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You don’t have to be on the TV series “Deadliest Catch” in order to experience how awesome crabbing can be.
Although the high-profile television show gained a lot of attention back in its prime, crabs have long been some of the most enjoyable creatures to fish.
Unfortunately, you can’t fish for crabs in a traditional sense – they won’t stay on the end of a line and getting close enough to catch one by hand is practically impossible.
However as an average angler you can easily hunt for crabs using crab traps. Crab traps are specially designed to bait and trap crabs.
There are thousands of different types available – but buying the best crab traps will ensure the most enjoyable and productive experience.
Here’s what to look for
7 Best Crab Traps on The Market
In a hurry? Here are the best crab traps
Last update on 2023-12-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
What to Look for When Buying a Crab Trap
There are different types of crab trap designs that you can choose from.
While some – namely, pyramid, ring net, and box traps – are the most commonly used, there are plenty of choices for the discerning crab hunter.
Box Crab Trap
A box crab trap is a popular design because it’s remarkably effective and efficient. It’s also good at keeping crabs inside the trap once they are caught.
Box crab traps have multiple holes that serve as entry points. They allow the crabs to swim into the trap but don’t allow them to get back out.
Unfortunately, they can be quite large and cumbersome to handle.
Ring Net Crab Trap
A ring net crab trap is a bit easier to maneuver, as it is collapsible. It will consist of two rings – one of these is larger than the other.
Between the two rings, there is a net. This is where the crabs will be contained.
One of the most portable types of crab traps, ring nets are prized for this reason. However, they require some practice to use.
You have to be quite skilled at positioning and placing the trap in order to catch crabs.
Slip Ring Crab Trap
A slip ring crab trap consists of three rings, one of which has netting and sits on the seafloor. Here, the harness attaches to the trap.
They work just like other ring net traps, except the top of the trap is enclosed so the crabs can’t get out as you pull the trap through the water.
Pyramid Crab Trap
If you’re new to crab hunting, the pyramid crab trap is probably the style you are most familiar with.
Pyramid crab traps have a triangular shape and are effective at both baiting and trapping crabs.
They work in a simple manner. All you do is set the bait in the center of the trap. The crab will crawl in, the top will close, and the crab will be trapped inside.
Cage Traps (Pots)
Pots are fully enclosed traps with doors that allow the crabs to crawl in but not back out. They are highly effective – perhaps the most effective – but require a different technique.
When you use a crab pot, you will usually leave it for hours at a time.
There are many pot designs you can choose from, but the best are those with multiple ramps and raised doors so that more crabs can make their way inside.
Material and Build
Metal will almost always be the best material for a crab trap. It is long-lasting and durable and can handle a few bumps as it gets maneuvered around in the water.
The crabs also won’t be able to cut through it with their sharp claws. There are also mesh and wire materials to choose from.
Just keep in mind that quality and durability should be at the top of your list when it comes to priorities in choosing a crab trap.
Read reviews and make sure the trap you select can hold up to the most rugged conditions.
Where exactly will you be going after crab? The depth at which you set the trap is important to consider.
The crab trap should be able to sink easily to the bottom of the water – after all, that’s where the crabs will be hanging out.
Just keep in mind that too much depth can take its toll on a crab trap, especially when you factor in the temperature and pressure of the water.
Look for an op-rated crab pot that has an automated mechanism so the trap can empty itself if you are unable to retrieve it.
One of the most important considerations you need to make when shopping for a crab trap is what size will work best for your needs.
The larger the crab species, the larger the trap you need.
Crab traps come in many sizes, and bigger isn’t always better. Select your trap size so it matches your chosen species.
For example, Dungeness crab traps need to be quite large – often over ten inches in width, as this is the size of one of these crabs.
If you’re going after blue crabs, however, a smaller trap will work just fine, as these crabs are quite tiny.
Just as you need to consider the overall size of the crab trap based on your chosen species, you also need to make some rough calculations when it comes to the hole size.
There is some precision required here.
The hole needs to be large enough so that the crab can get in, but not so big that the crab will view the hole as a secondary escape route.
Luckily, most designs have a funnel-shaped hole, so the crabs aren’t likely to outsmart it.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that many crab traps do not have small holes. Traps need to be monitored carefully if the holes are larger.
If you’re just a hobbyist who occasionally hunts for a few crabs, you probably don’t need to spend a ton of money on a crab trap.
However, if you plan on trapping crabs for sustenance, you’re going to want to spend a bit more money on your new trap.
Therefore, it’s important to consider how and when (and how often) you are going to be using your crab trap before you buy.
Think about the weather conditions where you intend to trap crabs. This can impact the strength of the underwater currents on your crab traps.
If you live in an area that experiences heavy waves and currents, a lightweight trap may not work well, as it can be carried away by the current.
Available Boat Space
Will you be crabbing from a small boat or kayak? If so, steer clear of bulky traps.
Instead, choose a collapsible trap. This will make it easier for you to store and transport your gear. Some crab traps can even be stacked!
Local Laws and Regulations
Check into your local laws and regulations. Some places have rules regarding size, daily limits, and fishing gear.
For example, some places require traps to have rot cord openings that deteriorate and free trapped crabs in case the pot is lost or swept away. Most places also require the use of a buoy.
7 Best Crab Traps Reviewed
Here are the top crab traps on the market today
KUFA CT50 Sports Foldable Crab Trap
This crab trap is perfect for commercial crab trapping. It is highly convenient and collapsible, meaning you can easily fold it flat to reduce the amount of space it takes up.
Easy to store and easy to transport, the crab has two single-direction entrances that let in multiple crabs at a time – but doesn’t let them out.
It folds flat in just three seconds and is equipped with three stainless-steel clip locks. The doors are easy to open after a tapping session, requiring minimal effort on your part.
With stainless steel construction, this crab trap is one of the most durable of its kind.
- High-quality stainless steel build
- Easy to carry around and store
- Large door to allow for trapping of larger crabs
- Not the most environmentally-friendly
Hurricane Two Ring Wire Crab Net
If you’re looking for an economical pick while shopping for a crab trap, this option by Hurricane is the way to go.
It’s highly affordable without compromising on quality. Its heavy-duty construction ensures resilience even when faced with corroding and damaging agents.
Its rings are corrosion-resistant, as they have a unique aluminum construction.
Sturdy and reliable, this crab trap weighs in at less than 13 ounces. This makes it easy to transport and store, no matter how little upper body strength you might have.
- Extremely affordable and lightweight
- Can be used on large and small crabs alike
- Corrosion and wear-resistant
- Too small to handle any accessories you might want to add
Foxy-Mate 120-T Topless Crab Trap
The Foxy-Mate crab trap doesn’t only have a fun name, but it has a fun-to-use design, too.
It is great for large crabs, structured to help accommodate some of the biggest monsters in the sea.
It comes with galvanized wire and a rugged line so that it is durable and strong even in heavy currents.
This trap does not have a top, so it’s easy to use on simple catches.
You won’t have to spend a lot of time opening and closing the doors. Instead, you can spend your time unloading all the crabs!
It also has tapered sides to allow for easier transportation and storage – it can be stacked.
- No assembly required
- Built with the highest-quality materials
- Great for all kinds of crabs
- Not great for small species of crabs
Danielson 4-Door Octagon Crab Trap
The Danielson 4-Door Octagon Crab Trap has a unique appearance that is nonetheless highly effective at catching crabs.
It has a unique rot-cord system with a fall-away design. Essentially, this system disables the trap if you can’t retrieve it.
It’s one of the most humane options for the trapped crabs, as they will be able to escape if you can’t reel them in for whatever reason.
It also has a top-opening hatch that is much larger than you might normally see.
It is accompanied by a hook closure and a stretch tube, both of which work together to make opening and closing the doors more efficient.
- Comes with a built-in octagonal bait cage
- Can be used on large crabs
- Has four different entrances to maximize the number of crabs you can catch
- Can be somewhat heavy to carry around
KUFA Rubber Wrapped Steel Ring Crab Trap
Another top crab trap pick by KUFA is this rubber-wrapped steel ring trap.
Best for going after crabs during times of poor visibility, this trap is easy to see no matter how dark it might be.
It is made with durable polyethylene netting. It is long-lasting and resistant to most wear and tear.
This net is incredibly deep, with more than 18 inches of space. You won’t have to worry about the crabs getting back out, regardless of how deep your trap is sunk.
It also has a bottom ring that is only sixteen inches. This is the ring that lets in crabs.
Although sixteen inches doesn’t seem like much, it is plenty wide enough to let in all kinds of large crabs – the same crabs that may be excluded from other types of traps due to their size.
- Easy to see in poor weather conditions
- Can easily catch large crabs and even lobsters
- Can withstand heavy currents and impacts
- Not the best for going after blue crabs
Promar TR-555 Folding Crab Trap with Top Door
As a folding crab trap, the Promar TR-555 is one of the most versatile. You can stash it just about anywhere, making it useful if you are fishing from a small boat.
It can catch multiple crabs at once and has a variety of unique features. With a vinyl-coated steel wire construction, it is durable and long-lasting without compromising on its size and functionality.
Lightweight and easy to stash, this device has four instead of simply two entry points.
There are also two escape rings that measure 4 ⅜” each. This way, you’ll only catch the perfect-sized crabs every time.
- Easy to stack, carry, and store
- Vinyl-coated steel construction for durability
- Corrosion- and damage-resistant
- Can be complicated for a single user to assemble and use
Maryland Blue Crab Pot Trap
The Rob Smith Maryland Blue Crab Pot Trap is one of the best for going after the Chesapeake Atlantic blue crab. With a PVC-coated metal body, it is incredibly durable.
It reduces the likelihood of corrosion and deterioration, lasting much longer than comparable products.
It has quality construction and reduces the amount of time and money you need to spend repairing your crab trap.
One of the most commonly selected crab pot traps by commercial crab traps, this device is one of the most durable.
- Made in the USA
- Coated with PVC vinyl
- Some users report trouble with crabs escaping from the pot
How Exactly Does a Crab Trap Work?
Crab traps work in a unique way, with each functioning a bit differently depending on its design.
In most cases, crab traps are set with boats to draw crabs in. The crabs will pass through a tiny hole, which they will not be able to get out of.
The holes lead to the center of the trap, where your bait is, and the trap will hold the crabs until you pull them up.
When you feel movement on your line from where you sit above the trap, you can raise it and see what you caught. Ideally, you’ll be able to capture it before it gets out.
What Kind of Bait Goes Into a Crab Trap?
You will want to put in tantalizing baits to attract crabs. Generally, the best options will be those that are considered delicacies by the crabs, like dog food, meat scraps, or animal parts like liver.
How Do You Assemble a Crab Trap?
Crab trap assembly also varies depending on the specific design.
Collapsible crab pots must be expanded to make room for the crabs, while others require little assembly besides adding your bait and dropping them in the water.
However, in most cases, you will need to add a line or rope to the trap so that you can pull it up from the water.
What Other Supplies Are Needed for Crabbing?
New to crabbing? Unfortunately, a crab trap isn’t all you’ll need in order to get started.
You will also need a harness and/or rope, which will attach to your trap and help you to retrieve it.
If you use a harness, look for one with a minimum of four attachment points – these are ideal for heavier traps, as are those with metal clips.
You will also need a bait box or bag. These tools will make it more difficult for crabs to steal your bait.
If you simply tie your bait to the inside of your trap, crabs can often nibble the bait from the outside of the trap.
A buoy can also be helpful. This will ensure that your traps can be seen by other boaters and crabbers. Look for a buoy in a bright color, like orange.
Some other supplies you might need include a collection basket, weights, wire, a caliper, and various storage containers to hold your crabs once you’ve pulled them in from the water.
How Do You Take Care of A Crab Trap?
In general, crab traps are easier to take care of than other fishing equipment you may have purchased in the past.
As with any other saltwater gear, you might want to give your gear a quick rinse before you put it into storage. This can prevent corrosion and rust damage.
Inspect your gear on a regular basis. Usually, any tears or minor nicks can easily be replaced – it’s just a matter of catching them early enough before they do more damage.