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Need a little help.......I will be looking for blue claw crabs,fiddler or any other crabs for bait and if you can point me in the right direction weather it be bait shop or any other store like Publix or Winn Dixie your help would be greatly appreciated.
If I have to catch them myself just tell me so.               Thanks........Mike                                                                                                    I am in thr Crystal River Area


  • SaltygatorvetSaltygatorvet Posts: 5,807 Admiral
    You should have been here yesterday
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 13,168 AG
    You can buy live blue crabs at Crab Plant, Charlies, Shrimp Landing..
    Might not like the price but...

    I don't know of any bait shop here that sells small bait crabs.
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • Doc StressorDoc Stressor Posts: 2,784 Captain
    The seafood markets will often sell you fresh dead or dying blue crabs from their pens at a reduced price or just give them to you.  You can catch your own in the creeks and residential canals using the same techniques that you probably used up north. The availability of blue crabs in the local creeks depends on temperature and salinity. 

    Fiddlers and mud crabs are easy to gather on your own also.  For fiddlers, just look for their holes on mud and gravel flats near mangroves during low tides.  Burry a few pots or bowls at the same level as the mud. They will fall into the pots where you can collect them after an hour or so. It helps if you put a little bait in the pots. They tend to get active an leave their burrows as the tide starts to move in. Warmer days and big tides make things easier. 

    You can collect Harris mud crabs,  which have brown or purplish shells, on oyster flats and bars during low tide.  Just flip over clumps of oysters or rocks.  They are great sheepshead bait and are probably good for redfish also.  Be sure not to confuse them with juvenile stone crabs, which are protected.  Stone crabs have white bands on their legs and mud crabs do not. 
  • bunkerboy222bunkerboy222 Posts: 83 Deckhand
    great info........I will try both the Crab Plant and Charlie's for the blue claws.Price doesn't matter when you catch  fish as the end result! I did see a video on You Tube about catching fiddlers and mud crabs being caught by your method described Doc and it works great.I'll have to give it a try.My last question is ........Do you need a special permit,stamp on your license or any tag to catch crabs for bait???  Thanks for the help.              Mike
  • nicknick Posts: 5,070 Admiral
    Going for Sheepshead?

    Just use shrimp....
  • bunkerboy222bunkerboy222 Posts: 83 Deckhand
    I will use shrimp;I know they will work.When the time comes I like to have crabs available to put out on the bottom for Drumfish.........Always trying to give the fish a multiple choice.
  • Doc StressorDoc Stressor Posts: 2,784 Captain
    Half a blue crab can't be beat for big drum, if you want to catch them.  I agree with Nick that shrimp are better sheepshead baits. I used to use fiddlers for sheepshead, but it's easier to hook them up on a threaded shrimp.  The trick is to move the bait very slowly toward the boat and set the hook when you feel the weight of the fish.
  • bunkerboy222bunkerboy222 Posts: 83 Deckhand
    Love catching those "sea donkeys".Delaware Bay coughed up a 90 lber. to me a few years back. Strickly catch and release.Don't like eating the bigguns and they are too hard to clean;but love catching them.
    Thanks for the info and help......I will give your advice a try especially the hookset part.
  • tankardtankard Posts: 7,030 Admiral

    If you find yourself collecting mud crabs for bait I highly recommend gardening gloves or some other sturdy form of finger protection.

    They are pretty dang strong for their size.

  • bunkerboy222bunkerboy222 Posts: 83 Deckhand
    Would mud crabs be the ones found under the rocks at low tide? If so thanks for the warning.
  • egplantegplant Posts: 41 Deckhand
    Somewhat on the crab subject, has anyone seen any sand fleas lately?  Seems like the beach is baron south of Boynton from where I've looked.
  • tankardtankard Posts: 7,030 Admiral
    Would mud crabs be the ones found under the rocks at low tide? If so thanks for the warning.

    Yes. And as Doc said, there can be juvenile stone crabs mixed in. Not often in my experience, but if the man caught you with juvenile stone crabs he would likely not be happy.
  • bunkerboy222bunkerboy222 Posts: 83 Deckhand
    I guess I better stick with buying crabs from the markets or catch them myself.
    Don't need any problems due to trying to save a buck or two.
  • tankardtankard Posts: 7,030 Admiral

    Nah it's not that bad.

    And very few markets that I know of around here sell bait crabs.

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