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Crabbing In Tampa Area

Shea550Shea550 Tampa BayPosts: 4 Greenhorn
Hey all,
             I just moved to Tampa Bay on the 12th from Saint Louis Missouri. I wouldn't say I'm an experienced angler, but up north my dad and I used to go to freshwater creeks when I was young, and romp around catching crawdads and other critters, We called it creekin'. It was always alot of fun since you were actively moving around and looking for things to catch. I was hoping this would be something I could do down here in Tampa Bay looking for Crabs or other similar creatures, but aside from a few HorseShoe crabs (which were fun to look at) down at Vinoy Park, I haven't had any luck. I'm looking to target Blue Crab or Stone Crab and have heard using chicken tied to strings are a good way to do it. Problem is, I'm so new to the area and have no clue where to go. I've tried Vinoy Park two nights in a row with chicken and just kept getting a bunch of weird snails in the net.  Any suggestions on locations, or tips on how to catch crabs, and how to tell if they're not sick or something would be really appreciated!  I'll report back in a few days on how all your tips and locations went!

Additionally, I'd love to try catching some Shrimp to have a bbq with my buddies, or where to find Sea Urchins, so any info on that would also be really nice! 

Thanks in advance everyone
-Zach

Replies

  • Shea550Shea550 Tampa BayPosts: 4 Greenhorn
    Went down to the bridge on I687 and threw a circle trap out with a big hunk of chicken back tied to it. Didnt get to stay long due to a massive storm rolling in out of nowhere at about 4 oclock.  But, I did manage to pull up an egg bearing stonecrab which pinched me something fierce as i tried to get it out of the net. Can't say Ive ever released something so quickly before haha.  I'll keep you all updated, I plan on going back out this weekend, probably to St.johns pass.

    -Zach
  • Sixth GenerationSixth Generation Posts: 411 Deckhand
    I used to catch blue and stone crabs under the bridge on your way out to Ft. Desoto.  This was a long time ago, but I think they should still be there.
  • Shea550Shea550 Tampa BayPosts: 4 Greenhorn
    Thanks for the Tip Sixth Generation! I'll have to go out and try there this weekend!

    I went to St.Johns Pass near that big bridge that opens up for boats to pass (so cool) on Sunday and ended up getting caught in that massive mid day storm we had! Weather app only said 10% chance of rain, So much for that!  Eitherway, I had fun and managed to catch 4 large stonecrabs via chicken backs tied to a line then netting them. Had to throw em back since they're not currently in season but it was nice to know they're there.  Saw a few anglers on boats leaving traps out that way too, so if your looking for stonecrab I think this would be a good area if you're on foot. 
  • LostconchLostconch Posts: 737 Officer
    I think you may have caught blue crabs. They are not out of season. I haven't ever heard of anyone catching Stone crabs on a chicken part. The traps you see off boats maybe for pinfish or pass crabs for tarpon bait. I used to live on the beach and hung around John's Pass alot
  • CaptJCaptJ Posts: 1,128 Officer
    Actually a work buddy used to go crabbing on the Dania cutoff canal in Broward and would do good on the blue and stone crabs using chicknecks on a string with a landing net. I know my traps take a while to stock up.
  • LostconchLostconch Posts: 737 Officer
    Lived on the beach near John's pass and never saw any stone crabs taken that way. I did catch a few in my trap so I know they were around. Saw plenty of blue crabs caught that way though
  • Shea550Shea550 Tampa BayPosts: 4 Greenhorn
    Just a little update! i've gotten alot more experience crabbing now and have managed to catch quite a few nice sized blue crabs (they made excellent crab cakes!) I changed how I catch em from chicken tied to a string with a hand net. Started using chicken backs (super cheap) tied to some mono, and tossing it out in a nice sandy or clear bottom area with no rocks, as as soon as i can tell I have a crab on, I use a cast net to engulf the area. Much higher success rates! (really got tired of missing 10-20 crabs with the hand net either because I was awful at it, or just unlucky, though its probably the former reason!)  

    Best place I've found so far is Lake Seminole park where the river turns into a spillway! Tons of blue crabs there, But it does see a bit more action from local anglers, so get there early before someone else does because its busy!  Good luck crabbing yall! thanks for all the advice and tips!
  • One DropOne Drop Posts: 286 Deckhand
    Thanks for the update Shea. What a great idea to use the cast net because I miss a ton with a dip net and the big ones get smarter with each miss. Not that smart but you get the drift. Let me ask you, how hard was it to get them out of the net and what size net are you using? 
  • zimmy4209zimmy4209 Ocala FloridaPosts: 1,125 Officer
    Shea550 said:
    Just a little update! i've gotten alot more experience crabbing now and have managed to catch quite a few nice sized blue crabs (they made excellent crab cakes!) I changed how I catch em from chicken tied to a string with a hand net. Started using chicken backs (super cheap) tied to some mono, and tossing it out in a nice sandy or clear bottom area with no rocks, as as soon as i can tell I have a crab on, I use a cast net to engulf the area. Much higher success rates! (really got tired of missing 10-20 crabs with the hand net either because I was awful at it, or just unlucky, though its probably the former reason!)  

    Best place I've found so far is Lake Seminole park where the river turns into a spillway! Tons of blue crabs there, But it does see a bit more action from local anglers, so get there early before someone else does because its busy!  Good luck crabbing yall! thanks for all the advice and tips!
    Love the report. Thanks for sharing!
  • LostconchLostconch Posts: 737 Officer
    Well done. Never fished below the spillway there. Now I wish I had
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