for my round trap 🙂


          To me – catching pacific crabs is like catching fish – “it’s a zen state of mind”. To catch a crab, you must; “be the crab”, “think and act like the crab”; and “look at the world through a crabs eyes”. You are; under water, cold, hungry, no home, in the dark, your whole life is about finding food and making more little crabs.

          For survival, most wildlife (including crabs) survive by taking the “path of least resistance” to conserve energy, the more energy they expel the more food they need, the more food they need the less chance they have of survival if food becomes scarce.

          It is said that 90% of fish are caught be 10% of the fisherman, I think this true with crabbing. It’s not just about the type of trap or bait you use, but where and when you put your traps down and pull them up.

          With that load of trap said … 🙂

          Our favorite trap for the Mac is the Felxfold, we have square collapsible Danielson traps for day fishing from our flat bottom boat in local water.

          We have used almost all the types of traps except the plastic pyramid. (but s/v Mover loves it). Here are some tips for which ever you chose:
          – use weights in whatever trap you use (the current can easily take the trap it away, and with most traps the weight of the trap can sink the float)
          – if using the square metal trap, spend a few extra bucks and get the door weights. (keeps doors closed, the current surge can open doors and leak crabs)
          – always use sinking line. (floating line can get run over but boats and you lose everything, also sinking lead line coils very easy for pulling and storage)
          * If you are just starting out, get the $25 Danielson and have fun. We’ve had many great crab feasts by using this type of trap.

          Round verses Square:
          I have heard the info that Gemini’s spoke of, but am skeptical. Round traps are easier for the crab to walk around to find a door, and they are always the same distance from the bait bag, while walking around a square trap takes the crab further from the bait on the corners, and the crab may just keep on walking at the corner.

          I agree to a certain amount with this hypothesis, however crabs find food mostly by smell. So it depends more on the direction the current is moving the bait scent than it does on the proximity to the physical bait bag in the trap. Once the crab gets further away from the bait scent, the crab will turn and find the scent again and return to the trap and try again.

          I think that our delicious local crabs (Dungeness and Red Rock) are like squirrels, they are not “monkey smart” … but when it comes to executing tasks for finding food – they are brilliant! No one in this Victoria “crab party” video seems to mind the square trap – 🙂

          Also consider that:
          – all square traps have four doors, most round traps usually only have either two or three (rectangle traps only two) does this more door fact compensate?
          – the local Pacific commercial fishers for Dungeness mostly use round traps at depth, the Aleutian commercial fishers for King and Opilio use square traps (safer on deck?).

          Most popular local traps:

          Round Flexfold:
          – Best trap for a Mac.
          – Folds up very small into a nice case and can be kept below with no smell if rinsed well after use. We also put our into a plastic zip lock bag as well.
          – light weight, easy to use
          – never rusts
          – most expensive @ $150

          Round Stainless steel:
          – great sold trap and lasts forever
          – never rusts
          – pricy @ $120
          – rigid does not fold so hard to store on a Mac

          Round mesh spring-up:
          – good compromise if you like round trap
          – about $60
          – folds so can be stored on deck or in tender.
          – mesh so little rust

          Danielson collapsible square metal
          – cheap $20-$23
          – folds flat so can be stored below on in the tender
          – will rust over a few years use
          Pacific Traps 24" Deluxe Folding Crab Trap

          Plastic Pyramid.
          – stows below deck or in tends in bag about 4’ by 8” diameter
          – never rusts
          – cost

          – great fun on the dock or at anchor
          – can not just leave it must haul up evry few minutes
          – cost $15
          Pacific Traps Casting Crab Trap with 100ft Rope

          “Sail Safe, and Leave Only Wake”

          Alan & Belinda

            Great info Darry, thanks.

            Be the crab, be the crab….got it


              We have a flex fold and they are small, and compact, but a little bit dangerous, as there is A LOT of tension packaged up when you fold it up. but well built and comes in a great holder. about the size of a 5 gallon bucket lid when collapsed, but a nice big trap when set up


              WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO CATCH CRABS? … you ask.

              Most “coastal” creatures below the water will feed almost all the time if there is something to eat, but they feed more during slack tides because it takes less energy to move when there is less current, so in general: the best time to catch crabs is during slack tide when they are feeding and moving more.
              *some migration fish use the current to travel. (Tide being vertical movement of water & Current being horizontal)

              DOES HIGH OR LOW TIDE MATTER? … you ask.

              Great question! The answer is yes. High slack tide is best – because crabs like salty water, the incoming (flood) tide brings in fresh salty water as opposed to an outgoing tide – most crabs get excited by the fresh saline and start doing the “happy crab dance”, they move around more across the sea bed (dance floor) looking for food and … bing-bang-boom! … instead of reading the menu – they are on the menu. Also; there is more natural bait brought in during a flood tide, as well as flood tides allow shallow crabs to get to places they cannot go during a low-tide.


              Absolutely. The best time is between a (high) “low-tide”, and a (low) “high-tide”. The smaller the difference between the high and the low tide, the less water exchange there is, less water exchange means less current, less current means more feeding action. (A mixed semidiurnal tidal cycle experiences two high and two low tides of different size every lunar day)

              * these are personal opinons only, acutal results may vary as crabs are not guaranteed to comply.  


              Other questions: for another day perhaps … 🙂

              WHERE IS THE BEST PLACE TO SET THE TRAP? (Dungeness/Red)
              HOW TO CLEAN A CRAB?
              HOW TO COOK A CRAB?

              “Sail Safe, and Leave Only Wake”

              Rick & Sue

                Attended a seminar on crabbing at BWY Rendezvous last weekend. Anacortes West Marine manager catches hundreds of crab every year. Recommended the cheap $25 collapsible square trap. Use for a couple yeas then toss. Easy to store. He claimed biggest problem is was electrolysis from different metals in the trap that repels the crabs. Cheap ones have vinyl cover and only one kind of metal. Adding a couple lead down rigger balls to weight the trap doesn’t seem to affect electrolysis and definitely worth doing to prevent trap drifting away. He also suggested some lead to weight the doors to help keep the crabs from escaping.
                Suggested using clams for bait. Mussels don’t seem to work as well.
                Another cool trick was to leave a legal male in the trap and he will keep all the small males and star fish out. Females tend to stay away so all you get is a bunch of big males. He claims it works great.

                Steve & Cathy

                  I was going to write the same thing Rick. if you buy the basic square crab trap add a little lead to the trap doors this will stop the doors to flop open in current and allowing the males to escape. best depth is btwn 30 -50ft at low tide (drop time) pu nets after High tide. Use lead lines. If only on legal male when you haul out, through back in with cage and send her down, and feast on the 2nd haul.
                  I have a collapsible pyramid net. has worked well for me. Bad experience with expensive crab nets… they get stolen. But they do store better. It’s a “crab shoot”!


                  On the menu for the 2014 Sucia Island Raft-Up!

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                  As promised … fresh steamed crab with melted butter was served to everyone that attended the 2014 Sucia Wraft-Up!

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