This whole section is dedicated to preparing
traps. This is because methods involving traps are the most commonly
used. If you have chosen a method that does not involve any traps,
you don't have to read this section.
Although I have went on a number of crabbing trips, I rarely prepare a trap myself. I have other people to do it for me (some people once said, "Smart people have others to do things for them." Or maybe I just made that up.). Preparing traps isn't hard, especially if you are good with ropes and tying knots (I'm not good at those). Below is a little Flash animation showing what would happen to me if I messed with ropes.
If you plan to catch crabs with traps, you should read this section. The purpose of doing this is to make sure you got working and secure traps. If your trap doesn't work correctly, you might not catch anything.
Preparing a trap involve two things: 1. securing the trap to a place on shore or a buoy/float, and 2. securing the bait to the trap. This section will teach you how to prepare the 3 types of traps shown in the What You'll Need section of this website.
When you secure a trap to shore or a buoy, your knots on the
securing line are the weakest points. They need to be as strong
as possible to prevent the securing line from breaking. A securing
line that breaks will result in the loss of your trap (Unless
you want to dive into the water and get it). The best type of
knots are the ones that gets tighter and tighter when the line
is being pulled (like how you would tie a hangman's noose. I don't
know how to do that). As I have said in the beginning of this
section, I am really bad at knot-tying, but thankfully, someone
has agreed to show me how to tie some knots. The two type of knots
are shown in the illustrations below.
Note: After you have tightened the first loop, repeat the steps above twice to create 2 more loops just to be secure
Knot 1 is also depicted as a Flash animation.
Knot No. 2
Same thing as knot no.1 except that you wrap 3 loops before you tighten the knot
For those who are bad in tying knots (like me), these two knots are all you need to tie a secure line. If you know of better ways to tie knots, use your way.
If you are going to deploy traps
from shore, it is likely that you would do this from a pier
or a dock because you have access to deeper water. Most piers
and docks have some sort of place you can tie your line to. You
can use the side railings or the place people use to tie their
boats to. You should take your rope and wrap it around the object
you plan to the tie the rope to a few times and then tie the knot
to the rope itself.
How you secure the line to a buoy/float depends on what type of buoy/float you use. If you use the ones shown in the What You'll Need page that has a hole that you can put a line through, tie it to that place. If your buoy/float doesn't have that feature, you do the same thing you would to tie a line to shore.
In order to tie the securing line to a ring net, you need
two more pieces of rope. They each have to be longer than the
top ring's diameter and roughly equal in length (be as accurate
as possible, but there is no need to stress yourself out over
2 pieces of rope). The two pieces of rope should be tied across
the top ring in such a way that the two ropes divide the ring
into 4 equal pieces (illustration below). The securing line will
be tied to the middle of both pieces of ropes. This way, when
you pull the ring net up, all of the top ring rise at the same
time, rather than one way goes first.
The gray ring is the top ring of the ring net
Since the ring net lies flat when deployed, you can't suspend the bait inside the trap so that no creatures can pick at it from the outside. You still need to secure the bait to the middle of the mesh in the bottom ring so that the bait doesn't get dragged out of the trap. Pierce through the bait with a piece of wire (ones ones that are not insulated are easier to use) and tie the bait to the mesh. You don't need to tie the bait with complicated knots. You just need to twist the ends of the wire around each other. If you use a bait bag, you can just tied the strings on the bait bag to the bottom.
When you buy a pyramid/star trap or a semi-circle crab net,
it probably already have strings so that it can open if it is
set down and close if you pull the string on the top. The only
thing you need to do is to connect your securing line to the string
on the top. Use the knots I showed on this page or your own special
You secure your bait the same way you would if you use a ring net (above section). Some semi-circle crab nets also come with a pre-attached bait bag or you may choose to use one. In this case just place the bait inside the bag and that's it.
Tying a pot/cage to a securing line is basically the same
as tying a ring net, especially if you have a cylindrical crab
pot/cage. If you have a rectangular pot/cage, tie each piece of
the two pieces of rope (mentioned above) across diagonally on
the top side of the cage (one end to one corner, the other end
to the corner diagonally across). Some cages and pots may come
with the ropes properly tied up for you, which will save you a
If you have a pot/cage that has a tray for putting bait built inside, you just put the bait inside the tray or do whatever the instructions that came with the pot/cage says. If your pot/cage lacks a tray, you will need some wires to secure your bait. Pierce through the bait and wrap the wire around the bait at least once. Tie the other end of the wire to the middle of the top side of the cage. The bait is then suspended in the middle of the cage. If crabs want to eat the bait, they have to enter the cage. If you use a bait bag, it doesn't matter if you tie it to the top or bottom because the bag makes harder for the crabs to eat the bait. Basically, you don't want any free pickings from outside of the cage.