Sometimes called a hoop net, ring nets are one of my favorite ways to go crabbing that’s perfect for the beginner crabber. They work on a boat, pier, or even a shoreline. It’s an easy method anyone young and old can enjoy with ZERO prior experience! Let’s look into where, when, and how to use a one.
What you Need
When I’m using ring nets, I always bring the following:
●A Ring Net & Rope
●A Bucket or Cooler
●A Good Book (optional)
1. Ring Net
High or Low Quality?
When buying ring nets, they’re either expensive or cheap, $30-50 or $4-12. The more expensive ones may look fancier and more durable, and they are. The only problem is that you never use just one ring net, you need 3 or 5 for the best chance to catch crabs. It is also VERY easy to loose your net. It can get caught, ripped, or simply fall apart in the water.
Want my recommendation? If you plan to use a buoy and place your nets farther away from the shore, buy the more expensive nets. They’re larger, stronger, and can hold more crabs.
If you’re planning to go crabbing on a pier with your family, buy the less expensive nets. Be prepared to buy 5 or 6, just in case you lose one or two.
It’s easy to overthink baiting a crab trap. People like to buy scents or fancy baits like squid, but it comes down to giving the crabs what they want. You need to bait your trap with fresh, oily fish or chicken. Each can be found at your local bait and tackle or grocery store.
3.A Bucket or Cooler
Transporting crabs can be a headache. You need to keep them cool and damp and cook them as soon as possible.
I live 3 minutes walking distance from a river, so keeping crabs alive isn’t so much an issue as it would be to others. If you’re in the same situation, you don’t have to overthink it.
Bring a 5-gallon bucket, and a towel you don’t mind smelling like crabs. When you catch your crabs. place them in the bucket then cover it with a towel. I recommend dunking the towel in water so it’s nice and damp.
Depending on if it’s a hot day, or you plan to be out on the water for more than a few hours, you should add an inch of ice to the bottom of your bucket. Cover the ice with burlap, a towel, or an inch of newspapers to keep crabs out of direct contact with the ice.
If you plan to catch more than 6 crabs, you might want to invest in a cooler. Line the bottom with ice and cover with wet burlap, towels, or newspaper. When you catch crabs, leave the lid open a smidgen to let air circulate.
For any beginner crabbers, holding a crab is easier said than done. It’s so easy to get pinched by a claw that there’s no question to bring tongs.
Make sure you grab the crab with the tongs on the crabs back end, away from the eyes and claws.
You can also bring gloves to hold crabs, I’ve heard that welders gloves help reduce the pain if you get pinched.
5.A Good Book
If you’re by yourself, crabbing can be a great time to relax. I recommend a comfy chair, a good book, and maybe a sandwich.
Don’t forget a watch so you know when to pull up your traps (every 15min).
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