Crabbing in Texas (Places and Regulations)

A popular shellfish that’s moist and sweet, crabs are worth catching. Crabbing is popular in Texas, which borders the Gulf Coast. Your best place is to stop by coastal beaches. 

One of the best places in Texas to go crabbing is sabine pass. You need to have a license and some fresh fish for bait.

We will look at the other best places and tips on making the most of your day crabbing. You need to adhere to some regulations, so make sure you’re not caught!

Crabbing With A Small Blue Rowboat With Yellow Oars On Muddy River Bank - Texas View
Crabbing With A Small Blue Rowboat With Yellow Oars On Muddy River Bank - Texas View

Best Places to Go Crabbing in Texas

The best places to find crabs in Texas are near any body of water located near the coast, which includes bodies of saltwater, canals, and drainage ditches. 

Some specific locations for crabbing are;

  • Sabine Pass near the Sabine river in Port Arthur
  • Seawolf Park in Galveston at Pelican Island
  • Texas City Dike at Texas City
  • Dickinson Bayou, the San Luis Pass
  • Cold Pass strait
  • Surfside Crabbing Pier at Surfside Beach

However, knowing the right kind of supplies to have is crucial for the ultimate crabbing experience.

Best Type of Crab Trap

There are different ways to catch crabs, depending on how many you want. However, spending a ton of money on equipment isn’t necessary.

One great way to catch crabs is to use a dip net. It’s the easiest because all you need to do is wade into the water and scoop up the crabs in the net when you see them. Another way is to use a fishing line, or if you want a bunch of crabs, use a crab trap.

Best Crab Bait

These are commonly considered the top three best baits for crabs:

  • Fresh fish, typically of a species from where you’ll be crabbing, is the top choice. Because fish is oily meat, its scent travels farther through water, attracting more crabs;
  • Chicken, particularly the neck, because it’s easy to tie onto crab lines, and also because it’s a cheap bait that crabs love; and
  • Similar to fish, Razor clams put a strong scent in the water that attracts crabs and, like chicken, are easy to use.

Kind of Line Used for a Crab Trap

If you decide on a crab trap, you’ll need some string to pull it from the water. Some fishing lines will work, or you can use paracord. 

Cotton string also works; whatever you use doesn’t have to be too durable, as crabs don’t pull very hard. Your crab line should be fifty to one hundred feet long to reach far enough.

Panorama Aerial View Famous Texas City Dike A Levee That Projects Nearly 5Miles South East Into Mouth Of Galveston Bay. It Was Designed To Reduce The Impact Of Sediment Accumulation Along Lower Bay. - Texas View
Panorama Aerial View Famous Texas City Dike A Levee That Projects Nearly 5Miles South East Into Mouth Of Galveston Bay. It Was Designed To Reduce The Impact Of Sediment Accumulation Along Lower Bay. - Texas View

Storing Crabs You’ve Caught

Keep a cooler to place your crabs after you’ve caught them. Keeping your crabs fresh is vital so that they don’t die.

Once a crab dies, it’s unsafe. Dead crabs are dangerous for humans to ingest.

Depending on how many crabs you plan to catch and eat, plan on two to three crabs per individual. With that said, a forty-five-quart cooler can hold two dozen crabs. A sixty quart can contain three dozen, so adjust your size accordingly.

Regulations on Crabbing in Texas

Various Texan regulations on crabbing include:

  • Having a license
  • Equipment used
  • Size requirements
  • Possession regulations
  • Age restrictions

Crab Limit in Texas

There is no limit to the number of crabs you can keep. However, any crab under five inches is illegal to possess. If an orange mass is present, that indicates that the crab is pregnant and carrying eggs.

So, pregnant females and young crabs are illegal to keep. However, any other crab five inches or more is perfectly acceptable.

Crabbing License in Texas Cost

Depending on whether you’re out-of-state or fishing in saltwater, you’ll need at least one of the following licenses:

  • Non-Resident Commercial Crab Fisherman License, $2,520
  • Saltwater Package, $12-63
  • Resident Commercial Crab Fisherman License, $630

What Type of Crabbing License Do I Need?

If you’re crabbing in Texas from out of state, you’ll need a non-resident license. However, this is the most expensive of Texas’ crabbing licenses and can be an immense financial setback.

Additionally, if you plan on fishing for blue crabs, they are only found in salt water, so you’ll also need a saltwater package.

Again, whether you live out of state or not determines the cost of the package. The resident package is $35, with a senior discount to residents sixty-five and older dropping the price to $12. However, a non-resident package is $63.

Sources