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Few seafoods taste better than freshly caught blue crab, whether as a main course or as part of a summer seafood platter. And for around $10, you can make a heavy-duty, blue crab trap that will keep you supplied with this Gulf coast delicacy. This compact trap design works on the same principle as the commercial-style crab traps, but is less expensive and easier to transport.
Check with your state regulations. In Florida, for example, traps must have three 2-3/8" escape rings, and a degradable portion such as a loop of jute twine on the tie-down strap. Recreational crab trap buoys must be marked with a two-inch "R" and the fisherman's name and address. There is a 10 gal. bag limit on blue crabs. No egg bearing females may be kept.
Materials needed: 2' X 12' vinyl-coated crab trap wire (usually uner $1.00/ft at hardware or tackle shops near commercial fishing settlements); a few feet of heavy gauge electrical wire (for escape rings, etc.); yard stick; buoy; poly rope & net lead (or other weight tied 5' below buoy); electrician's tape; strip of inner tube; jute twine; and galvanized wire hook. Tools are wire cutters, pliers, and pocket knife.
In constructing your crab trap, cut the mesh lengths in the middle of the twisted wires. (Measurements allow for 3/4" points.) To join pointed edges, put points of one edge into meshes of other edge. Twist the opposing points together, end over end, one 360° turn. Finish the turn with both points inward. Here are the step-by-step instructions for building a crab trap:
(1) Get your supplies together. (For buoy, a white bleach jug will work. Cut rope through wrapping of electrician's tape.)
(2) Cut two lengths, 6' 1-1/2" and 14". On board edge, bend wire into 1' X 2' box-shape, & wire together. Attach slanted center wall.
(3) Shape an 11" X 14" piece into a bait holder & attach as shown. (Save scrap.) In center wall, cut and shape two entry slits to back.
(4) Attach 13" end walls, except top back edge. (Bend points to blunt. To make entry holes in two sides, cut 5 wires each, 4" up.
(5) Make two entry throats that taper from 7 to 5 meshes. Leave prongs on sides, & twist together. Wire into entry holes. Pull wide.
(6) Make hole in bottom for bait holder, & a door w/ wire-loop hinges. Add tie-down strap, escape rings, and buoy.
Crab Trap Instructions - PDF
How to Build a Pinfish Trap
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