How To Catch Fiddler Crabs In Four Perfect Ways

January 2, 2017

Fiddler crabs are tiny crabs that you can often see close to the waterline of sandy beaches. You may also observe them in the soft parts of the brackish waters. They can grow not bigger than 3 inches. You can identify the male species from the females.

Male fiddlers usually have large claws. These are their standard distinctive features. Male fiddler crabs also boast their soft outer system. Fishers often use them as a lure because of their soft shell and size.

But, the question is, how to catch fiddler crabs? Is it possible to do? One thing is for sure; you can do this. You may follow our four ideal methods of catching these crustaceans to use them as baits later on.


Overview Of Fiddler Crabs

You have to admit that all fishes roam around Florida’s bays. That is why if you want to have a bounty catch, you need to prepare some little crustaceans as baits. You can use fiddler crabs that you can see in mangrove shorelines and mudflats during low tide.

In fact, fiddler crabs are an excellent pick for fishes such as black drum, pompano, and sheepshead. When you try to catch using fiddler crabs as baits, the method seems efficient. What you just need to do is to put them at the bottom with a small egg sinker.

Then, you will need to obtain a foot or more of the 30-pound leader. You can pitch your fiddler crabs onto a patch of sand enclosed with grasses. After doing so, you can catch some of these fishes. Thus, you can use fiddlers as old-school baits.

Four Ideal Ways To Catch Fiddler Crabs


Put A Bucket with Baits In The Territory Of Fiddlers

A way to catch those little fiddler crabs is to place a bucket with baits in their area. If you want to score some fiddler crabs, you can put dead fiddlers in a bucket. In fact, you can also snatch some cobia and tripletail. Some reef reds, snook, and pompano may even get your crabby bait.

Moreover, as your fiddlers get busy with the baits, you may also hang some spinning rods. If you have the hunting permit, you will want to get a 7 and a half foot light pole. You can also put a reel with a smooth drag. You can load this with a 20-pound braided line for an easy catch.


Finding A Mess Of Fiddler Crabs Using Light-Colored Pail

Another way to catch these fiddlers is to use Captain Dave Lanier’s advice to use a light-colored or white 1 gallon of the pail. The lighter colored container will appear to be cooler surface. Also, it will conserve our catch during hot days. If you leave the trap on the tub unattended, you need to put some small slots or holes at the bottom to serve as drainage.   

​Fiddlers try to respire air on the surface. They will drown if the container overflows with rain water. So, you need to search for a perfect spot with a few crab holes. These are pretty challenging to miss. The areas that work best are those with holes that contain small balls of sand. They should roll up at the surrounding holes.

Then, you need to excavate a hole on the flat mud on top of the high water. Just ensure that you won’t damage the roots of the mangroves while you do this step. You need to bury the container, but you have to leave a tip of 1 inch just above the sand. Also, you have to make some crusted fish, chum, commercial chum, and shrimp bits. Combine the chum properly with mud to keep the birds from eating it. Put some chum on the buried container.   

After that, you can fish or go swimming while you wait for the fiddlers to fall in the container trap. You need to get the trap as soon as everything's okay. Some people will try to put two-by-fours on the V tip of the pail. It will allow the little crabs to fall into the trap.


Using a Net to Catch Fiddler Crabs

To catch these sneaky fiddlers, you may also run a net. First, you need to walk around the tip of the shoreline within the marshy part of the beach. Then, you have to look for fiddler crabs running just around the water’s shore. You may also consider some regions with real sand and small indentations. They have the tendency to hide in the wet sand.                       

Next, you need to toss tempt, including pet food or chopped minnows on the water’s shoreline. It will draw the fiddler crabs to go to the surface. Then, you have to throw a cast net over the small crabs which may form groups. They usually gather along together. You need to put your catch in a big container with layers of wet mud or sand.


Utilizing Any Container to Trap Fiddler Crabs

The initial step to take is to locate the area near the shoreline that you can typically see fiddlers. You may look for clues of fiddler crab movements, including small tracks and indentations on the sand. Then, you must burrow a hole in the mud or sand which is deep enough to bury any container.

Moreover, you need to pack some orange dirt on the areas of the edge of the bottle. Make sure that you hid the bottle smoothly from the view. Then, you need to line the bottom of the compartment with wet mud or sand. Put some pet food with the dirt in the container. You may leave the container overnight until the little crabs become trapped inside.

Tips and Tricks to Catch Fiddler Crabs

Knowing Where Fiddler Crabs Hide

Fiddlers usually live between the low tide mark and high tide mark, which is a spot called the littoral zone. As the low tide occurs, the small crabs leave their burrows, court, and forage. When the high tide comes, the fiddlers go in their burrows. They plug these holes with mud to prevent the water from entering. These tiny crabs serve as baits to catch game fishes such as sheepshead, black drum, redfish, and pompano.

Determining the Activity of Fiddlers

Another tip for you to consider is to find out the movements of these crabs. You need to wait for the low tide to come and chase after these crustaceans real fast. However, some would even try to chase them from their burrows. So, you need to move quickly to make sure that you can take hold of them before they hide in the mud.

You must try to ask help to catch the fiddler crabs. Try to position lower to the ground. Then, be swift as you try to find these fiddlers. The massive claws of males will look terrifying. However, they cannot do severe harm. In fact, you can pick them up using your hands.

Excavating Their Burrows

If you do not want to chase after these fiddler crabs along the beach, you may start looking for their burrows. Then, you can plow them up. You can use your bare hands to do this since the mud is soft, or you may also use a shovel to make things easier. Make sure that you replace the sand or mud you excavated to prevent causing damage to the beach.

Setting a Trap for Fiddler Crabs

A simple trap may work well for fiddler crabs. The first thing you have to do is to explore the shoreline, especially those with lots of crab burrows. You need to dig a hole to put the trap inside. Then, place the bait on the bottom and move away from the trap.

Allow some time for the fiddlers to get attracted to the trap. You can also put some pieces of mesh or fabric in the mud. Then, throw the bait in the middle and wait for the little crabs to crawl to the fabric or mesh. Once you see that the method takes effect, you have to lift the fabric off the sand.

Rules when Catching Fiddler Crabs

Before you set traps to catch fiddler crabs, you need to check out the rules and regulations of the local area. You need to make sure that it is legal to find fiddlers in the area. You may also present a fishing license or permit to catch fiddler crabs. Some regions may prohibit getting them. You may also find out if the zone does not allow using fishing tools like baskets or nets to catch fiddlers.


Looking for fiddler crabs is an easy task to do. You can even see them dashing in and out of their holes. However, catching them is a different story. These crustaceans seem to be observant. Thus, you need to be fast and smooth when you set up traps and plan to catch them.

However, you do not need to fret! We have listed some options for you to catch fiddlers successfully. All you need to do is to choose a method that fits you and execute them gracefully. You see, finesse and strategy can go hand in hand when catching fiddler crabs.

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About the Author


Hello, fishing world! My name is Bella. Yes, you got me right, I am a woman! But, I am a woman not only fond of cooking and shopping. I am a woman who shows interest in everything that covers topics regarding fishing. Don’t get me wrong! I believe that the world of fishing is not exclusively for men! In fact, I, myself enjoy fishing. That’s why I created this website.

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