When’s the Best Time to Go Crabbing?

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If you are looking to go crabbing, you should plan your trip carefully. There are a number of different factors that will determine the best time to go crabbing, and understanding them before your trip is essential.

For example, if you’re going during the winter months (December through February), then it’s important to know that crabs hibernate in cold water and could be difficult to find. 

On the other hand, if you’re going during the summer or fall months (April through October), then those are prime times for catching crabs because they move more freely in warmer waters but regulations may be in place preventing you from catching them.

This article will help explain when is the best time to go crabbing based on these factors as well as others like moon phases!

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What’s the Best Time of Day to Go Crabbing?

The best time to go crabbing is when the slack water (otherwise known as slack tide) is present, this is the period around the high or low tide. During this time the crabs will not be pushed around by heavy waters or currents and will often be found out foraging on the beach. 

Just because this is the ideal time of day to go crabbing, it doesn’t mean you can’t crabs during other times of the day. Additionally, your location will also impact when the ideal time of day to go crab is.

Onshore Crabbing

When trying to catch crabs from onshore, either off a dock or beach you will want to wait for high slack. This is the optimal time to catch crabs as the waters will generally be the calmest. 

Ocean Crabbing

Time of day is less important when crabbing on the ocean as you don’t need to concern yourself with depths as much. When catching crabs on the ocean the state of the sea, and where you located will typically be much more important. 

Looking to learn more on this topic? Check out this article: Do you crab during high or low tide?

So what affects the number of crabs?  The number and size of crabs that you will find at any given time is largely dependent on what level of the tide is currently occurring, as well as a number of factors that may be out of your control. 

During the high tidal (i.e. Halfway between high and low tide) it can be difficult to catch crabs as they will often be taken away by the waters across the tidal flats. The small tide is less impactful to your crabbing efforts. 

In general slack tide / high slack is ideal, but incoming can also work for catching crab just don’t expect as much!

High slack is typically when you will see crabs out feeding making it likely your best time to increase your chances of catching crab because they are typically out feeding at this point in the cycle of tide. 

Crabbing in the ocean and after it’s rained is a different story altogether. After heavy rainfall, you will typically see crabs move to specific areas. When crabbing in the ocean it’s much more about the state of the sea and the location of your boat. 

If the waters are calm, your boat and traps can rest allowing the chance for more crabs to crawl in. During heavier waters and swells, traps that have not been weighted or properly secured can often shift.

When is the best time of year to go crabbing?

Fall is the best time of year to catch crab. During the months of September to November, crabs begin to “fill out” and will contain more meat.


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Ryan W

Ryan is the owner of Fisherman First and manages the team of expert writers on the site. He's fished his entire life and has been to locations across North America to catch a range of fish and crustacean from crabs and prawns to minnow and trout.