The blue crab or the Atlantic crab is one of the most common sources of fresh crab meat in Europe and North America. Catching crabs is a beneficial hobby and can be made even more productive by building and setting traps. You can easily make your own blue crab traps with a few specialized materials. Make sure you get the exact materials listed or the proportions of the instructions will be inaccurate. You can find these things at fishing or building supply shops.
Cut two lengths of crabpot wire that are 20 mesh long and one length that is 11 mesh long with wire cutters. Mesh is the number of loops in row, so 20 mesh is 20 loops long.
Bend the ends of a 20 mesh sheet of wire up so they are at a 90-degree angle with the middle of the wire. The bends should be made 6 mesh in from either end and form a square "U" shape; this should be done to both 20 mesh sheets.
Fold the 11 mesh wire in half into a "V" shape. You need to make a 1 mesh spine on the fold, so that there is 1 mesh down the middle and 5 mesh down both folded sides.
Snip open two openings on the spine of the "V" shape. The openings should both start 1 mesh from the finished edges and should have 8 mesh between them.
Cut four small pieces of wire that are 2 mesh long and cut each into a trapezoid. The upper row should be 10 mesh wide and the lower row should be 12 mesh wide.
Wrap the trapezoid pieces so each piece’s edge meet and form four separate cone shapes. Twist the end wire together to make the shape stay put. These are the four funnel entrances.
Cut a piece of eelpot wire into a 12 by 12 mesh rectangle and roll it into a tube shape.
Secure the tube at the edges with crabpot staple. You can tighten the staples using pliers until they hold the wire tightly.
Compress one open end of the tube until it is flat. Fix this end closed with the crabpot staples, leaving only one end open. This is the bait box.
Place the "V" piece inside the "U" shape. The spine of the "V" should be facing up and the edges should be positioned 2 mesh up from the bottom of the vertical "U" walls.
Twist the end wires of the "V" and the "U" shapes together to attach them. The trap should look like a little house with extended vertical sides.
Remove a full mesh from the very middle of the floor of the trap with the wire cutters.
Fit the open end of the bait box into the hole in the bottom of the trap and secure them together with crabpot staples. The bait box should be inside the trap, under the "V" roof.
Cut an opening on the lower edge of each side of the trap. The opening should be able to accommodate the larger opening of the funnel entrances.
Turn the other bent 20 mesh sheet so it is an upside down "U" and place it on the trap to form a closed box shape.
Twist all of the wires together along the edges except for one edge along the top of the box. This is the opening of the box to get the crabs out.
Attach a length of 11-gauge smooth wire to both edges along the open side of the trap. Use the crabpot staples to attach the wire and make the edges smooth.
Snip one mesh of wire in any two upper corners of the trap. Don’t cut the wire away; just snip them open.
Bend the snipped wires back and place a cull ring around the bent wires. Fold the wires so the rings are held tight against the trap. These rings will let smaller fish out of the trap.
Tie a length of bungee cord to the inner side of the trap opening. Use crabpot staples to attach the cord to the edge on the horizontal side of the trap, not the vertical one.
Tie the loose end of the cord to a clip and use the clip to hold the trap closed.
Items you will need
- Crabpot wire, 1 ½ inch mesh spacing
- Wire cutters
- Eelpot wire, 1 by ½ inch mesh size
- Crabpot staples
- 11-gauge wire
- Bungee cord
- You can attach a zinc anode to the trap if you are using galvanized wire to reduce corrosion.
- Check all of the your local fishing laws and the requirements for crab traps to avoid making an illegal trap.
- lobster traps image by Christopher Dodge from Fotolia.com