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Author Topic: Ideal crab pot setup?  (Read 923 times)

Offline Parasite

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Ideal crab pot setup?
« on: December 14, 2019, 01:53:53 PM »
For 2020, I'm going to get into crabbing. I'm loving everything outdoors in the PNW so far, and this will be one of my next good purchases. I'd like to spend the money and do it smart the first time, rather than buy junk only to buy quality later. So what do you guys recommend for an entire crab pot system? I'll be crabbing out of a 2011 G3 center console jon boat. Help me spend my money :D Just looking for information to make an informed decision at this point. Please don't proposition me.

Offline NRA4LIFE

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Re: Ideal crab pot setup?
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2019, 02:06:54 PM »
I started with the cheap Danielsons and had great luck.  I then got a screaming deal on a couple of the round, rubber coated rebar/stainless steel pots and didn't like them (I still have them in dry storage, i.e. my barn).  I'm back to the cheap Danielsons again.  You can find them sometimes at Sportco for $11-$12 apiece.  When they go to hell, just buy new ones.  I got a ton of 50' and 100' lengths of leaded rope if you don't want to go real deep.  I'd sell those for next to nothing.
Look man, some times you just gotta roll the dice

So many free days, so few fish....  Wait, I changed my mind.  Maybe the best season ever on PS.

Offline CP

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Re: Ideal crab pot setup?
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2019, 02:11:06 PM »
I also find that the cheap 4 door box traps fish as well as any, and better than most, more expensive traps.  Those, some floats, some weighted line, some salmon carcasses and you are in business.

Offline 7mmfan

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Re: Ideal crab pot setup?
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2019, 02:18:04 PM »
Same as these guys. Just make sure and weight those cheap ones down some. Some chain, or cut rebar lengths, or even a couple pounds of lead cannonballs. Just something to keep the tide from dragging it along. They can move surprisingly easy.
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Offline WSU

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Re: Ideal crab pot setup?
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2019, 02:28:52 PM »
Depends on how you plan to crab. For really quick pulls, I like rings. Danielsons are good for moderate soaks. Larger traps are better if you are going leave overnight. I have a mix of all of them.

Offline Dan-o

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Re: Ideal crab pot setup?
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2019, 02:45:26 PM »
I only use the cheap danielsons. 

I really think they dish at least as good as the bigger ones. 

I absolutely load up on bait. 
I think that's important. 
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Offline h20hunter

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Re: Ideal crab pot setup?
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2019, 03:10:11 PM »
Mix it up. Bait in a bag. Free hanging. Lots of it. Also, i hang weights on the doors.....helps em stay closed in current. At least I think so.

Offline Dan-o

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Re: Ideal crab pot setup?
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2019, 03:15:00 PM »
Mix it up. Bait in a bag. Free hanging. Lots of it. Also, i hang weights on the doors.....helps em stay closed in current. At least I think so.

I put pencil lead on the bottom of the doors.   Otherwise even a small current has the doors flapping.
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Offline fowl smacker

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Re: Ideal crab pot setup?
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2019, 03:15:12 PM »
I too am on the cheap Danielson trap train.  I have each of mine rigged with 100' of lead lined rope and 2 buoys,  I think running 2 buoys separated from each other helps out a lot, that way if the current pulls one buoy slightly under, you still have the 2nd one floating.  I have a couple pieces of small rebar in the bottom of all mine (zip tied), and I also wound a little bit of pencil lead around the traps on the doors to keep the current from opening them and prevent crab from escaping.  I don't leave my pots on overnight soaks, and usually only crab incoming tides, so my set up works perfect for me.

Offline 7mmfan

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Re: Ideal crab pot setup?
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2019, 03:29:55 PM »
Mix it up. Bait in a bag. Free hanging. Lots of it. Also, i hang weights on the doors.....helps em stay closed in current. At least I think so.

All of this. Hanging bait makes a big difference in my opinion.
I hunt, therefore I am.... I fish, therefore I lie.

Offline h20hunter

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Re: Ideal crab pot setup?
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2019, 04:10:49 PM »
Proven fact. I ran a go pro in pots and hanging bait plus bagged bait kept them in the pot and feeding longer.

Offline Thenewguy

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Re: Ideal crab pot setup?
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2019, 05:35:10 PM »
The danielson pots are the way to start, but are quickly out fished by better pots. Especially deep or in any current. I like a good SMI, or pick you brand, pot with a 100ft leaded line coupled with an optional 50 footer. I also weight even the heavier traps down. Two things this helps, you don’t fish much when the pot is moving (which happens more then you think) and it helps keep people from “checking” your pots for you (which also happens more then you think). I am a big fan of buy once cry once.

Offline jeffro

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Re: Ideal crab pot setup?
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2019, 05:41:26 PM »
Danielson’s cheapo’s here also!
People will steal your pots if you don’t sit on them!
Per pot:
A small mesh metal bait box
A wire hanger for free hanging bait
Floats
Lead rope
A couple pencil weights per door
Some type of weight, I use an old 8lb downrigger ball, to hold pot in place.


Depth sounder and charts are a must
You want to find flats with eel grass and/ or kelp beds

Bait!
Chicken & turkey parts, salmon/tuna/cod heads and carcasses, canned tuna in water, cat food
Squid shrimp, herring, anchovies, beef and/or chicken livers
All work
Mix it up
Use different combos
Use plenty!

Went out today, an hour before low tide, limited in 2 hours, one pull of 2 pots

Chicken drumsticks hanging, perforated can of tuna and bag of chicken livers in bait box


One shot. One kill!

Offline Parasite

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Re: Ideal crab pot setup?
« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2019, 03:40:47 AM »
Alright guys, thanks for the information so far. I've got some more questions based on the info given so far.

1) Bags for bait - what do you guys recommend? i have not seen these before. I've only seen the metal bait cages.

2) Does it matter if the pots are round, square, or octagon? Collapsible or fixed?

3) What do I need for depth sounder and charts? I'm not sure how to find flats with kelp or eel grass? I'll probably be upgrading all my electronics this years, so I may as well get all the info I can now to make a decision later.

4) Have you guys ever caught pot/crab thieves? I hear people complaining about this a lot, but no instances of catching them in the act to know for sure. I'm curious as to the frequency of this event.


Offline OltHunter

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Re: Ideal crab pot setup?
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2019, 07:57:56 AM »
Lots of good info so far.  Really, you are going to get lots of opinions and this works, this doesn't based on experience.  Just like fishing.  Some will only run certain colors, lures, speeds, etc when really, lots of different things will work.

Here's what I would recommend per pot (similar to others):
1 Bait box or bag - to hold the bait that the crab will be nibbling on and keep them interested but not allow them to eat too much.
1 Bait bag or jar - to hold the broadcast bait - think scent trail.  Frozen ground up bait, sponges with scent oil, etc.  This is debatable if it really works better or not, but we soak some ground up bait in a crab oil and freeze it solid into cubes.  Pull those out and drop those in, frozen.  it will slowly melt and time release scent.
1 Some type of zip tied or bait clipped meat to the bottom without a bag/box to really get the frenzy going.  This will be gone in minutes.
4 2ft rebars zip tied to the bottom. 
2 coils of lead around each door.

Load up on bait - and think something we would eat.  Don't throw in garbage freeze dried, rancid meat.  Chicken drumsticks, salmon/shad/herring/tuna, turkey legs, livers, etc.

It seems like crab are attracted to scent and the sound of other crabs.  I've heard of guys putting pop cans in their trap with rocks to enhance the clanging, but I've never done it.

Round, square, octagon - it doesn't matter.  Square, cheap seems to be the name of the game.  We have the collapsible, but are a pain to collapse and bend easily.  It's mainly for storage, but we just keep ours all out, but we have the room on the boat.

Now a days with apps, you don't really need a great sonar - but obviously it's good to have for salmon fishing.  I have the boating app for Navionics and that depth detail is enough to know just about how deep you are and it also adjusts to tide depth.  I think it's $15 maybe, well worth it though.  Also has tide and current info.  We are lucky to have good electronics, so this is my backup.  One day our transducer hit something and popped it up so we couldn't get any depths so I worked our lines off the app.  With sonar though, you will impress your green friends/kids when you can call out their pot is about to hit the bottom!

Never have caught thieves, but have seen "checkers" because we were working our crab lines, watched boats drop them, and others check them.  Usually thieves are on those left overnight.  Checkers are during the day.  It seems like the checkers will hit the areas with lots of pots.  Make your buoys extra special, so they don't look like others.

Best advise - don't leave them more than 30 minutes to an hour if you can.  That's all you really need.  If you are running a dedicated crab trip - no fishing, you should be working a crab line.  Set your pots out 100 to 200 yards apart at a depth, pull em after 30 to 45 minutes, then adjust them deeper, shallower, farther down one way, etc.  Long soaks don't really do much, as the bait/scent is done for well before then.  I'm sure the crabs will still come with all the ruckus of crabs in the trap, but if they don't see or smell anything to eat, I don't think they are going to try to get in.

I'd be curious for those left overnight, that are full to the rim with 20 to 30 crabs, how many of those were there within the first couple hours vs the last 22!

If you are fishing, then it's a little harder.  We usually try to time them to never be in the water more than 2 hours.  Get them out before the tide change, then check them once it slows down, and keep them close to us so it's a quick run. 

There are so many spots to catch crab in Puget Sound, it's great.  there really isn't a rhyme or reason on finding THE spot.  A spot can be hot one week and cold the next.  Crab are ever moving, it you don't catch any in one spot, that doesn't mean you can't the next day, next week, etc.

As for cleaning crab - buy the Blue Crab Crack'n Crab Cleaner...game changer.  Don't need a giant pot to cook crab, and you can get rid of the guts on the boat and keep the legs on ice once you come back (just make sure to keep the shells until you are legal).  I've had to bleach out countless garbage cans with leaky crab juice that spoils.  Not fun.

Main thing is to just get pots in the water, experiment with things, figure out what works/what doesn't, and most importantly have fun!

Attached is our pot from yesterday.  You can see how we have the rebar on the bottom, jar and bag.

 


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