How to Build a Crab Pot Puller

How to Build a Crab Pot Puller

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Crab is a sweet seafood delicacy enjoyed in a variety of preparations, most famously pan-fried crab cakes. These prehistoric-looking creatures live in salty waters around the world, such as the Chesapeake and San Francisco Bays on the American coasts. Typically, fishermen trap the crustaceans using bait placed inside a net, also called a "pot." Crabbers pull the contraption back to the surface by winding a rope attached to the top of the pot. While commercial fishing operations make use of motorized devices, an amateur can build a hand crank to serve as a crab pot puller.

Items you will need

  • Flagpole stand

  • 2 90-degree galvanized pipe elbows

  • 10-foot-long threaded galvanized pipe

  • Pipe wrench

  • 18-inch-long threaded galvanized pipe

  • 1 threaded galvanized pipe tee

  • 3-foot-long threaded galvanized pipe

  • Drill

  • Handle

  • Rope pulley

  • 4-inch-long carriage bolt

  • Lock nut

Step 1

Attach a flagpole stand to the deck of your boat so a pipe can stand straight up when placed in it.

Step 2

Screw a 90-degree elbow onto a threaded end of a 10-foot galvanized pipe and tighten with a pipe wrench. The end of the pipe without the elbow should fit snugly in the flagpole base when construction of the crab pot puller is completed.

Step 3

Attach a 90-degree elbow, an 18-inch piece of galvanized pipe and a tee in succession. The tee openings must be parallel with the elbow at the top.

Step 4

Screw the 3-foot-long threaded galvanized pipe into each of the open elbow ends on the 18-inch and 10-foot pipes.

Step 5

Place the 10-foot pipe vertically in the flagpole stand.

Step 6

Drill a hole through the 10-foot pipe, about 5 feet up from the deck of the boat. The hole should be perpendicular to the direction of the 3-foot pipe extension and openings in the tee.

Step 7

Connect the handle and rope pulley to the pole using a 4-inch carriage bolt and lock nut. Loosely tighten the pulley so that it retains freedom of movement.

Step 8

Retrieve the crab pot line at the water's surface and feed it through the tee toward the long vertical pipe. Attach the rope to the pulley and begin turning the handle to reel in the pot.


  • To help keep your drill bit on track while creating your hole, strike the galvanized pipe with a hammer and pointed punch to create a small depression in the pipe.
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