How to Hook a Peeler Crab

How to Hook a Peeler Crab
Peeler crabs, or small blue crabs, are favored among many saltwater anglers as a bait. Shedding their shell up to three times per year, peeler crabs typically shed their first shell during the early spring months of April or May. Peeler crabs can be trapped or caught by hand and are often located under and along rocks, in tidal pools and near other structures. Peelers must be properly prepared before being hooked for fishing bait.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Long shank bait holder hook
Step 1
Select a peeler crab with a shell that is easily removed from the back or with a shell that is already cracked and beginning to loosen. Small peelers with a body width of 1-1/2 to 2 inches are often favored by many anglers as bait.
Step 2
Hold the peeler crab body between the thumb and index finger of one hand so that the legs and claws are easily accessible. Grasp a leg or claw, twist and pull away from the body. Continue to work your way around the crab until all of the legs and claws are removed.
Step 3
Hold the peeler crab body by the side and lift up on the top shell at the back of the crab. Work the shell loose until it is completely free from the peeler's body.
Step 4
Turn over the peeler crab and remove the bottom shell in the same manner as the top shell and also remove the tail plate and jaw.
Step 5
Hold the peeler crab in one hand and a long shank bait holder hook in the other. Insert the point of the hook in the front of the crab between the eyes. Work the point of the hook down through the body and out the back of the crab. Situate the peeler crab on the hook so that it rests securely in the bend of the hook.

Tips & Warnings

Use a bait holder hook as they typically have small barbs on the shank to help hold the bait in place.
Pull meat from the legs of the peeler crab and place on the tip of the hook so that a fish will not instantly detect the sharp point.

Article Written By Keith Dooley

Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.

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