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How to Set up a Trotline For Crabs

 

How to Set up a Trotline For Crabs

  • Braided Nylon (#4-#5) or Tarred Line
  • Chicken Necks
  • Two 3-4 foot Sections of Chain
  • Two 50 ft Sections of larger Rope
  • Two Anchors that will Drag
  • Two Brass Snap Swivels
  • Cooler or Large Bucket
  • Heavy Working Gloves
  • Wire Crab Net
  • Bushel Basket
  • Ruler
  • PVC Roller

Rigging:

Start by rigging your two ends together:

    • One side of the 50ft section is tied to the anchor
    • Measure 25ft to find the middle of the line, then thread your line through
      the large float twice to keep it at the middle
    • The other end of the line gets tied to the chain section
    • Use basket or 5 gal. bucket to store & separate the two, if possible

Baiting your Line:

    • The first step is to get your bait. Approximately 10lb of chicken necks
      (2-4 inch pieces) for a 1000ft line.
    • Either thaw it overnight or fill 5 gal bucket w/water an put in necks
    • Tie a brass snap swivel to the end of your main line.
    • Using a sliding loop know, rig your chicken necks every 5ft-7ft along the
      line.
    • As you tie the necks, the rigged part of the line should be put in the
      cooler. As the line starts to build up, you can gently press the rigged line
      down to pack in in the cooler to keep it from tangling.
    • Using any type of spool or coil method will tangle the line. Let it go
      naturally into the cooler.
    • At the end of the line, tie the last brass swivel to the end.
    • Itʼs much easier to do the night before you crab. You can put a bag of
      ice on top of the line and close the cooler. Youʼll be ready to go in the
      morning without your chicken necks rotting.

Setting Your Line:

    • Any river or creek off of the bay has potential for great crabbing.
    • Key is to find long stretches (as long as your line runs) in the 4-8 ft
      range

Laying the Line:

    • Start at a slow speed and let your anchor down, followed by line, float
      and chain in a straight line with some tension. When you get to the
      end of the chain, snap the brass swivel attached to your main line
    • The key to laying your main line is to keep tension on the line as you
      lay it, and to be driving on a straight line the whole time.
    • If you go off track and leave a bow in the line while you are laying it,
      you will end up with trouble. Itʼs worth taking the time to re-lay it.
    • At the end of the rigged line, snap the brass swivel to the last chain
      and lay the last anchor rig down with some tension.
    • If you need to tighten your line, you can hold an anchor at one end and
      drive till it pulls to our liking.

Catching Crabs:

      • Starting at one end of the line, pull the float over your PVC roller while
        running at reasonable speed. The rest of the line should roll over along
        with the chain.
      • Once you are past the chain you can slow down and begin crabbing!
      • The line should come up at a 30-45 degree angle. As the line necks
        come up, you can dip the crabs and put them in the bushel baskets.
      • If the line dips while running, you can assume thereʼs a crab on
      • When you get to the end of the line, dump it off the PVC roller. Now
        you can check your crabs and discard the “throw-backs”
      • Navigate back to where you started and repeat

Tips for Success:

      • Start early or late…crabs generally donʼt like high sun
      • Stay at least 100 ft from other crabbers…itʼs the law!
      • If youʼre not catching in the first few runs, move your line. It takes less
        time than you think and could save your day.
      • Run with the sun to avoid casting a shadow on the crabs coming up the
        line.

Good Luck! Youʼre welcome to call us with any questions: 410-757-3442

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