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Crabs in oyster beds

gotsnodooksgotsnodooks New Smyrna Beach FlPosts: 129 Deckhand
Went out fishing with a friend a few days ago and the local bait shop was out of fiddler crabs.  So during low tide we stopped off on an oyster bed that was exposed and gathered some of the small mud crabs that live under those for sheepshead bait.  Are there any rules governing mud crab harvesting for bait?  

Replies

  • Salty Dawg44Salty Dawg44 Homosassa, FLPosts: 1,168 Officer
    Be sure that you don't get any juvenile Stone Crabs. They look similar to the Mud Crabs, and inhabit the same places.



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  • gotsnodooksgotsnodooks New Smyrna Beach FlPosts: 129 Deckhand
    Be sure that you don't get any juvenile Stone Crabs. They look similar to the Mud Crabs, and inhabit the same places.


    Yeah...that has been mentioned and I've definitely checked as best I could when I gather them.  I have found some of the mud crabs with eggs and I make sure I put those back when I catch them.  I've checked the FWC site and just never saw anything about the mud crabs but I know someone on here would likely know.
  • Kokosing LoverKokosing Lover Posts: 755 Officer
    FWC doesn't regulate mud crabs, eggs or not, though it's never a bad idea to put the gravid ones back.  The only issues you might have is making sure you don't get any juvenile stone crabs, which are fairly easily distinguishable to the practiced eye.  Juvenile stone crabs will be dark purple to almost black, have three very small white spots on their back and won't have any large teeth on the carapace.  The big problem you might run into is having a newbie trooper who can't tell the difference checking your bucket; they don't get the most intense training on the peripheral things like this.
  • tankeredtankered Gainesvill, FlPosts: 203 Deckhand
    I highly recommend wearing gardening gloves and breaking the claws off before you put them in the bait bucket.
  • gotsnodooksgotsnodooks New Smyrna Beach FlPosts: 129 Deckhand
    tankered said:
    I highly recommend wearing gardening gloves and breaking the claws off before you put them in the bait bucket.
    Oh...I always wear gloves when going for them...I'm not sticking my hand down some small little hole after a crab and not knowing what else is down there half the time anyway.  lol

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