What Is Paddle Board Crabbing?

by Kyle
What Is Paddle Board Crabbing?

Wouldn’t it be great if you could go crabbing and paddleboard at the same time? Well you can! It is called Paddle Board Crabbing.

Paddle board crabbing is one of the fastest-growing hobbies, and if you’ve ever tried fishing before, you’ll love it even more. 

Get ready for an exciting summer by reading this in-depth insight, gearing up, and preparing yourself for paddleboard crabbing:

Paddle Board Crabbing Defined

Paddle Board Crabbing

Paddle board crabbing involves using a paddle board to catch crabs. Although it may seem difficult at first, once you get the hang of it, you will want to go paddle board crabbing every weekend.

Paddle board crabbing allows you to reach remote waters that cannot be easily accessed by boats. By doing so, you have a higher chance of catching more crustaceans.

Best Places For Paddle Board Crabbing

There is nothing more important than location. From the north to the south of America, you have many options. 

In Alaska you can catch King crabs, Snow crabs, and Tanner crabs. In the Gulf of Mexico you can trap small, but very tasty, stone crabs. On the east coast, you can catch blue crabs. For Dungeness crabs, go to the northwest Pacific Ocean coast. 

No matter where it is, crabs prefer to stay near the ocean bottom. As for hiding places, they like docks, piers, or even sandy and rocky sea bottoms. 

When Is The Best Time For Paddle Board Crabbing? 

When Is The Best Time for Paddle Board Crabbing? 

Seasons change, and so does the crabbing season. In the same way that you cover your body with a blanket in the winter, crabs do the same when they’re feeling cold. During extreme cold seasons, crabs love to burrow their abdomens into the ocean floor. 

From November through May, crabs are dormant, so you might not be able to go crabbing during these months.

If you do it in mid-summer or late spring, you will have better luck. 

As it gets warmer, crabs will emerge from their hiding places and become more active. June through October are the warmest months to catch these crustaceans, depending on your location. 

Additionally, tides are crucial. 

You should not start after the water has already moved in; go while the tide is still rising. While it is still possible to catch these crustaceans at any time of the day, ensure that the tide is still coming where you are to attract more crabs. 

Do You Need A License For Crabbing From A Paddle Board?

Don’t forget to get a license. Whether you can crab without a license depends on your state’s laws, so always check the laws before going paddle board crabbing. 

Even if you have scheduled to go to a superb location but don’t have a license, you may not be allowed to do so. Worse, you may have to pay some fines. 

By knowing whether you should have a license or not, you can avoid being penalized, and you can directly proceed to your destination without law enforcers stopping you. Below are some states and their required licenses:

  • Maryland: When using net rings or collapsible crab traps, you need a crabbing license.
  • Alabama: All you need is a saltwater fishing license.
  • California: When using your paddle board, you need a fishing license when crabbing. 
  • Georgia: You will have to carry a recreational fishing license.
  • Texas: An annual fishing license on all-water, freshwater, or saltwater is required.
  • Florida: A standard fishing license is enough.
  • Oregon: This state requires you to have a crabbing license.
  • Washington: Aside from having a state shellfish license, you will also need a state fishing license.
  • Alaska, Louisiana, North Carolina, and New Jersey: You do not need a paddle board crabbing permit. 

Paddle Board Crabbing Equipment

Paddle Board Crabbing Equipment

Get your gear ready before paddling board crabbing. The equipment required to catch crustaceans with your paddle board is minimal, but you will need some crabbing tools. So you can enjoy crabbing without having to worry about anything. 

Don’t forget to bring these essentials when you go crabbing:

Crab Gauge or Measurer

Crab sizes do matter. Different states have different crab sizes that they allow you to catch. You have to check the local state you intend to go to so that you will learn about the specifics. Then, bring a crab gauge or measurer to ensure that you only take home the allowed crab sizes. 


Do not get lost while on the water. Whether you are crabbing in a foreign or familiar place, it is still best to bring a paddle board GPS. 

It will help you navigate new routes or find your way back. Modern GPS can also record the location where you sink your crab traps so that you can quickly know where to recover them.

Fish Finder

Spot the crab’s hiding places in a snap with a fish finder. It will help you identify the sandy, flatbeds, or rocky spots where the crabs love to hide. 

Unless you want to go swimming and personally search for these areas, go ahead and do so. But if you want to make your life easier, a fish finder is your good friend. 

Floats or Buoys

No GPS? That is fine because floats and buoys also prove to be helpful when locating your sunken traps and cages. Before you release the traps, attach a float or buoy to it, and you can enjoy paddle boarding.

Yes, you can leave your traps and come back after a while. You will not lose sight of your traps as the floats or buoys are visible enough for you to spot, especially if their colors are bright orange and yellow.

Not only are they good for keeping you floating on the water, but your traps as well. 


Now, do not forget the crab’s staples. You have many bait choices, but ideally, seafood types like rockfish, sardines, and squid are the most common. Or you can use chicken or frozen bait to lure crabs into the traps. 

Crab Nets

Looking for more thrill? You can use nets instead of traps, especially if you are crabbing on clear, visible, and shallow waters. Crab nets are perfect for mastering your skills in timing, throwing, and catching these fast-crawling animals. 

Paddle Board Crab Trap

Be comfortable and let the traps do the catching. From baskets to rings, cages to boxes, these crab traps can help you meditate on your paddle board. You can then enjoy the peacefulness around you, take selfies with the sunset, or sip a cup of Joe if you brought one while waiting for the crabs to enter your traps. 

Paddle Board Crabbing Tips

Now pack and sail. After gearing up, it is time to go paddle board crabbing. But are you ready? 

If not, then read along with the following tips that could help you catch crabs easily and more confidently: 

Choose the Best Paddle Boards for Crabbing

Of course, your main equipment—the paddle board, should be the best. You can choose from either hardboard or inflatable paddle board, and both would work. 

However, you should avoid a displacement board with a raised deck as they are not meant for crabbing purposes. Choosing a flat decked surf or ‘all-arounder’ style board may be a better option. 

For the size, 28″ width helps with stability while 12’6″ to 14′ gives more deck space; a longer board also lets you travel faster if the current or wind picks up. 

Attach Your Leash

Avoid attaching the leash to your ankle. Instead, attach it to your PFD waist straps to avoid the leash from getting caught in the line. 

Secure the Pot

Chances are, your pot can slide off when you are paddling in and out. To prevent such, you can secure the pot to a D-ring using a large carabiner. 

Launch in Waves and/or Surf

It is not that bad to ask for some help. If possible, ask someone to help you haul the paddle board or crab pot from the surf zone. By doing so, you can avoid large sets of waves that may prevent you from hauling. 

Prevent Pot from Drifting

Do not chase your pots. Strong winds may blow away your pot, so you may want to use a heavy pot that has a rebar welded in it. Or you can improvise by putting some weight on the pot.

Cross Out Paddle Board Crabbing On Your Summer Bucket List

Make your summer fun and memorable by paddle board crabbing. You now have the vital information you will need when catching crustaceans on a paddle board. This guide is always available for you to read, from what paddle board crabbing is to when and where to catch crustaceans. 

You can even use this guide to double-check that you have packed all the gears, and the tips will help you avoid committing simple mistakes. That way, you can fully enjoy your crabbing experience. 

If you have more queries about paddle boarding, shoot us a message, and we will respond as quickly as possible. Or you may leave your crabbing experience below so that others can learn from you, too. 

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