Are you looking for an adventurous, fun hobby? Are you intrigued by catching crabs off a shoreline or out on a boat in picturesque Texas waters? If so, crabbing is a great option that can bring hours of entertainment and potential protein-packed meals if done successfully.
Whether it’s your first time setting out with friends or family members on a hunt for incredible blue crab species, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure a successful and legal crabbing trip.
Crabbing Season in Texas
The crabbing season in Texas typically runs from April through October, although it can vary depending on the location and the weather. During this time, crabs are most active and abundant, making it the best time for crabbing. It’s important to check local regulations to determine the exact season for the area where you plan to crab.
Crabbing Laws in Texas
To ensure that crab populations remain sustainable, The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) enforces state regulations on crabbing in the coastal waters of Texas. These include limits on the number of crabs you can catch and restrictions on the type of gear you can use.
Blue Crab Limit:
In Texas, the daily bag limit for blue crabs is 5 dozen per person per day, and the minimum size limit is 5 inches across the carapace. It’s important to measure the crabs correctly, as any crabs that are caught that are under the minimum size must be immediately returned to the water.
Additionally, there are specific regulations for female blue crabs. Any female blue crabs that are carrying eggs, also known as “sponge crabs,” must be immediately released back into the water. This is to protect the future population of blue crabs in the area.
Stone Crab Limit:
The daily bag limit for stone crabs is 1 gallon of claws per person or 2 gallons per vessel, whichever is less. It is illegal to possess the whole stone crab, and only the claws may be harvested. Stone crab claws must also meet specific size requirements, with the minimum size limit being 2.75 inches.
It’s important to note that these regulations are subject to change, so it’s always a good idea to check with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for the most up-to-date information before going crabbing.
Best Crabbing Spots in Texas
There are many great crabbing spots in Texas, ranging from public piers and docks to secluded coves and inlets. Here are a few of the best places to go crabbing in Texas:
Galveston Bay is a large estuary located along the upper coast of Texas, near the city of Houston. It covers over 600 square miles and is fed by several rivers and streams, including the Trinity River and the San Jacinto River.
Galveston Bay is a popular spot for crabbing, with blue crabs and stone crabs being the most commonly caught species. The best time to go crabbing in Galveston Bay is during the summer months when the water is warmer and the crabs are more active.
There are several public piers and parks around Galveston Bay that offer easy access to the water and good crabbing opportunities. Here are a few popular spots:
- Seabrook Fishing Pier: Located in Seabrook, Texas, this pier offers great views of the bay and plenty of space to set up your crabbing gear. It’s a popular spot for crabbing, fishing, and birdwatching.
- Sylvan Beach Park: Located in La Porte, Texas, Sylvan Beach Park is a large public park that offers access to Galveston Bay. There are several fishing piers and a boat launch, making it a great spot for crabbing and other water activities.
- Galveston Island State Park: Located on the western end of Galveston Island, this state park offers access to both the bay and the Gulf of Mexico. There are several fishing piers and kayak launches, making it a great spot for crabbing and other water activities.
Port Aransas is a small coastal town located on Mustang Island, off the coast of Texas. It’s a popular vacation spot for beachgoers, fishermen, and birdwatchers, and it’s also a great place for crabbing.
There are several places around Port Aransas where you can go crabbing, including the local piers and jetties. Here are a few popular spots:
- Horace Caldwell Pier: Located on the south end of Port Aransas, this pier offers great views of the Gulf of Mexico and easy access to the water. It’s a popular spot for crabbing, fishing, and watching the sunset.
- South Jetty: Located at the end of the Port Aransas ship channel, this jetty offers good crabbing opportunities and great views of the nearby beach and jetties. It’s also a popular spot for fishing and birdwatching.
- Roberts Point Park: Located on the north end of Port Aransas, this park offers access to the Lydia Ann Channel and the Gulf of Mexico. There are several fishing piers and boat ramps, making it a great spot for crabbing and other water activities.
Rockport is a small coastal town located on the Gulf of Mexico, about 30 miles northeast of Corpus Christi. It’s known for its great fishing and wildlife viewing opportunities, and it’s also a great spot for crabbing.
There are several places around Rockport where you can go crabbing, including the local piers and jetties. Here are a few popular spots:
- Fulton Fishing Pier: Located in the neighboring town of Fulton, this pier offers great views of the bay and easy access to the water. It’s a popular spot for crabbing, fishing, and watching the sunset.
- Copano Causeway Pier: Located on the causeway between Rockport and Fulton, this pier offers good crabbing opportunities and great views of the nearby wetlands. It’s also a popular spot for birdwatching.
- Goose Island State Park: Located just outside of Rockport, this state park offers access to St. Charles Bay and several fishing piers. There are also camping and hiking opportunities, making it a great spot for a weekend getaway.
Tips For Successful Crabbing:
Here are a few tips to help you have a successful crabbing trip in Texas:
Use the right gear: Crabbing requires specific gear, including crab traps, crab pot puller, bait, and gloves. Be sure to research the best gear for your location and the type of crabs you’re targeting.
Bait your traps properly: Blue crabs are attracted to a variety of baits, including chicken necks, fish heads, and razor clams. Be sure to bait your traps properly and securely to ensure the crabs can’t escape.
Check your traps regularly: It’s important to check your traps regularly, ideally every 15-20 minutes, to avoid catching too many crabs or leaving them in the traps for too long.
Handle the crabs with care: Blue crabs have sharp claws and can be aggressive, so it’s important to handle them with care. Use gloves or tongs to avoid getting pinched, and avoid handling them by the legs or claws.
Crabbing in Texas is a fun and rewarding experience! With plenty of great spots to choose from, you can find crabs of all sizes and species. It’s important to know the regulations before heading out so that your crabbing adventure is safe and successful. So get out there and enjoy the beauty that Texas has to offer while catching some delicious crabs!