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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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- Perfect for dungeness crab.
- Great for several-hour sets.
- Durable design.
- Folds down for easy transport.
- Not for eastern blue crabs.
- Doesn’t come with a bait container.
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.