The Joules Guide to Crabbing

Ahoy there! Who’s visiting the seaside this summer? What better way to entertain children and adults alike on a summer’s day at the seaside? As seasoned crabbers, here are our top tips on how to catch and care for little nippers.


What you’ll need

  • A large bucket
  • A net
  • Bait (whelks, sardines or small bits of bacon will do the job)
  • A crab line
  • A sprinkle of patience

Step one

Take your bucket and lower it into the water to fill it and make a safe space to put the crabs. Place the bucket out of direct sunlight – crabs aren’t sun worshippers! Add some rocks and seaweed to imitate the crabs’ natural environment and reduce their stress levels. It’s a good idea to change the water every few minutes too so that the crabs don’t suffocate.

Step two

Carefully tie/attach your bait of choice to your crab line. No need for a hooked line as these aren’t wildlife friendly. If you’re wondering whether you’ll need a double net (one with a net to place your bait in, plus a surrounding net to catch the crabs) – trust us, you will. Particularly if you have impatient little ones in tow who want quick catches!

Step three

Crabs can be a bit shy but wait for them to take the bait – literally. It can take up to five minutes but once you can feel a tug on the end, pull the line out from the water slowly and carefully. The trick is to not let the crab realise they’re being lifted, otherwise you’ll find they’ve jumped off the line and pinched the bait.

Step four

Gently lower the crabs into the bucket, being careful not to fill it with too many at the same time. Crabs don’t like being cramped so fewer than ten crabs in the bucket at any one time is a good rule to stick to. Encourage little ones to observe the crabs and jot down any differences between the different crabs they catch.

Step five

Shore crabs aren’t edible so, as tempting as it might be, don’t take them home for tonight’s dinner. Once you’ve had a closer look at their impressive claws and compared notes, gently help them back home.


Crabbing is a great excuse to get outdoors and explore, and make some memories while you’re at it. Tag your pictures with #JoulesMakingMemories so we can see your crabbing adventures. What are you waiting for?

This season we’ve teamed up with The Marine Conservation Society to bring you a beach-themed ‘Let’s Explore’ kit. The MCS works hard to keep our beaches and seas healthy, protected and pollution-free. For more ideas on ways to enjoy the beach with little one, download our checklist, including 20 activities for children on a beach adventure. Let’s dive in!

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