Florida is an excellent destination for year-round blue crabbing. Even aside from the great crabbing, it’s also a great place to catch some sun and sand.
What is the primary crab crabbers look for in Florida?
The primary crab that crabbers look for in Florida is the blue crab aka the Callinectes sapidus. Regionally the crab is also known as the Chesapeake blue crab and it’s indigenous to the waters of the Atlantic Ocean as well as the Gulf of Mexico. Since the state of Florida borders both these water bodies, it is a hot spot for blue crabs.
How large do the crabs need to be in order to legally keep them in Florida?
There is no legal regulation about the size of crabs that you can catch in the state of Florida.
However, you cannot catch or keep a female blue crab that is bearing eggs during the harvest season. But you can keep a female blue crab of any size if it does not bear any eggs.
The rules are more stringent when it comes to stone crabbing in Florida. To legally keep a stone crab, the claw’s size must not be less than two and three-quarter inches. The prohibition against harvesting a female stone crab with eggs also applies.
How many crabs can you legally catch and keep in Florida?
In Florida, the daily bag limit per harvester in a day is 10 gallons of blue crabs. In this regard, Florida has one of the best provisions in fishing.
However, the daily limit of stone crabs is one gallon per person. On the other hand, you can harvest up to two gallons of stone crab on a boat. But the condition here is that there must be at least two crabbers on the boat.
When does the crabbing season begin in Florida?
The official stone crabbing season in Florida begins from May 15 to October 15. However, you can indulge in blue crabbing for most parts of the year, except between September 20 to October 4.
Occasionally there are sections of the waters that can be closed due to inclement weather. So for more details, keep yourself updated on Florida’s Department of Fish & Wildlife website.
Where are the best locations to go crabbing in Florida?
The coastal waters of Florida have some of the best locations for crabbing. Our top favorite spots to crab in Florida include:
- Simpson Creek
This tidal creek that lies south of Amelia Island is one of the best blue crabbing locations. It is about three to four miles from Nassau Sound Bridge. The creek is home to some of the biggest clue crabs in all of Florida and elsewhere. The creek is easily accessible by a kayak or a boat.
- Fort Clinch State Park
It is located right on the Amelia River. This spot is known to a handful of crabbers. Nevertheless, you will not be disappointed if you are looking for blue crabs. A word of caution, though, the current in this river is quite strong. In addition, some areas on the channel are quite deep. Sticking to the shore for crabbing is, therefore, the best and safest option.
- Shave Bridge at Nassau Sound
This is another great spot for crabbing in Florida, especially if you are looking for blue crabs.
- Mexico Beach and Port St. Joe
It is technically a spot between the two locations, i.e. Mexico Beach and Port St. Joe. If you are looking for specifics, the spot is under the bridge that connects the two.
- Hickory Mounds Impoundment
Although you cannot engage in commercial crabbing in this location, recreational crabbing is common. It is in the midst of a substantial wildlife management area. However, if you are new, it can be a little tricky to get to this location. Nevertheless, it is a great place for crabbing in Florida.
What are the various ways crabbers catch crabs in Florida?
There are three ways through which crabbers catch crabs in Florida. These are:
- Crab traps – Traps that appear similar to boxes are very common among crabbers in Florida.
- Crab nets – Nets are commonly used for line crabbing. Crabbing dip nets are also a great option.
- Crab snares – Usually cast from a fishing rod, a crab snare is an excellent choice for catching blue crabs.
What are the legal requirements for crabbing in Florida?
The various legal requirements for crabbing in Florida are as follows:
- Gear – Blue crab trap (Up to five traps per person), drop net, dip or landing net, fold up trap, push scrape, trotline, hook, and line.
- Minimum age – 16
- Size limit – None
- Prohibited crabs – Egg bearing females
- Daily limit – 10 gallons of blue crab per harvester in a day. 1-2 gallons of stone crabs per harvester in a day.
- Size – 2x2x2 feet or 8 cubic feet in volume
- Size of the mesh – 1.5 inches or larger
- Traps must be pulled strictly during daylight hours.
- The entrance should not extend farther than six inches inside the trap.
- The number of escape rings per trap must be at least three and lie adjacent to each chamber.
- The trap should contain the name as well as the address of the harvester.
- The registration number of the trap should be affixed permanently to the trap.
Note: These legal crabbing requirements in the state of Florida apply to both Atlantic State Waters as well as the Gulf.
Visit the website of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for more information on the legal requirements for crabbing in Florida.
Do you need a crabbing license in Florida?
Yes. If you are a recreational crabber who is 16 years or older, you need to register before you can go crabbing in Florida. The registration process is free, and you can complete the process online.
To register for a crabbing license simply visit this site and you can do it all online!