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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am taking my new (X-mas gift from wifey) crab traps to Ilwaco next week. I have never crabbed before in my life. Dad is comming down to do some fishing w/ the grand daughters & I. I would like to provide us all with a crab dinner.

Question is: Where can I place my traps? How deep should I drop them? How much weight & what do you use for weight to keep them from floating away & wreaking havoc with everybody else who is fishing??
:whazzup:

Do you have any tips to help make the hunt successful?? Any guidance would be greatly appreciated! Not sure what I will use for bait but i confident I'll find something! Ultrabite perhaps? Maybe that gallon of Carrot Milk?? :tongue:

Thanks Everyone,
Full Freezer
 

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Up on the river the best crabbing will be on a slack tide, either high or low. You should not need weighted pots unless their is a high rise (flood) or low drop (ebb) as indicated in a tide book.

Bait? If you can get it, I have found Shad works best, however check with bait shops at the coast and they usually have fish carcass'es for about a buck and a half you can buy.

If your pots are round with two tunnels, place them so the tunnels are facing up stream and the other down stream. As crabs follow scent, they will trail right into the pot.

As far as depth, stay out of the shipping lane and watch your depth finder for a smooth sandy bottom. Usally about 20 to 40 feet deep.

Good luck and let us know how you did when you return.

Sore Back
 

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Bait: as fresh as you can get it. You will often hear that it needs to be old and rank, but fresh bait is superior. Clams seem to be tops. Fish carcasses tend to work very well, but in many harbors and bays the sea lions will tear up your gear trying to get to the bait. I have converted to chicken hindquarters because my local Winco usually has 10 lbs for about 5 bucks, and the pinnipeds leave chicken alone. We do VERY well with chicken. Be sure that you have put the bait into either a wire bait cage or plastic bait bag so it will last longer. If you just wire it into the trap it will be gone in under an hour because the crabs will tear off big chunks. If you use chicken, wash your hands before you eat that sandwich. While salmon is good, salmonella is bad!

Depth: I tend to hover around 16-30 feet. That's just personal choice 'cause I'm arthritic and don't like pulling 50 pounds of trap up from any deeper. Substrate is important. Dungeness generally prefer sandy bottoms, red rocks prefer rocky bottoms. Scour holes can be great.

My experience has been that swift currents do not equate with successful crabbing. I try to get off to the edges of faster water, into gentle flows. For courtesy, and probably legal, reasons, stay out of navigation channels.

I use a combination of rings and Danielson traps, which are the black wire cages sold everywhere. If I am only crabbing I think rings are more fun, since they have to be tended more frequently. If I am fishing too, then I go to traps. Haven't had to weight the traps so far, and haven't had one move yet. We have done some modifications though, reinforcing corners with zip ties and such. If you use rings, try to drop them so the bottom hoop is centered in the middle of the top hoop when it comes to rest on the bottom. If they overlap, the side netting will be over the bait and crabs will actually be on the outside of the ring. When you pull the ring, you will flip the crabs off. When pulling a ring, come in quickly, maintain a forward speed, and follow the rope until you are right over the ring, then pull FAST, hand over hand. Do not pause while pulling. Crabs can swim right out of the net while you are pulling. We continue to maintain forward headway while pulling so the water pressure keeps the crabs in the ring.

Incoming tide seems to be best for results. Stay away from bay entrances on outgoing tides. If your motor fails...

I let traps sit for 1-2 hours before pulling them. I pull rings at 15 minutes.

Watch your size limitations and genders. Watch your fingers and toes. If you have kids in the boat, keep a pair of cheap pliers at hand in case somebody gets a crab on a finger. Wear PFDs, there you are, hanging over the side trying to lift in 50-70 pounds of trap and crabs and a wake hits the other side of the boat, and.... :depressed: Have fun, it's a blast!

[ 08-06-2003, 09:22 AM: Message edited by: Old Coot ]
 

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Full Freezer, I crab at Newport and use pots made out of rebar and stainless wire, keeps the pesky seals out. It needs no weight to stay in place. In the bait cage I use some chicken, turkey, and a little fresh fish. Fresher the better. Good Crabbing.
 

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believe it or not guys, i use dog food for bait, i also use dead fishies too, but when i use the dog food i seem to do a lot better.

~hhm
 

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Good post Old Coot. One for my fishing files. Thankyou!

One thing I would like to ask of everyone, if I may be so bold, is not to place your traps at the end of the Columbia South Jetty. Especially, near the SJ Buoy. Although this area is not in the navigation channel, many boats still pass right through here when crossing the bar. This area is tricky enough without traps to watch out for. Last place in the river you want to have motor trouble.

:cheers:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you everyone! :smile:

I very much appreciate the help and will look forward to the lip smacking feast! :cheers:

What do I use for a bait cage? my wife bought those danielson cages & they came without any. Can I just roll some chicken or fish in chicken wire & fasten it to the bottom of the cage?

Should I throw a brick in there if I am crabbing during a strong flood tide?

She had purchased 100ft. weighted rope. What is the best way to shorten it to 60 or so if I am dropping the traps in 30ft of water??

Do round pots work better than square?? A friend told me the crab will circle around till it finds the hole, but on a square one it will turn the corner & keep going sometimes. Any truth to that??

Thank you! :wink:
Full Freezer
 

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One more thing...
Be carefull not to drop your traps in too deep of water during low tide, otherwise your indicators may get buried under water when the tide comes back in. My dad and his friends once made this mistake and lost not only their crab for the day, but also their traps!

Oh, and yet one more thing...
Don't worry too much about all the technicalities. Just throw your traps out (no extra weight) with sufficient bait and the crabs will find it. They are not finicky creatures.
Good Luck!

[ 08-07-2003, 01:21 AM: Message edited by: Sir Fishalot ]
 

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For bait cages, yes your rolled wire should work, however you can also buy pre-made cages that will fit nicely insude your traps - made of the same material, thus you can load all the baits ahead of time and merely insert them in the unfolded traps.

Line legnth - I'd suggest leaving it long. You never know when you might crab in deeper water and need the legnth.

Good luck.

One last suggestion, is to tie on an extra float - I've been using empty milk jugs along with the regular floats. Had a problem where the floats would 'torpedo' below the surface if the tide starting ripping. By adding the extra jug... not a problem anymore.
 

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There's a lot of tide movement where you are going - I always use extra weight in my Danielson traps as they are really light. The popular places to put traps in the river are right in front of sand island between the lower hole to Baker bay and the upper hole. Also, just upriver from the Ilwaco entrance. All the commercial guys down there use squid for bait and it works great but you'd need bait cans with holes drilled in them or some other bait cage. Most baits work though including mink carcasses (they sell them in some of the bait shops at the coat) which the seals also leave alone. Put two floats on your rope and the easiest way to shorten your rope from 100 feet to 60 feet is to cut it :wink: .
 

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All good info.

A couple more advantages to using two floats - you can see at a glance which way the current is running (approach from downstream to avoid running over your line) - and it gives you a good target to hook or grab the rope in between the floats.

As far as where, you can't go too far wrong. As you come out from Ilwaco, look for other crab floats. Drop 'em in about 20' of water more or less. Crabs are everywhere! Don't put them too close to the pilings, that gets a little too exciting when the tide and/or wind get going.
 

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:laugh: :laugh: :laugh: Cut it out!

I've been watching the round pots as they get pulled near me, and I can't say that I have been convinced they work any better than, or even as well as, cheap ol' Danielsons. I think that the crabs are following the scent trail in the current and don't get too confused by corners. Besides, your traps have a door on each side.

Another tip...hot day and using your cooler for crabs? A beverage stays nice and cold in your trap.

Maybe somebody more knowledgeable would like to post a reply about electrolosis and crabbing? "Some pots don't fish!"? I've heard some interesting theories, but am not bright enough to reconcile what I have heard.
 
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