Crabs For the Crabber
Would you like to learn how to make around two hundred dollars a day for
going out in the boat and crabbing for a few hours? Once you gain the
experience of a commercial crabber, you can earn as much as you want. All it
takes is a little time and effort to learn the basic steps, and, of course, the
love of the water. For the last two years, I have kept the books for my
boyfriend’s crabbing business. I helped him from the beginning when we
purchased the traps to today, when he is now running 150 traps.
On the boat, you should always have as many life jackets as people.
Flares and a marine radio should also be on the boat in case of an emergency.
For instance, if you are five miles out over the ocean and the boat runs out of
gas, you could light a flare and reach some help on the marine radio. You
should also keep an oar on the boat at all times. This would come in handy if
your boat is stuck in mud, or if the boat breaks down in the small creeks near
your dock. I also recommend that you have crabbing gloves and rubber overalls
from Boater’s World. The gloves have special rubber tips that help reduce the
pain if a crab pinches you. The overalls will protect your clothes from getting
drenched and muddy. The last thing that you should never leave the dock without
is plenty of liquids to drink. I recommend Gatorade or water, but no soft
drinks. It is very hot on the boat and fluids are a necessity so that you do no
Before you can start crabbing, you need certain materials. The most
important is a commercial license to sell crabs. A license can be purchased
from the Game Warden in Richmond Hill. You must go early in the year because
they only sell a limited number. Once you have a license and your personal
number for your traps, you need a large flat bottom boat with a powerful motor.
I recommend a Yamaha Salt Water Series. This motor is very reliable and can
handle the long hours put on it. You should also buy a wench and have it bolted
to the side of the boat. The wench is not necessary, but is will save a lot of
time and effort to pull up all of the traps. A dolly should be kept on the dock
to take the boxes of crabs to the truck. You will also need at least fifty
crab traps to get started. These can be purchased at any boating store for
around twenty dollars apiece. When you have all of your traps, you will need
around 2500 feet of rope and fifty floats. After you have all of these
materials, you will need bait fish and premium gasoline on a daily basis. The
bait fish can be purchased anywhere that sells market seafood.
The traps will have to be rigged up before they can be dropped. You
should tie about fifty feet of rope on each trap. The floats will need your
crabbing number engraved with a sauter iron so that no one will mistake them as
their traps. The floats need to be tied on the end of the rope that is not tied
to the trap. This will allow the float to stay on top of the water when the
trap is on the bottom of the creek. Each trap needs to be baited with at least
four small fish. When you have all of your traps ready, it is time to find
places to put them.
Small creeks contain the most crabs in the months of April through
November. You must make sure that there are no other traps in the creeks that
you select. Spread the traps out about seventy-five yards apart. Find creeks
that are not used often, so that the public will not rob a few of your traps
for their dinner. After you feel that all of your traps are in good places you
can retire for the day.
The next day, you should get an early start. Make sure that you have
plenty of gasoline, boxes to put the crabs in, your overalls, and gloves. I
would also recommend that you bring bait to put in the traps while you have them
out of the water. When you get to your first trap, put it on the wench and let
it pull it up. Don’t get discouraged if there are not a lot of crabs. Dump the
crabs in a box, put fresh bait in the trap, and throw the trap back out. Go
through the crabs in the box and throw back any that are smaller than five
inches. It is illegal to sell any that are this small. You should also take
out any female crabs. If they are not pregant, which are commonly known as
virgin crabs, throw them back because they are illegal to keep. If some of the
females are pregnant, you should put them in a separate box because they are
considered “trash crabs” because they weigh more because than the males. In
other words, the female crabs are not worth as much as the males.
You should check the rest of your traps just as the first one. When you
finish, go back to the dock and prepare to unload. You will most likely need
help because each if each box is full, it will weigh anywhere from eighty to one
hundred pounds. Load them up on the dolly and roll them to your truck. Unload
the boxes and make sure that they cannot dump over; you don’t want crabs running
all over the back of your truck.
Now, you have a limited amount of time to find a place to sell your
crabs. Smaller seafood markets downtown pay more than others. One, for
instance, is Watson’s seafood. They pay eighty cents a pound for large male
crabs. A large seafood market is Wilmington Island Seafood. They only pay sixty
five cents a pound for the large males. You should find a market that you feel
comfortable doing business with and that is very reliable. Talk to the owner to
find out what they are willing to pay and how many they will need on a daily
basis. Sell your crabs and buy bait for the next day.
Crabbing will pick up in the months of July and August. These are the
best times because male crabs are in the creeks hiding from the females that are
ready to find a mate. When it starts getting colder, you should move your traps
from the creeks to rivers that flow directly from the ocean. This is because
the crabs move to deeper areas where it is warmer.
You should have a very productive season if you follow all of these
guidelines. The amount of crabs will fluctuate from day to day, but you should
be making an average of about $150 a day. If you have a bad week, don’t worry
about it. Chances are you will make twice the money the next week. Be careful
and good luck!