Crabbing at Brixham Harbour
Crabbing has fast become one of the most popular activities amongst holidaymakers here in Brixham during the holiday season. It is now a common sight to see young families gathering around Brixham Harbour equipped with crab lines and a bucket enjoying themselves catching small shore crabs. These small crabs congregate around the walls in Brixham Harbour and the marina. They literally grab onto anything that they look upon as food, so using a small crab line will enable you to catch dozens of crabs in a very short time.
Crabbing is simple, you basically drop the line into the water, let it sink to the bottom where the crabs are and then just wait, retrieve the line slowly and the chances are you will have a crab hanging on. There isn't really any need to leave the line down for more than 1 min, in fact just a few seconds will normally result in a crab grabbing hold of your bait. Crab lines don't have fishing hooks anymore, they come with a small mesh bag which you put the bait in. I found that the crabs will eventually tear a hole in the bag so my advice would be not to leave them down for too long as the crabs will obviously be wanting to get to the bait inside. If you find that a hole does develop then you can easily just put a small knot in the bag to seal the hole, however it may be a case that after a couple of sessions you will have to replace it, you can buy hand lines with spare mesh bags for a little extra. Drop nets are also available if you don't want to use a crab line. You will probably catch more crabs in a drop net as the crabs won't fall off once you start retrieving the net.
If you want to catch lots of crabs then use a nice smelly bait, something like squid, mackerel or even bacon, anything that gives off a really good aroma will be very attractive to crabs. Personally I would recommend squid as it is very tough and should last you ages.
Most people like to keep the crabs they catch in the bucket until they have finished, these buckets are available from various shops around the harbour. Just be a little bit careful when walking down the steps to fill the bucket up with water, they can often become quite slippery, especially the steps at the bottom. The crabs you catch around the harbour are not really edible so please put them back when you have finished. They also come equipped with fairly powerful pinchers, so even a fairly small crab will deliver a painful bite to small fingers. Picking a crab up is quite safe if done properly, the easiest way to do is using your thumb and forefinger, hold it on each side of the shell firmly and its pincers cannot reach your fingers.
Crab lines, drop nets, buckets and crab bait are available from various shops around Brixham Harbour. My advice would be to visit Brixham Bait and Tackle as they will give you the best advice and sell you the proper bait that the crabs like.
Malikah my niece enjoying herself catching crabs
This photograph demonstrates how to pick a crab up safely
Brixham Bait and Tackle