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πŸ¦€ The Best Crab Hawks & Jaws Reviewed

Crab hawks, otherwise known as crab jaws, are a type of crab trap that is mountable to your fishing pole and designed to ensnare crabs in the mesh netting. They’re a perfect option for both Dungeness and blue crabs, though we don’t recommend them for mud crabs as they tend to chew through the netting. To save you time searching through the best options on the market have reviewed them based on their value, utility and durability.



Our Top Overall Pick




ImageNameFeaturesPrice
Danielson Crab Jaw Trap
  • Dimensions: 9.5" x 11.5" folded, 18" x 11.5" unfolded.
  • Blue colored netting.
  • Barrel swivel attachment.
  • Equipped with a bait clip.
  • Requires a 30-50 pound fishing line.
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Promar Crab Hawk Trap
  • Lightweight stainless steel frame.
  • Comes with a bait clip.
  • Very durable poly-material netting.
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Danielson Crab Hawk Trap (Pack of 2)
  • Comes with two crab hawks.
  • Dimensions: 9.5" x 11.5" folded, 18" x 11.5" unfolded.
  • Black netting.
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Top 3 Best Crab Hawks

1. Danielson Crab Jaw Trap – Best for Using With A Fishing Pole

Features:
  • Dimensions: 9.5″ x 11.5″ folded, 18″ x 11.5″ unfolded.
  • Blue colored netting.
  • Barrel swivel attachment.
  • Equipped with a bait clip.
  • Requires a 30-50 pound fishing line.

Danielson’s crab jaw is a great little trap if you’re interested in using your fishing rod to catch crabs. Just make sure you’re using a stronger 30-50 pound line or else you risk a snap and you’ll lose the trap and your catch. It comes with an easy barrel swivel attachment and a bait clip so you won’t need to make any alterations, just bring your fishing rod, some bait and this trap and you’re good to go.

This trap works quite well with both Dungeness and blue crabs, though it’s not recommended for mud crabs as they’ll chew through the netting. It’s large enough to often times ensnare up to 2-3 crabs on a single reel-in but keep in mind if there are any more than that they’ll likely fall off while being pulled up.

The only real downside to this trap is that sometimes it won’t open up all the way when crabbing in rocky outcrops. You shouldn’t have any problems if the floor is flat but you can double check on dry land to make sure the trap opens up properly when laid down.

Pros
  • We recommend you use this crab jaw on a fishing rod with a 30-50 pound line.
  • Comes with a bait clip.
  • The barrel swivel attachment makes it easy to connect & disconnect.

Cons
  • Doesn’t work well on rocky outcrops or on uneven ground as it won’t open up all the way.
  • You must have a 30-50 pound fishing line or it will snap and you’ll lose the trap.

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2. Promar Crab Hawk Trap – Best for Blue Crabs

Features:
  • Lightweight stainless steel frame.
  • Comes with a bait clip.
  • Very durable poly-material netting.

Promar’s crab hawk is the lightweight option if you’re looking for a smaller trap than the Danielson. We recommend this trap for smaller crabs like blue crabs, though if you’re interested in crabbing for Dungeness you’ll probably want to choose one of the larger traps on this list. It comes with a bait clip and a durable poly-netting that will hold up well to pinches and bites.

Each crab hawk comes with a spring loaded mechanism that snaps the trap closed during the reel-in process which is the inherent weak spot of these types of traps. Unfortunately this ones spring isn’t particularly strong so don’t expect it to last more than a few months. It’s also much smaller than the Danielson which can cause some of the larger crabs to escape while being pulled up.

Pros
  • Works well for smaller crabs.
  • Very lightweight and portable.
  • Includes a bait clip and line attachment.

Cons
  • The spring isn’t very strong and won’t last more than a few months.
  • The side-ties are hand tied and may not be the right length.

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3. Danielson Crab Hawk Trap (Pack of 2) – Best for Multiple Crabbers

Features:
  • Comes with two crab hawks.
  • Dimensions: 9.5″ x 11.5″ folded, 18″ x 11.5″ unfolded.
  • Black netting.

If you’re shopping for multiple crab hawks/jaws, this is probably the best value for your dollar. It’s basically just a pack of two of the Danielson’s traps that are shipped together so you don’t have to order them separately and you may potentially save money on the transaction. Be sure to compare the prices before ordering to get the best deal.

Pros
  • It’s just a bulk package of two of the Danielson’s crab jaws.
  • All of the pros & cons of the original Danielson review apply.

Cons
  • Depending on the sellers in your region it may be more cost effective to order them individually so compare the prices closely.

Buy at Amazon.com

Buyer’s Guide

Buying a crab hawk is pretty straightforward once you realize which features you absolutely must have. In order to help you identify which features are critically important we wrote a buyer’s guide that breaks down the important aspects you need to know about before placing an order.

Setup

Crab jaws/hawks can be used in a variety of ways, the most common of which is with a fishing pole. The vast majority of traps on the market come with a convenient swivel attachment that allows you to easily attach a fishing line so you can cast and reel them in with your rod. Keep in mind you don’t necessarily have to use a fishing pole – you can make do with a simple line attachment and lower it into the water usually from a boat or pier and catch crabs that way. For most people though you’ll definitely want to use a rod as it’s easier to reel in and cast again.

Line Strength

Depending on the size of your crab jaw you’ll want to use an appropriate strength fishing line so it doesn’t break under the stress. We recommend using anywhere from 30-50 pound line for most of the traps we’ve reviewed, with the general rule being the stronger the better. You don’t want to lose your trap and your catch by using a weaker line so it’s best to opt for the strongest you can manage.

Use

You can safely use crab hawks from the beach, piers, docks, boats and even kayaks. You simply lower the trap itself into the water and wait for it to unfold on the bottom and wait until you feel tension or movement on the line before reeling it in.

Ideal Bait for Crab Hawks/Jaws

The most popular are chicken or turkey necks, but you can use pretty much any meat that you can fit on your bait clip. Simple chicken drumsticks work well as well, though if you’re interested in other options we have a list of some of the most popular crabbing baits here.

Warranty

Be sure to check whether or not the manufacturer offers a warranty on the item you intend to purchase. While Amazon should cover broken or defective items upon delivery, it’s up to the manufacturer as to whether they will provide a replacement after it’s been used. Compare different crab hawk sellers to see if any of them will offer replacements in the event it breaks from normal use.

Return Policy

Even if everything works properly, you may discover you’ve ordered the wrong crab hawk for your needs which may require a return. Be sure to check with the vendor before purchasing to see if they will allow a return and if so, under what circumstances.

Shipping

Shipping is easily one of the most annoying costs associated with making online purchases. Be sure to compare the shipping costs to your location prior to making a purchase so you don’t end up spending more than you bargained for.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which crab hawk is the cheapest?

If you’re shopping for the lowest priced crab hawk you can find then we recommend the Danielson Crab Jaw Trap. Of all the crab hawks we’ve reviewed, none of the others can beat it’s price.

What is a crab hawk?

A crab hawk, sometimes known as a crab jaw, is a simple crab trap that is used with a fishing pole that is designed to open up on the floor of the sea floor and attract crabs to the bait. Then once the crabs begin to congregate, you simply reel in as fast as you can and the trap closes and the crabs become ensnared in the netting. They operate very similarly to crab snares which can also be used with a fishing pole.

How do you use a crab hawk?

Simply attach it to your fishing pole, apply the bait into the clip and cast to the desired location. Then let the trap fall to the floor and open up naturally and wait until you feel tension on the line before reeling in. Simple! Oregon Life has an excellent video on the subject that shows you step-by-step how to use one if you’re a more visual learner:

What is the difference between a crab hawk and crab jaw?

Crab hawks and crab jaws are the same thing – just different names for the same trap.