Regulations for Crab Traps

Discussion in 'Saltwater Fishing Forum' started by samba123, Dec 29, 2019.

  1. Newf

    Newf Well-Known Member

    Yeah, pushing not the right word for sure. I shouldn’t post late at night after a couple of nightcaps. I’ve pulled a few traps after a 3-4 hour soak and bait was gone except for a few bones but not a single crab. Always thought the little bast*#*ds figured out how to “pull, lift or swing the door open.” Maybe the door was open or the culprits were the two legged kind.
  2. spring time

    spring time Well-Known Member

    I found that if bait is gone and no crab it’s sea lice or small little bugs that wash off when lifting traps
    Aces likes this.
  3. Saratoga

    Saratoga Active Member

    From my experiences, when a trap is pulled up empty and the bait is gone, it’s often an indication of many smaller crabs feeding on the bait and getting out through the sides of the trap. A crab that is around 5” or less in diameter can fit through almost anywhere on the trap - I’ve seen them easily crawl out from traps on deck. I have a crab trap with a small mesh (size of a prawn trap) that I experimented with along with my regular crab traps. When retrieved several hours later, the small mesh trap is busting at the seams with crabs of every size ... consistently 30-40 crabs in the trap of which very few are keepers ... safely released of course. And the bait is completely gone. The other regular traps typically have <10 crabs in them but they are all larger (usually >5.5” in diameter). Over the last year or so, I now zap strap my traps closed as a way of verifying whether they have been “pilfered”. The assumption is that anyone who steals crabs from the trap is likely not going to put another zap strap on when they throw it back in the water - so at least it will verify someone took the crabs. So far, my zap straps have been untouched. I have pulled up my traps on several occasions now to find the bait gone but the zap straps still securely fastened. So I know now, in these cases, the trap was inundated with undersize crabs that consumed the bait.
  4. Newf

    Newf Well-Known Member

    I read through the regs this morning and it said that on rigid frame traps with an hinged lid, the lid must be secured with a loop of the same rot line material. Also it must not be secured in any way to prevent it from opening when the rot line is gone. Wouldn’t zap strapping the lids be illegal. My traps came with a bungee style strap so this would be illegal as well. Am I reading the regs correctly or is this an old requirement?
    Saratoga likes this.
  5. Saratoga

    Saratoga Active Member

    It’s a fair point. The other area of the rot cord is still there obviously. My main purpose was to verify the traps were not being pilfered and that it really was simply a case of small crabs moving in and out of the traps. There’s always a ton of speculation that traps and crabs are being taken by others & I have been frustrated pulling up empty traps with the bait gone. So I wanted to remove the speculation. No real need to continue doing this now that I am confident what is happening. Just thought it would be a useful data point for the forum. My opinion now is that, in the vast majority of cases, crabs are not being removed from traps that come up empty ... smaller crabs are feasting on the bait and then leaving the trap.
  6. Newf

    Newf Well-Known Member

    Saratoga,,hope you don’t think I was calling you out on my post. It’s just that I was not aware of this and had heard from many others who said that they zap strap their lids for the same reason. I just wanted to make sure that this is indeed the requirement as I’m sure not many of us are doing that .
  7. Saratoga

    Saratoga Active Member

    No not at all. You made a valid point and I believe you are correct. I think you can legally use a zap strap by creating a loop below the hinged lid using the rot cord. Then zap strap the lid to the looped rot cord. That way the lid will be free when the cord is gone and you can still get validation of whether a person has taken crab from your trap or not. Good luck out there! :)
    Newf likes this.
  8. Fishboy89

    Fishboy89 Member

    I put an underwater camera down on my traps and noticed two things - how fast they come in if you are on them, and how easy it is for them to escape. It looked like one was holding open the door for the others to escape haha (I have the cheap coated wire box traps, they work fine.)

    Solution: I put elastics on the doors so they need to push a bit to get in, but the door is hard to open from the inside and will not open in strong tides. The most important thing in my opinion is to ALWAYS have bait in the trap, they will keep picking at it for hours. Mesh bag with salmon heads and part is by far the best bait. I will pull my traps when I think the bait has been worked over - i..e 4-6 hours or so.
    eroyd and Corey_lax like this.
  9. Fish Camp

    Fish Camp Well-Known Member

    rot cord is butcher twine .as for wieghted doors ,i'm for it,as many get away .2 hr fish then check (the big one comes first ,longer legs).mulipule arms on a trap may spear the crab ,and don't twist the inner tines to fork them up to your bucket anywhere.

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