Kids stuff: an essential guide to crabbing

Go crabbing in Cornwall [c] VisitCornwall

All you need is a bit of bacon and a fishing line. The crabs even like the attention. Read on for our guide to crabbing in Cornwall...

3 places to drop your line

There are some brilliant spots to dangle a crab line on the Cornish coast:

North coast: try Padstow and Port Issac
The harbours here provide plenty of crabbing opportunities.

South coast: try Looe or Fowey 
Looe has a fabuous millpond that offers a safe family-friendly place to spend an hour or two catching crabs The extensive harbour walls are usually home to legions of eager crabbers - take care.

West coast: Mullion Cove, The Lizard
A famous little  fishing port dramatically set amongst towering stacks of black rock where edible crab, lobster and crayfish are still landed, the cove has a thick walled harbour where you can happily dangle your line for hours.

How to do it

  • Find a suitable spot on the harbour wall. No need for a hook just tie on the bacon (crabs love the rind best), tinned sardines are a favourite or any old fish head you have lying about.
  • Drop your line in the water and wait. We said wait. The Shore Crab, the most common in Cornwall, needs a little coaxing. About 5 minutes should do it.
  • Raise your line, it should feel a little heavier, and observe. Clustered to your now half eaten bait, there should be a few happy crabs munching away.
  • If you want to keep your crabs in a bucket for a while to look at, make sure you only put a few in at a time. They don’t like crowds and can become quite tetchy.
  • Make sure you place your bucket in the shade, crabs are not accustomed bright sunlight and don’t carry factor 25.
  • After you’ve observed their quirky antics, carefully place them back into the water. They are not edible so please don’t try them on the barbeque, let them go back home.

Did you know?

The Shore Crab grows to about 3 inches and is an opportunist scavenger. Because of its tolerance to fresh water can be found high up in river estuaries. It usually feeds on molluscs but also loves any dead matter on the shore, that’s why bacon is a real treat! After mating, Shore Crabs produce nearly 200,000 eggs which the female carries on her legs until they hatch.

School holiday Idea: You can go crabbing most days during the summer hols at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall in Falmouth where they’ll will give you the line, bait and bucket. Weather permitting the half-hourly crabbing sessions take place between 10.30am-3.30pm and costs just a little extra on top of the admission fee, but book your spot as they go quick!