Crabs can be caught from a rental row boat using a drop line or a scoop net along the bay dock pilings, or with a net and bait along the side of a creek in lots of places in and around Cape May County.
Less popular but very effective is trot lining. It’s a long line, resting on the bottom and anchored at both ends with a string of bait attached at intervals of two to six feet. You can check out some example videos here.
Recreational crabbing bait, Bull lips and chicken necks are very popular with recreational crabbers using crab traps and hand lines.. They are durable do well in attracting crabs. It’s great for trot lining since it is durable and inexpensive.
The crabbing season in New Jersey runs from March 15 until November 30, and from April 16 until December 14th in the Delaware Bay, the peak crabbing season runs from mid June, topping in the month of August, and until early October when the water temperature exceeds 55 degrees.
Popular Crabbing Places in Cape May County
Cape May National Wildlife Refuge. – Along the creeks in the marshlands on Ocean Drive between Cape May and Wildwood Crest.
Lakeview Docks, Wildwood Crest – Pier for fishing and crabbing off Park Blvd. open 7 am – 7 pm.
Charges a small fee for crabbing off the pier. Boat rentals also available.
Grassy Sound Marina Wildwood – Fishing and Crabbing Pier. 13 Old N. Wildwood Blvd. Between North Wildwood & Stone Harbor off Ocean Drive. (609) 846-1400.
They charge a small admission fee. They provide landing nets, picnic area, and toilet facilities. It is well-lit at night, family-friendly, and catches of Blue Claw Crabs are typical.
Popular Crabbing Places in Atlantic County
The waters surrounding Somers Point, NJ – Known to be some of the best on the Jersey Shore when it comes to crabbing. The locations include Patcong Creek, Great Egg Harbor Bay, Great Egg Harbor River, Middle River, Tuckahoe River, Tuckahoe-Corbin City Fish and Wildlife Management Areas, Peck Bay, Steelman Bay and Scull Bay.
The Route 52 Causeway fishing pier (located between Mays Landing Road in Somers Point and Ninth Street in Ocean City) – A popular hot spot for crabbing and fishing with anglers of all ages. There are four fishing piers within the 2.2 mile stretch of the bridge.
Somers Point is also home to one of the largest crabbing tournaments in the area – Assault on Patcong Creek – The event began in 2010 as an on-the-water-gathering of a dozen or so crabbing buddies, and has grown each year over the past four years to more than 40 boats and 100 crabbers signed up to participate this year.
Learn more on the Website about the Annual Assault on Patcong Creek Crabbing Tournament and BBQ. Held in June on the Saturday after Father’s Day.
Mays Landing-Somers Point Road, Egg Harbor Township – On the way to Somers Point, on the left. Park park your car and wade through the tall grassy meadows to find a path to the water.
Poplar Ave, Linwood – Behind the Linwood Country Club, at the end of Poplar Ave.
Route 9, Absecon – Near the Holy Spirit high School, use traps or nets.
New Jersey Recreational Crabbing Regulations
Crabs may be taken with hand lines, manually operated collapsible traps, or scoop nets without a license.
A license is required for crabbing using crab pots or trot lines.
The maximum harvest and/or possession limit of crabs is one bushel a day.
All female crabs having eggs or spawn attached shall be immediately released.
Permitted size of crabs: Peeler or shedder crabs 3 inches; soft crabs 3.5 inches and hard crabs 4.5 inches. All measurements are from point to point.
- Non-commercial Crab Pot License – $2.00
- Resident Recreational Shellfish License – $10.00
- Resident Senior (62 and older) – $2.00
- Lifetime Recreational Shellfish License – $2.00
- Juvenile (under 14 years of age) – $2.00
- Recreational Shellfish License (Resident/Non-Resident) $2.00
- Non-Resident Recreational Shellfish License $20.00