Types of Crab Traps

There are many, many different crab traps out there, and it can be quite confusing when trying to choose a trap to start out with. We’ll narrow them down into several categories here, and try to help you make the right choice.

Hoop Net/Ring Crab Traps

This hoop net crab trap is typically composed of two concentric metal rings, with a net surrounding the rings. Rope is tied to the largest ring to allow you to pull the entire trap out of the water. There may also be a pouch in the netting of the smaller ring to allow you to place bait.

To use this trap, you stand on a pier of some sort and throw the entire assembly like a frisbee into the water. Once it has settled on the bottom, the entire trap lays flat on the floor, allowing crabs to crawl into the trap. After you wait, typically around 10-15 minutes, you pull up the trap using the rope. You want to pull up at a gradual pace. The gradual pulling will separate the two metal rings, and the crabs that were attracted to the bait within the small ring will become trapped as the larger metal ring is pulled above them. As long as you pull at a gradual pace, you’ll eventually end up with some crabs! This is one of the simplest and cheapest traps to start out with.

  • 18-inch deep
  • 16-inch bottom
  • Great for large crabs.
  • Price:

The KUFA is a great option for dungeness and other large varieties of crab. We don’t recommend you use this trap for blue crabs as they’re a bit small and can fit through the netting.

Unlike some of the cheaper traps that tend to float sideways and be poorly anchored, this trap has some weight to it which helps it sink efficiently. Generally speaking you’ll want to let this trap sit for 20-30 minutes to maximize your crab accumulation.

Pros
  • Great for dungeness crab.
  • Very well made construction.
  • Orange-colored rope (for easy spotting).
  • Weighted well for easy sinking.
  • Great for 20-30 minute sets.
  • Easy to pull in.

Cons
  • Not made for blue crab (the netting is too large).

Cage Crab Traps

Cage crab traps come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but the way they work is very similar. Typically there are flaps or openings that are designed or shaped to allow one-way entry. The crabs will be able to crawl in, but not out of the trap. These involve less hassle, as your pulling speed or angle will not matter. Once the crabs are in the trap, they will stay there until you pull them up. They can’t escape as they would from traps such as a hoop net crab trap.

  • 24 x 24 x 13 inches
  • Folds flat for easy transportation
  • Recommended for dungeness crab
  • Very easy bait placement.
  • Price:

Much like the crab trap above, these traps were specifically designed for dungeness crab. It doesn’t work very well with the eastern blue crabs as they’re much smaller and can fit through the bars on the cage.

The Danielson Pacific FTC Crab Trap is perfect for long wait time – generally a few hours. Transporting it is also very simple as it can be folded down before and after use. While it’s perfect legal in Oregon and Washington, you may not be able to use this in New Jersey as it doesn’t have a turtle exclusion device.

Pros
  • Perfect for dungeness crab.
  • Great for several-hour sets.
  • Durable design.
  • Folds down for easy transport.

Cons
  • Not for eastern blue crabs.
  • Doesn’t come with a bait container.

Crab Snares

Crab snares are used with a fishing pole. Bait is placed into the cage into the center, and the snare is cast on a fishing pole. Once it hits the bottom, you wait for crabs to come near. After about 10-15 minutes, you reel in the snare quickly. This causes the wire hoops around the snare to close around any nearby crab legs or claws and allows you to reel in a crab or two.

Air Fly Custom Made Crab Snare

  • 16 Gauge Vinyl Coated Steel
  • 4”x2”x1″ Bait Cage
  • High quality construction
  • Price:

If you’ve ever been shopping for crab snares, you’ve probably seen cheaper options. We strongly recommend you fork over the extra few bucks and buy a good one like this. Unlike many of the cheaper options, which are often poorly constructed with subpar materials, the snare’s line loops angle upward allowing for much easier snaring. Many of the cheaper traps have alot of slack in their line loops causing them to be easily avoided by even larger crabs.

Pros
  • Extremely durable.
  • Effective line loops.

Cons
  • A bit expensive.

Pyramid Crab Traps

As you can guess from its name this crab trap is in the shape of a pyramid only when being pulled to the surface, when resting on the waters bottom its look more like a star shape which is why some people often refer to it as a star crab trap. This trap is very similar to the ring crab trap, it can be packed and stored flat but again like the ring trap need to be checked regularly for crabs as it has no walls or cage to stop them from escaping.The benefits of this trap over the ring one is its build is slightly better and can be used in waters that have got stronger currents but for this added bonus you will have to pay a few dollars extra.

Eagle Claw Pyramid Crab Trap

  • Steel wire construction.
  • Folds down for easy storage.
  • Price:

Generally speaking, we don’t recommend the pyramid crab trap. There are alot of things that can go wrong and the ring crab traps work much more effectively. Still, if you’re looking for one this is probably the best you can buy online.

Pros
  • Cheaper than other traps.
  • Folds down for easy storage.

Cons
  • Will probably need to replace the string.
  • Has a hard time closing during the ascent.
  • Not as effective as hoop traps.

Commercial Crab Traps

Crabbing can be a very fun day out for you and your family at the beach but to some it’s there lively hood and career. Commercial crabbing is a very tough job out on the open water so it is imperative that the commercial crab traps that they lay on the waters floor attract and catch as many crabs as physically possible to be able to turn a small profit and earn a wage.

Commercial crabbing is heavily regulated by local state laws to ensure the crabs are not over fished and given enough time to breed and repopulate, so if you are thinking of crabbing commercially then you will need to check the rules, regulations and laws for the state you intend on working in.

Unlike normal traps, commercial crab traps and huge in size when compared side by side, some can easily be over 60” in diameter which can hold a fantastically large amount of crabs that will end up on the supermarket shelves around the world.

Commercial crab traps can be left unattended but for only a certain amount of time and they have to be placed in easy to access spots so they can be retrieved easily without problems,most states disallow crabbers placing there traps in channels and at the entrances of streams.

One thing you will also find on commercial crab traps that you won’t find on normal ones is a small stainless steel plate like a dog tag identifying who the trap belongs to in case its missed or swept by the current from its original location.

Leave a comment