What is crabbing line? Line is another word for a rope that is used on a boat. Whether you plan to crab with a bottom line, trotline or traps, you will need most definitely need a bit of line.
The line you use should be NYLON. Why? Because nylon line does not mildew or deteriorate when it is stored wet. It also stretches under load and is very strong. Other line will fall apart with continued use. Line can be purchased at boating and marine stores. It is also available at some hardware stores. It can be bought in fifty foot lengths (pictured) or it can be cut to suit your needs. DO NOT USE polypropylene line as it will float!
When cutting line make sure you cut it to suit the depth of the water in which you wish to crab. If, for example, you crab in eight (8) feet of water, cut about twelve feet of line. You will need extra for the following reasons: You have to tie one end onto your trap and the other to your float (see the page on catching crabs). Another reason for extra line is because passing boats will create a wake. If your line is too short, your trap will be pulled off the bottom as the water rises and it will be moved somewhere else.
Once you cut your line it might start to unravel (pictured above). To prevent the line from unraveling, you should seal the ends of the line to make sure this does not happen. To do this you will need a source of heat such as a propane torch, matches, a soldering iron, etc.
Place the end of the line in the heat source. A hot knife blade works well. USE CAUTION Nylon will melt in high heat. The end of the line seals because the nylon melts and forms a melted blob on the end. The melted nylon may drip. DO NOT get this on your skin as you will get a nasty burn. Let the line cool before you pick it up. Repeat the process for each piece of line you intend to use. As you crab, Check the knots to make sure they are not coming lose. Even a good bowline (one of the most versatile knots you can use) will loosen with time.