When it comes to live-bait fishing, most anglers think about mud minnows, shrimp, or mullet minnows. Few resort to using crabs, but they can often be the ‘go-to’ baits for fishermen looking to cash in on a limit of redfish.
The crabs of choice are the fiddler or blue crab; these are readily available and can be either caught or purchased at bait shops.
If you catch your own, a small crab pot can be used, but most fishermen will simply tie fish heads to a line and flip it into the shallows. By retrieving it slowly, crabs will find the fish head and hang on, feeding until it’s close enough to the surface to be scooped up in a long-handled dip net and tossed into a bucket. Crabs are very hearty and will live a long time in kept damp and cool.
To use a crab for bait, start by removing the legs and finish by popping off the top shell. This is rather easy with a little twist and lift. Once the top shell is removed, you have the nice, firm crab meat inside. Depending on the size of the crab, you can either use the whole crab or cut it in half.
Using a 4/0 or 5/0 circle hook, thread the hook through the rear leg sockets and out the front leg socket. Now you have a strong and tasty bait for redfish that is a preferred food for these tough fighters.