Special Price $12.95
Special Price $32.95
Out of stock
Special Price $22.99
Special Price $179.99
Special Price $129.95
The prized mud crab can be found in estuaries and mangrove areas from the NSW north upwards through QLD and around the top of Australia, through NT to Shark Bay in WA. Mud crabs can be expensive in the fish shops so it pays to put in the time and effort to learn how to catch them yourself.
Mud crabs can grow to 3kg and have a high meat yield compared to most other crab species. This makes them an extremely popular crab to target and as a result strict rules apply, see your states regulations before targeting them. Females are referred to as ‘Jennies’ and males as ‘Bucks’. At the time of writing, in QLD all Jennies must be released and in all states Jennies carrying eggs must be released as well. Males are bigger than females.
Fishing for mud crabs can be done all year round but they are more active in the warmer water of Summer months. Mud crabs have big powerful claws and quick reflexes, they can be dangerous! Be careful when handling because if they grab a hold of you, their powerful claws won’t let go even when the claw is removed from the crab.
Matthew's Mud Crab - Receiving department at MoTackle & Outdoors
TARGETING MUD CRABS
There are many ways to catch crabs but please check your states regulations. Mud crabs are scavenger feeders which makes the use of crab traps highly effective and is the most popular methods.
Using a trap is as easy as attaching the bait to the inside of your trap, attaching a rope to the outside of your trap, then a float and identification tag to your rope. Making sure your rope is long enough to keep the trap on the bottom and the float on top of the water and not submerged. Some popular baits to use are fresh or frozen fish frames from your previous fishing trips, whole mullet cut into large pieces, pilchards or any oily fish and chicken carcasses. Remember to change your baits regularly and the fresher the better.
Round Traps - are popular as they collapse to a thin profile for storage when not in use and are large with 4 openings for crabs to enter. This is the most popular style of crab trap when chasing mud crabs.
Rectangle Traps - are generally a rectangle shaped trap with an opening at each end with a total of 2 openings. They are slightly more compact than the round traps and easier to assemble. The only downside is less openings.
Witches Hats - are less robust and even though mud crabs can be caught in them, they aren’t the best because their powerful claws destroy the nets quite easily. However, you can cheaply buy replacement nets if you decide to use this type of trap. They can also be reconfigured to become a drop net. Worth noting at the time of writing, in NSW you can have 2 Crab Traps and 4 Witches Hats in the water at the same time.
Crabbing on a Kayak is an easy way to get to hard to reach areas such as mangroves
Where to find them - They reside in estuarine waterways in shallow water. You will find mud crabs in any areas with a muddy bottom, mangrove lined edge, at the entrances of drains and/or on tidal flats. Mud crabs are known to reside within burrows in intertidal areas, that is, areas where the water drains away from high tide and is exposed at low tide. Because they can tolerate low salinity levels, they can also be found in the upper reaches of an estuarine system. However, they tend to move towards to the front of a system after consistent or heavy rainfall. In periods of high rainfall, set your traps closer to the mouth of the river and in low rainfall, set your traps higher in the system. The tide and moon aid in catching crabs - the stronger flowing tidal movement around a full or new moon can increase crab captures. The run in tide is also a key time to set your traps as the crabs use the tidal movement to move up and down the estuaries feeding along the way. It makes sense that the stronger the tidal movement the more active they are.
Andrew's Mud Crab - Receiving Department ay MoTackle & Outdoors
Once you have caught crabs - Firstly, you must determine if it's legal or not. Depending on where you are located you need to determine; Is it a female? Does it have eggs? Is it of legal size? If it falls within the legalities of your state, you can carefully remove the crab from the trap and place the crab somewhere out of the sun and in a cool place such as an esky. Some people like to get them straight onto ice to put them ‘asleep’ or keep them alive. If you decide to keep them alive, it's best to tie them up as they will fight each other. There’s nothing worse than finding a couple of removed or broken crab claws. Tying them up is a technique in itself and I suggest visiting YouTube for instructions as there are a heap of good videos there.
Be aware that after moulting, a mud crab may have a soft or an ‘empty’ shell. You can tell this by pressing onto the top or bottom of the shell - if it presses inwards, the crab hasn’t filled the shell yet and you may be disappointed with the amount of meat inside. These crabs are better off released as there is little meat inside and re-capture rates are high.
There isn't much better than a feed of Chilli Mud Crab!
To despatch the crab humanely, place it in the freezer for about 45mins to 1hr (but don’t freeze it). Once chilled, open the shell and remove the crabs organs before cooking. Be sure to clean the crabs shell of any mud. Some popular methods of cooking are boiling them or using a chilli mud crab recipe. Once the crab turns from brown to orange it is cooked. Good luck and happy crabbing!
- Craig Hanlon - eCommerce Administrator at Motackle & Outdoors