I was recently asked by a Fishing Blog Facebook follower, “how do I prevent crabs from stealing my fishing bait”. He is looking for Anti Crab fishing rigs.
It is a very valid question as crabs can easily spoil a fishing sessions, cleaning your hooks of bait in a matter of minutes, rendering that cast useless and massively reducing your chance of hooking a fish. Flounder fishing often is spoilt by crabs cleaning hooks!
You will have to find a balance and you cannot completely stop this from happening, but you can reduce the chance, increasing your chances of catching a fish greatly.
The most simple method is to keep your bait just off the bottom, using anti Crab fishing rigs. Many crabs can swim fomr the bottom and get your bait but the chance is reduced of them finding an easy meal. A small polystyrene float added on to the snoods ( line from the main rig to the hook ) will help your bait to stay off the bottom, current will reduce its effectiveness, pushing it up and down. Rigs like this can be home made or purchased ready tied. A piece of cork can be used for a rough and ready anti crab rig – thread the cork onto the line using the hook as a needle, a few slices of cork are better than one thick chunk.
Another other option is to keep moving your bait, lift the rod tip and wind in the slack line this creates. Moving your bait might seem counter productive, in practice I have found the opposite! I think the fish become interested in the sand and silt being disturbed, just like prawns and worms do when feeding or digging holes. It also creates vibration which most fish use to hunt, feeling the vibration on their lateral lines and other sensory organs over their body.
Why not try soft plastics on a spinning or light Bass/Carp rod. These lures fished correctly can prove lethal. LRF techniques or Texas rigging to prevent weed and rock snags are rapidly becoming more and more popular. I must admit I rarely use bait these days. I have more luck with lures, over friends fishing with bait and who are using more traditional techniques. To learn a little about LRF have a look here at my LRF beginners guide.
There is no guaranted way to prevent crabs from stealing your bait. In many ways it proves you have got your bait in the right place where predators are hunting. Take it as a positive but employ these ideas to increase your chances of catching a fish, not fishing for ages with baitless hooks!
If you have any questions on this post please comment below and I will do all I can to help you further, let’s keep the crabs at bay!!