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Sep 4, 2012

1st time poster - new to this fishing/crabbing game.

To cut a long story short, we were in Whitby over the last bank holiday, saw kids crabbing, bought the kit and joined in.

Last weekend, we went to Seaham, went crabbing on the rocks and caught a stack of crabs, which we threw back before we went home.

We (my 10 year old son and me) have caught the bug, but have a few questions - so if anyone can answer them or give us some tips, it would be appreciated!

* Am I right in assuming as we are going to the coast, we don't need a licence? If we were crabbing from a riverside, we would? I have looked on a number of websites (including this one) - have I picked this up right?

* What is the best bait to use? We bought squid in Whitby and prawns for Seaham.

* We are using a basic crabline - can this be adapted? i.e hooks for fishing? If so, does that change any of the rules/regs we need to follow?

* Can anyone share any sites or locations along the North Yorkshire, Durham, Sunderland, South Tyneside, North Tyneside or Northumberland coast? I know we need to look for rocks etc, so I am aware of several locations. What are the chances of getting anything casting from the beach?

* Looking to keep the bigger ones for food - what are the chances of catching a decent enough sized crab?

Appreciate there are a lot of questions, but would appreciate as much help as possible!!



A somewhat settled
Jun 9, 2009
North West London
Hi, wecome and enjoy. There will be many people on the forum who can give you much better advice than me, so I won't. Pop over to the introductions page and say hello.


M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
I cain't speak for the UK laws but a good bait is chunks of almost any semi rancid meat. Chicken necks, chicken livers, or gizzars are especially good.


Jun 22, 2009
bacon is the best bait, generally you just pick up shorecrabs but you never know you may get a nice edible crab or even better a spider crab i suppose it depends upon location....if your thinking for the table id get a collapsable crab pot you can get them off ebay or ronnies for about a fiver. you can even dispense of the hook on the crab line and tie a the end of a pair of stockings filled with bacon as the hook doesnt catch the crabs its just the fact they wont let go so the stocking means you can get loads at once.

you dont need a license to crab or fish in the sea. when it comes to rivers (freshwater part) you need a rod license if targeting fishies and i dont believe youd be allowed to use a crab line for fresh water fishing.


Full Member
Mar 5, 2009
South Glos
We use to put the bait in the type the nets that you can get fruit in, one fill would last for hours and we found that the crab stays attached to the rig better, also you could get more than one crab at a time. I've never caught a crab that would be an eater from the shore I guess you would need to get into the deeper water for that or use pots as Spiritwalker suggested.
Sep 4, 2012
In Whitby, we were pulling up harbour crabs off the quay, although at Seaham, we caught plenty small brown crabs (the tide was coming in, so may have hit on lucky).
There were pots a mile or so from the shore and as the tide came in, the defence boulders we were on, was beyond the shoreline - so we may hit even luckier!

The line we have, has two drawstring bags, similar to the washing machine dispenser bags.
If we put a hook on it, wonder if we get a fish or two?


Jul 23, 2009
Plymouth, Devon
You bait your shrimp nets?
Yep, then chuck them over the side and sit back and relax with a beer and the fishing rod, where sometimes the fish caught are cooked there and then along with what shrimp we catch, oh and limpet too sometimes.

Other times we trawl the net along the wall un baited, but this tends to be something we can only do once as the disturbance the net's travel creates makes for poor shrimping afterwards, mind the initial trawl is usually a big hit.

It all depends on what the day is like and how much of a day we wish to make it.


M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
Interesting. Over here the recreational shrimpers just use a hand seine while wading near the shore or somtimes use a cast net. Commercial shrimpers trawl a very lage net from a commercial shrimp boat such as this (one of my cousins used to do that) the commercial shrimpers first locate the schools of shrimp with sonar then drop the nets (on a boom on either side of the boat) and preferably trawl the school lengthwise. Sometimes the schools run for over a quarter mile

Neither use bait.


May 11, 2009
Planet Earth
As a general rule tidal waters are classed as sea, above that you'll need a license. This does change in some areas where they're particularly keen so ask locally. Don't assume that only the big red 'eating' crabs are edible, plenty of others are good to eat if you like crab. Velvet swimming crabs are particularly tasty and easily caught with basic crabbing equipment. You can even buy those in Lidl! There are plenty of other edible species that are plentiful and easily caught too. I find the best bait to be fish heads left a day or so to get a bit smelly. I've never got on with bacon/pork though most people swear by it. Standard crab lines are good for keeping the kids entertained but if you want to pull in crabs in any quantity think about knocking up something yourself. I knocked something up from a chip basket I bought in a pound shop, some aluminium rod and lead weights. It pulls them in literally dozens at a time. I've seen designs for a bike wheel covered with chicken wire that look good too.

dump of the stig

New Member
Sep 8, 2012
west sussex
if you want to give your self a chance at catching some fish on a hand like go to a tackle shop
and ask for a sabiki rig. should only set you back £1.50, basicly a string of size 10 hooks each
one dressed with a small fly to imitate a shrimp. incorporate this on to the end of your crab line
or simply tie it to a reel of line and fish it "hobo" style. bait each hook up with a tiny bit of worm/fish
what ever you like. you can jig this up and down for extra attraction. not saying your gana catch
your dinner but it will be alot of fun just seeing all the different species you can catch, and its not
unheard of good sized bass attacking these. good luck