Most people’s favorite crab species is the stone crab, hence why lots of people want to learn how to catch stone crabs themselves. You may be wondering, where do stone crabs live? The most famous crab species in Florida is the stone crab!
The majority of the stone crab fishing activities in the country occur in Florida’s warm waters. However, you should also try catching stone crabs in South Carolina and Georgia where they’re abundant!
When are stone crabs in season? As you’ll most likely test your skills at stone crabbing in Florida, you should know that it’s only legal to harvest this specific species of crab in Florida starting the 15th of October up to the 1st of May each year.
Don’t forget to secure the appropriate license and permit before heading out onto the water. Read on for an in-depth guide on where to catch stone crabs in Florida and how to catch them!
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What You Need for Stone Crabbing
The basics that you will include are the following:
- Stone Crab Fishing License: Depending on where you’ll catch crabs or set up stone crab traps, you need to make sure you’re fully aware of the relevant laws and regulations. See which types of licenses will be required from you. Chances are you already have the recreational fishing license that covers stone crabbing. Still, you need to ensure you’ve obtained the right license to save yourself time and money should you violate any regulation and incur fines. Fortunately, it’s very easy and cheap to obtain.
- Crab Trap, Net, Line, and Bait: The equipment you need for stone crabbing will depend on the method that you’ll employ. Crab traps, crab lines, and ring nets are all effective.
- Bucket and Ice: The bucket will be where you’ll put the stone crabs you’ve caught and the ice will keep them fresh.
- Chair: A fishing chair will be necessary if you plan to have a relaxing experience catching stone crabs.
How to Catch Stone Crabs
As mentioned earlier, there are many ways to fish for stone crabs. As they all have a high catch rate, try any of the techniques that pique your interest!
This is an easy way to catfish stone crabs in high quantities, hence why it’s the method utilized by commercial fishermen.
It’s a low-engagement activity as you just bait the trap then leave for some time so a trap fills up with stone crabs. Just remember that this method is more expensive compared to the other crabbing techniques from the trap cost.
There are various styles of stone crab pots that are available for purchase both online and offline. Your most common options are metal crab traps, pyramid crab pots, box traps, and string traps for stone crabs.
When crab trapping, you’ll certainly get what you’ve paid for as the ocean isn’t easy on anything. Do you plan on using a crab pot or trap on several crab fishing trips?
If so, then we suggest you invest in a high-quality box trap. A string trap and pyramid trap for stone crabs cost less; however, both last only a couple of trips. If you use the right baits, you’ll have more fun trapping crabs.
It’s also one of the easiest ways to catch stone crabs. It’s typically done off the pier or dock and with a ring net for crabbing. The crab bait is placed right in the center of the net.
So crabs won’t carry the net away, it’s attached with a braided fishing line or rope. When dropping crab ring nets off a dock, they fall onto the bottom of the ocean floor and lay flat. Stone crabs are allowed to walk toward the nets to feed.
After leaving the ring nets for a while, you can check if there are crabs you’ve caught by pulling the nets up. Kids and nearby onlookers get excited when you check your ring nets as they are eager to witness the crabs you’ve caught.
If you’re in shallow waters, you may also use a hand net. If you’re able to walk in muddy waters that are just ankle-deep, you might stumble across crabs that are feeding on plant matter.
Scoop the crabs with your net and catch up to the limit! This is particularly fun for kids as they will try to run after the crabs. Using a crab net is an incredible way for the entire family to experience and enjoy stone crabbing.
Using a Crab Line
If what you want is a cost-effective way to catch stone crabs, then try using a crab line! With this method, a line is attached to a crab bait which will bring the crab towards you.
When you’ve lured in crab, simply scoop with your net. You can also utilize this method for crabbing with the family. It’ll save you a lot of money, especially if you’ll only go crabbing once or twice.
There will be skills involved in finding the areas for using a crab line. Try checking out the deeper holes that are near rock structures and marches as they could hold crabs.
As soon as you have spotted a safe area for you to catch crabs, tie a string onto your choice of crab bait. Then, toss it into the water. By the time you feel a gentle tug on your line, start working the line slowly.
Allow the crab to retain its hold onto your bait while you’re pulling it in. Slide your net under the crab when it’s within range for you to catch. As you can see, it’s pretty simple but it’s tons of fun!
If you’ve eaten stone crabs in a restaurant before, you know that they cost crazy amounts! What most don’t know is it’s actually easy to catch stone crabs!
The next time you are in Florida, try crabbing in the grass flats! We’re sure it’ll make for an unforgettable experience.
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