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Thread: Green Crab Traps

  1. #1

    Green Crab Traps

    There are so many ways of constructing green crab traps that it can boggle one's mind. This is a very simple one that can be made quickly and works fairly well. It is certainly not the best one I have ever used, but it is easy to put together and for the little time and effort you will spend in putting it together, it will repay for itself many times over. Nothing is critical about its size as dimensions can be changed to suit your needs. Any of the traps I have built are what I consider to be non-conforming, i.e. they will catch like crazy, but I do not have any idea if they would conform to any state law requirements or even if your state has any requirements for green crab traps.

    Think of an over sized shoe box. This is the basic shape for one of the most simplest traps to build. The best material to use is vinyl coated wire mesh of marine quality. However, just about any material you have laying around will work, only the longevity of trap will be compromised. If you do not have a metal bending brake, clamping the mesh between two boards and the gentle use of a rubber mallet works good enough. While you can put the wire mesh together with bailing wire, by far the best tool for the purpose is hog ring pliers. They can be purchased for around $10 see Hog Ring Plier Straight 3703 | eBay
    Use stainless hog rings of the appropriate size which should be purchased by the pound or in bulk rather than say five hog rings to the bag. Many local fishing supply stores carry them and if you end up paying more than 2 cents per ring, you are paying too much. Now for the trap itself:







    This is a very simple ramp trap. It has the advantage of a wide opening which cannot be blocked by an over sized crab or a small conch as can happen with using an eel trap for catching green crabs. Several crabs can file in simultaneously. The only minor disadvantage is it has to be dropped down as shown. If dropped down on its side it will still work but you would no longer have gravity working for you. The opening between the top and bottom ramp is not critical but something around 1.5 inches more or less depending on the size of the crabs you are targeting. Usually I try to have the opening being favored nearer the top only because it can hold more crabs that way for a given size trap. If you should place this trap near an exposed shoreline, it can walk away on you with tidal or wave action. Rather than having a weigh inside of the trap I always preferred to tie a float line to a brick and then the trap to the brick. You could could add a second trap to the same brick as well. The bigger the trap, the more crabs it can hold. If you have some used zincs that you are going to toss away, drill a small hole in them and use bailing wire to attach them to your trap. This will add years to the life of your trap. I always have had the entire end of the trap open, hence the entire back of the trap becomes the door. Be sure to leave about an inch overlap for the door on three sides (not the hinge side) since this is not a precision job. If you make a very large trap then perhaps you should give some consideration to reducing the size of the door. For example, if your trap ends up being 18 inches wide by 12 inches high, and you are trying to dump your catch into a five gallon pail, well you get the picture. By making the door exit smaller, you will not have to chase spilled green crabs running all over your deck. While most use the hog rings for hinges, a better approach is to use scrap bungee cord for hinges. Simply make a single turn of bungee cord where you wish the hinge to be and then close the bungee cord with a hog ring. I do not like to use hog rings for hinges since after extended use the stainless rings will cause excessive wear on the wire mesh. When I get some time I will edit this post and add a picture of the correct way on how make a metal clip for the door's bungee cord. I have never seen this done correctly which is somewhat surprising since it is so simple to do properly.
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    "Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go" by William Feather

  2. #2
    NBS Angling Addict stripey's Avatar
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    Awesome! I currently keep all mine in a bucket with some fish racks tied off a freinds slip down in Guilford. I almost always fish out of Barn Island launch, and I know there are tons of crabs because there is a guy with old beat to hell red and white boat that offloads a dozen or so big white bags every time I'm up there, so perhaps I will just leave a trap in the area so I always have a supply.

    Guy with red/white boat if you are on this forum, no offense to you or your boat, I juts figure Scup may know him and that is the best way I know to describe the vessel, obviously you and it get the job done, so again, no offense!
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  3. #3
    The biggest problem I have had with green crab traps is others have been helping themselves. First I find the door left open, then there are only a handful of crabs in a trap that should have been full. Finally I resorted to an old lobster man's trick and after I closed the door I tied a small piece sewing thread about halfway up the door. Sure enough, the thread was broken the very next time I checked it. Once I realized what was happening I simply keep moving my traps about and use a very small float. On my better traps I tie a small float with a short scope such that it only shows at low tide, or do not use a float/marker at all. I do not place my traps where an unsuspecting boater would run them down. Take a look at the drop down trap that Swamper posted pictures of in the post of "togs caught on opening day". That appears to be homemade but it is a very popular design and can be purchased from: blue-crab-trap for $37.00 plus postage. I own one and it works very well, and is well made, but its physical size limits the amount of crabs it can hold at any given time. Since they are so cheap in price, I would question if it would be advisable for anyone to bother making one up from scratch. The size of the trap can be offset by the purchasing two traps. If you wish to duplicate the design, Ketcham will sell you the plastic drop down chute separately. Their holding car is very generous in size and should be suitable for anyone including commercial use.
    "Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go" by William Feather

  4. #4
    swamper's Avatar
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    I checked my traps this morning only to find about 1/3 of what was in them the other day. Was thinking that maybe some pilfering is going on. I need to get a keeper car and tie it shut with a thieves knot to see if my suspicions are correct. Hell, even a cheap brass lock might survive seawater submersion for a month or so. Of course, the chances of the whole car getting ripped off increases ten fold with the lock idea.

    Anyhow, the 6 to 9 foot forecasted wave heights for tomorrow are likely to keep me at the dock. I'll be curious to find out how many guys limit out in such foul weather tomorrow. I think a lot of Tautog will be freed from their keeper cages only to meet their demise when the opening bell rings.
    THERE'S NO SUBSTITUTE FOR EXPERIENCE.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by swamper View Post
    I checked my traps this morning only to find about 1/3 of what was in them the other day. Was thinking that maybe some pilfering is going on. I need to get a keeper car and tie it shut with a thieves knot to see if my suspicions are correct. Hell, even a cheap brass lock might survive seawater submersion for a month or so. Of course, the chances of the whole car getting ripped off increases ten fold with the lock idea.
    Larry, I do not know how much water is under your ride at low tide, but if you have two feet or more, why not just tie a short floating line to the keeper car, fore and aft, such that you could reach down and snag it with a boat hook even at high tide. Dump the car right under your ride with no lines showing. If the pilfers do not know where it is, it would be unlikely any crabs would be stolen or for the matter the car itself. Once they know where you are keeping green crabs, then they will keep on helping themselves. Look at the current Wall Street crowd, this country is actually training our youth that it is fine not to work for what you want, just take it from those who have it (comes under the tittle of sharing our wealth).
    "Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go" by William Feather

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by stripey View Post
    Awesome! I currently keep all mine in a bucket with some fish racks tied off a freinds slip down in Guilford. I almost always fish out of Barn Island launch, and I know there are tons of crabs because there is a guy with old beat to hell red and white boat that offloads a dozen or so big white bags every time I'm up there, so perhaps I will just leave a trap in the area so I always have a supply.

    Guy with red/white boat if you are on this forum, no offense to you or your boat, I juts figure Scup may know him and that is the best way I know to describe the vessel, obviously you and it get the job done, so again, no offense!
    I might know him as I do business with independent bait dealers, but I do not have a clue as to what their ride looks like. I would think that Barn Island would be a great location for many species of crabs including green crabs and hermits. My guess would be your biggest problem might be theft. If they find your crabs or trapping gear it could ruin what could have been a great trip. All you can do is put the crab trap where it would be unlikely for anyone to find it. Weight the hell out of it so it will not walk if the weather kicks up and use a small float with little scope. If you are good enough to find it without a float, that is even better. I never heard of any guy using big white bags for green crabs; my guess he is a conch guy and those bags hold around 60 pounds each. The conch fishery had been red hot, and it does not take much of ride to do the job. The price has been driven up by the Asian market and holding at around $2 per pound. That guy must be a very happy camper although most experienced conch people can and do land that much in a day. I was thinking of doing it myself, but it is awfully hard work and a lot of gear is needed for start up. I expect with so many doing it, the conch biomass will likely stop to drop, and then CTDEP will get into the act. The bait dealers I know usually supply charter boats with green crabs and they are sold by the bushel.
    Last edited by Scup; 10-14-2011 at 09:43 PM.
    "Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go" by William Feather

  7. #7
    Senior NBS Member raindropfx's Avatar
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    Scup do you know if Wilcox sells marine grade vinyl wire mesh? I haven't had any luck finding it. Last year. . .. . before I had my skiff. . .. I was just dropping my pots off of the dock. Well. . . .after my good pots got stolen I bought some real cheesy wire mesh from Home Cheapo. A ten dollar roll made three traps. I held everything together with tie wraps (compliments of work). They caught pretty good and I wasn't too mad when one disappered. My buddy is still using the one I gave him. . . ..... I'd really like to try out something similar to your design and would like to use better material.



    . . .. here's a pic of my 'crap trap'

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  8. #8
    swamper's Avatar
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    5 feet of yellow poly tied to the ends of a 3 foot car. Brilliant. I'll throw it over the outboard side of my ride. I'm on the end with plenty of water, so one would have to board the boat to get at the booty. That alone really ups the security as I doubt many go aboard a boat to steal some bait.

    Nice looking work, raindropfx. It's a shame to know it's short lifespan.
    Don't know what you're looking to spend, but here's a couple links to what you're looking for:
    Wire (Vinyl Coated)

    Ketcham also sells odd lots at discounted pricing:
    Vinyl-Clad Galvanized Wire Mesh

    Last edited by swamper; 10-14-2011 at 07:55 PM.
    THERE'S NO SUBSTITUTE FOR EXPERIENCE.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by raindropfx View Post
    Scup do you know if Wilcox sells marine grade vinyl wire mesh? I haven't had any luck finding it. Last year. . .. . before I had my skiff. . .. I was just dropping my pots off of the dock. Well. . . .after my good pots got stolen I bought some real cheesy wire mesh from Home Cheapo. A ten dollar roll made three traps. I held everything together with tie wraps (compliments of work). They caught pretty good and I wasn't too mad when one disappered. My buddy is still using the one I gave him. . . ..... I'd really like to try out something similar to your design and would like to use better material.



    . . .. here's a pic of my 'crap trap'

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Wow, you really do nice work! If you are trying to catch eels, your trap is excellent. If you are after green crabs it will take them too. However, if all you are after are green crabs, you do not have to add the long cylinder entrance, as long as you have it baited they are going to be programmed to try and get in rather than trying to get out. The entrance funnel is fine as is. Once, whatever you baited it with is gone, only then will they think about going elsewhere for a meal. Wilcox sells just about everything you will need including several different sizes of stainless hog rings and he sells them by the pound. As to where you should go to buy wire mesh, the closest place is right in "Swampers" backyard. Go to the following site:industrial marine marketing loc: Wakefield, RI - Google Maps. I will defy any fisherman to walk around this place and not feel like a kid in a candy store. The best buy there is his used large white buckets with covers that he keeps out back. Have no idea of what originally came in them, but they are handiest, cheapest, and longest lasting buckets I have ever seen. They come in two different sizes. I would guess they run between 18 to 28 gallons. The trouble with wire mesh is their shipping costs. The sites Swamper gave are good, but clad wire mesh is expensive and if you add shipping cost for a roll it can get out of hand real fast dollar wise. I did make a trip up to Ketcham Trap Co. but it is quite a drive. Ketcham is an interesting place for commercial fishermen to visit as well. Probably lobster pot construction is their main gig, but if it has anything to do with quality wire mesh work they can do it. When I needed traps/pots in the past, I used to order what I needed and gave them a long lead time for delivery. They are famous for their products and fishermen up and down the coast would purchase from them. I used to rendezvous with their truck at Mystic Aquarium parking lot when it flew by I95 heading south with a load of pots. Unfortunately, they no longer get involved with complicated deliveries. However, if you are a one off pot builder, it might be worth your while to visit them but I would call first. They had piles of wire mesh seconds at greatly reduced prices and in many cases in small quantities when I visited them. When I say seconds, I had to ask them what was wrong with the particular product I was purchasing. They pointed out that a single row of meshes was slightly skewed. I looked at it and commented "so what". They laughed and stated it would not matter to a one off pot maker, but with all of their automatic fabrication equipment it would be like throwing a monkey wrench into the works. It is like stepping into another world when you are standing in the middle of their production facility, seeing and hearing their operators using wire forming equipment in full swing. Anyone thinking that America does not have the greatest workers in the world would quickly change their minds after visiting Ketcham. Too bad the media does not make a flick contrasting the current Wall Street crowd against Ketcham's production facility in full operation. What is scary to me is China is taking over the worlds clad wire production. I hope I never read that we forced Ketcham out of here, it is a great manufacturing outfit. If anyone is planning a visit just to go up there and back, post it, as while a roll of wire mesh would be way too much for any single recreational person, several fishermen might be willing to chip in for a roll of clad wire mesh.
    "Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go" by William Feather

  10. #10
    swamper's Avatar
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    Ha! The kid in a candy store comparison cannot be overstated.

    Roger is a real Mainer who makes the run back "home" at least once a week to pick up supplies. Thanks for pointing out what was overlooked right under my nose. He's got it all in stock, and if not stocked, he'll get it fast. Anything and everything fishing supply related.

    I always leave his place wishing. Wishing I had a bottomless bank account.
    THERE'S NO SUBSTITUTE FOR EXPERIENCE.

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