Kids stuff: an essential guide to crabbing

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

The extensive quaysides, especially at East Looe are usually home to legions of eager crabbers, but take care, it can be a long drop into the water. Looe's millpool at West Looe offers a safe family-friendly place to spend an hour or two catching crabs in shallow water.

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. Don't use a hook, choose a line with a small net and a weight attached. Bacon or any fish off-cuts are ideal as bait.

  • Drop your line in the water and 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 will start fighting if there are too many.

  • Make sure you place your bucket in the shade, crabs are not accustomed to 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 let them go back home.

  • When you have finished, please take everything away with you. Do not let any plastic bags etc fall into the water.

Did you know?

The Shore Crab grows to about 3 inches and is an opportunist scavenger. Because of their tolerance to fresh water, they 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.

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