Everything You Need to Know About Crabbing on Topsail Island

Everything You Need to Know About Crabbing on Topsail Island | Coastline Realty Vacations

Do you love getting outdoors and trying new things? If you do, then you will love crabbing on Topsail Island, NC. This fun, family-friendly activity is not only a great way to see the local area, it is also a great way to spend time with family and friends. Plus at the end of the day you’ll have some amazing North Carolina crab. Let’s get started on planning your Topsail Island crabbing adventure. 

Know the rules

Before you start crabbing, you'll need to check with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission to check whether or not you'll need a North Carolina Fishing License. Most local bait shops will be able to sell and help you with any licenses you need, or you can purchase them online. The good news is you likely won't need a license to do a little recreational crabbing. Here are a few of the things you need to know about license requirements. 

Individuals crabbing via chicken-necking don’t need a license. If you’re only going to set one pot per person, you can do so from a private pier or shoreline, so long as you have the permission of the property owner. Crabbing like that doesn’t require a license. A private pier or shoreline is defined as not having any public access. No buoy or identification tags are required for the recreational crabber.

A license is not required to use collapsible crab traps as long as the following conditions are met. The largest open dimension in a crab pot can’t be larger than 18 inches. Traps must be designed to collapse at all times when in the water, except when they’re being retrieved from or lowered to the bottom.

All recreational crabbers must follow the latest prescribed catch limits, which at the time of this blog are 50 crabs per day per person or 100 per vessel. All crabs must be 5 inches in minimum size for males and immature females. To measure a crab, measure from tip to tip of the carapace.  Recreational crabbers  cannot legally sell their catch.

Find the perfect home

Before we get into the gear, why not consider where you'll stay on Topsail Island? With so many great places to choose from, one thing is for sure, you'll always be close to a place to go crabbing. Click here to see all our vacation homes. 

Vacation rental La Vita e Bella is perfect for crabbing | Coastline Realty

Get geared up

Crabbing doesn’t require much in the way of equipment, which makes it a cheap and fun thing to do during your Topsail Island beach vacation. Here’s what you’ll need:

A long cord of fishing line or twine, about 15ft - 20ft long. A crab won't pull hard so you don't need particularly strong line. 

You’ll need a small weight tied to the end of your line so it will sink to the bottom of the water.

Picking your bait. Most people are surprised to discover that crab love chicken. It's cheap and easy to find. Just head over to the grocery store and pick up a little chicken (get cuts that have bones). Wings and legs work great.

Tie your bait to one end of the fishing line and toss it into the water. You can hold onto the other end or tie it to a dock post or fishing pole holder. Make sure there is some slack on the line so it's easy to detect movement. Then simply wait. As soon as the line starts to tighten, it's a sure sign that there is a crab at the other end enjoying the bait.

The key to a successful day of crabbing is to be patient. The trick is, once you feel a tug on the line, to slowly reel in the line without disturbing the crab on the other end. The crab is essentially chewing on the bait. Since there is no hook you need to be smooth when you reel in the line. A small fishing net is helpful to have. Once you have the crab within reach of the net, simply scoop the crab up.

All you need now to have a successful crabbing day during your Topsail Island beach vacation is a great vacation home. Lucky for you, we have a great selection of vacation homes to choose from. Fall and late summer are the perfect times of the year to be on Topsail Island. The water is still warm and the crowds have thinned. Give us a call today at 800-497-5463 or click the button below to see our inventory of vacation homes

Everything You Need to Know About Crabbing on Topsail Island | Coastline Realty Vacations

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