Using hand lines to catch Maryland blue crabs
Most common method for crabbing is on a dock but can be done on a boat or from land as well. It's probably the most active way to crab and great fun for the little ones as well. The technique consists of tying a weight and bait to the bottom of a line and dropping it to the bottom. Just wait for the crabs to come to it. You can use any kind of line from fishing line to waxed crab line. You can get creative with the weights as well using anything that will sink from that old tool box in the garage but many use traditional sinkers bought from the tackle store. If you want to get fancy, use a piece of wood like an old broom handle cut into sections to wind up your line when you are done for the day. Attach the line to the boat or the dock. If you are crabbing from a boat it is helpful to set anchor to keep the lines from tangling. You can even use this technique from shore if you want to get a little wet. Let the bait soak for several minutes than gently pull the line (VERY SLOW). You can tell if you have a crab eating your bait by the way the line feels. It will be heavier and you will feel movement. More active crabs will tend to carry your bait off making the line visibly tight. As you pull up the line, have a metal net ready to scoop up the crab. If possible try and scoop from behind the crab (They swim backwards). Measure the crab to see if its a keeper and place in a container without water. If you are crabbing from a dock you can pass time walking up and down looking them on the pilings. Many times they will hang out ready to be scooped!!! Chicken and fish are great baits for handlining. Crabbers in some states use a hook but this is unnecessary and tends to make a tangled mess!
Handlining -Blue Crab Tips
Handlining from shore
More Crabbing Information
- Intro to crabbing
- Where to crab in Ocean City Maryland
- What are the regulations for crabbing in Ocean City, Maryland?
- How to cook crabs Maryland style
- How to pick a Maryland blue crab
- How to crab in Ocean City, Maryland
- How to Handline for crabs in Ocean City Maryland
- How to run a trotline in Ocean City Maryland
- Using collapsible crab traps in Ocean City, Maryland
- -Using crab pots in Ocean City, Maryland