It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are, nothing says a gourmet seafood meal quite like fresh mud crabs. Often sold at high-end restaurants and worked into complex concoctions, it’s easy to forget that you can sample your own with a few inexpensive bits of kit! Indeed, trapping a feed of fresh mud crabs is something anyone can do, and with a bit of know-how, it’s a great way to subsidise your fishing trips in the saltwater.
Given that crabbing regulations are state-based, it’s important to be up to date, as if you get caught doing the wrong thing you can be fined heavily, have your gear seized, or even face jail time. Depending whether your state permits pots, witches hats or dillies, or lift nets, there is a good range on today’s market, and these are best picked up locally, as you can be sure that what you’re buying is legal in the waters nearby.
What is important is having personal and contact details on the trap itself and the floats or markers you use above the water. The Wilson Crabbing ID Kit is great for labelling pots, dillies or lift nets. The Styrene Floats available at addicttackle.com.au make good crab pot floats, and are a bit more hard-wearing than commonly used milk bottles, and importantly, they comply with the law!
As you would suspect, bait is best when it is fresh and a range of baits will work for muddies. Chicken necks and frames, fish frames, tins of cat food and a host of other smelly, oily baits can be successful for muddies. Just make sure your bait is anchored so it doesn’t drift around inside, or the crabs will be able to eat it from the outside, and make sure it’s sturdy and doesn’t disintegrate too quickly. Wilson Galvanised Bait Clips and Wilson Surecatch Wire Bait Holders are great tools for anchoring baits inside pots, dillies or lift nets.
As a general rule, warmer months are better for muddies. If there has been recent rains, the crabs should be in the main river, lower in the system or even in the bays, while drier times will see them retreating into mangrove forests, so setting pots up this way may be beneficial.
Make sure you make the most of this great resource and spruce up your seafood dinner!
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