CATCHING CRABS: BASIC GUIDE ON MUD CRAB FISHING
Crazy about crabs? Crab fishing can be a fun and exciting form of bonding, and the anticipation to eat them for lunch or dinner makes all the effort and waiting all worth it. Mud crabs may not have an appealing name, but they make a tasty meal. Add some chilli or sauté them in onions and shallots with a little bit of white wine, and you’ll know why mud crab fishing is irresistible. If it’s your first time to fish for crabs, here is a basic guide to help you make a successful catch and avoid crab bites.
WHEN TO CATCH
Before you start fishing for mud crabs, check your local laws and regulations on crab fishing. Each district, state or country has its own set of laws on mud crab fishing.
Now, when is the best time to catch mud crabs? Crabs are more active at night when they’re safe from predators than in the day, so it’s a great idea to leave your crab traps overnight.
During the summer, female crabs feed heavily because it’s the mating season. This is a good time to catch female crabs. Meanwhile, winter is the best time to catch male crabs because this is when the female crabs leave to hatch their offspring.
WHERE TO CATCH
Mud crabs are abundant and can be found almost in any aquatic habitats, from estuaries to coastal mudflats and trenches. It can be a little tricky, though. The mud crabs in the mud flats can easily blend into the environment. The trick is to train your eyes to spot them. You can also use a stick to prod the mud.
WHAT EQUIPMENT TO BRING
Mud crab fishing is simple and easy, and you only need a few basic pieces of equipment to begin your crabbing journey.
Boat: A boat will help you maximise the places for a possible great catch. You can opt to catch from the creek bank, but it’ll limit your access to other hot spots.
Crab traps: Crab traps come in different shapes, sizes and materials.
WHAT BAIT TO USE
Choosing the right bait results in higher chances of successful crab fishing. Use fresh, quality baits such as beef, kangaroo and fresh fish. Fish frames or heads, chicken necks, carcass, or feet are also great ideas for baits, but the mullet is, by far, the best bait for mud crabs.
WHERE TO PLACE THE TRAPS
Where you put the crab trap is crucial for a successful catch. When it’s raining heavily, or during the wet season, the rivers are high and crabs, like most fish, won’t survive in fresh water. They move out along the shallow coastal lines, and this is where you’ll put your pots. But during the dry season, the saltwater goes way up the rivers and creeks and you need to follow this saltwater intrusion.
You can also place your pots in very small creeks and deep gutters as crabs travel here to reach the mangroves. Another tip is to make sure the opening of your trap is always facing the current.
Mud crab fishing is one of the exciting and fun activities you can enjoy on the water with family or friends. From choosing the spot, placing the bait, setting the trap, to the anticipation of a big catch. Of course, not to mention the succulent lunch or dinner you’ll all be feasting over. Another fun thing about crabbing is that it’s simple enough but fun for everyone to participate in. With enough information and the right equipment, mud crab fishing can be your next favourite bonding activity.
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