A beginner’s guide to crabbing - Focus | The Star Online

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A beginner’s guide to crabbing


One a good day, a dozen of crab pots can produced between 3kg and 5kg of crabs.

One a good day, a dozen of crab pots can produced between 3kg and 5kg of crabs.

CRABBING is a form of fishing that is simple and easy to do.

Little skill is involved and it can be carried out all year round.

So what do you need for crabbing?

Firstly, crab pots which can be obtained from any fishing tackle shop. It costs about RM10 each.

The local crab pot, which is made from wire rings and nylon rope, come in two shapes – round or square.

Both devices are easy to use.

Basically, the trap has a bait holder inside with two entry points, one on each side, to lure the crab.

The most tricky part of crabbing is to tie the crab’s pincers. Normally, this is done by stepping on the crab from the rear to restrict its movements.
The most tricky part of crabbing is to tie the crab’s pincers. Normally, this is done by stepping on the crab from the rear to restrict its movements.

The trap, which is left in the water with a float to mark the location when submerged, is tied to a tree or stump to prevent it from being washed away.

To be successful in an outing, enthusiasts need at least half a dozen of these traps.

As for bait, rotten fish, chicken intestines or meat can be used.

Rotten fish is ideal as the smell of the decaying meat quickly attracts crabs to the traps.

Of course, some local knowledge on where to place these traps would also be helpful.

Crab pots are normally used to catch mud crabs.

So, to be able to use these traps effectively, one has to find a rocky and muddy beach.

Crabs like to take cover among rocks and structures which provide shelter – like cracks in pillars or retaining walls along the pier or shoreline.

Alternatively, one can also head to the mangrove swamp, the natural habitat for these mud crabs.

A mud crab trapped inside a crab pot.
A mud crab trapped inside a crab pot.

Mud crab is expensive and considered a delicacy in Chinese restaurants, they can cost between RM30 and RM80 a kilo.

The size of the crab varies, depending on where the traps are placed.

In general, they should be about 350g and above. Anything smaller than that would have no flesh and should be thrown back into the sea and allowed to grow.

The best time to catch these crabs is when the tide is rising and during the early morning and evening.

The most tricky part of crabbing is to remove the catch and tie the crab’s pincers.

Tying the crabs takes a bit of skill and practice.

Normally, one would step on the crab from the rear to restrict its movements.

This action would freeze the crab momentarily, allowing one to use raffia strings to tie its two pincers and other legs.

Be careful though as crabs are known to use their pincers to defend themselves when under threat.

Getting pinched can be very painful!

The alternative is to carry a bucket and place the crabs inside.

Happy crabbing!

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Central Region , crabbing , Eddie Chua , Reel Tales

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