Crab on Alabama's Gulf Coast

Try Crabbing for Family Fun on the Coast

Get Crabby

Good fun during a beach vacation doesn’t have to be expensive, and crabbing is one of the best. Grab the kiddos and get your crabbing on!

Ghost Crabbing

ghost crab

In Gulf Shores and Orange Beach summer evenings bring out kids and adults with flashlights hunting tiny sand crabs before they burrow into the sand. Ghost crabbing is the name of the game.

Finding the small shore crabs is much easier at night, hence the name ghost crabbing. It’s a fantastic family activity and will quickly become a vacation tradition. 

The tools are simple: a bucket and flashlight are all you need. Don’t forget to use red filter stickers to keep the bright light from your phone or flashlight from disorienting newly hatched baby sea turtles causing them to take the wrong path. The Welcome Centers in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach have free red filters on hand…just stop in and ask. 

Some families turn ghost crabbing into a friendly competition by forming teams and counting crabs to find a winner at the end of the night. Be sure and make your crabs comfier by layering some sand in the bottom of your bucket. Most importantly, don’t forget to release them when you head back inside.

The Quest for Blue Crabs

Blue Crab on Alabama's Gulf Coast

Crabbing for blue crab can also be a family activity – and if you don’t have access to a kitchen or don’t care to cook, it can be a lesson in catch and release. Blue crabs can be found in the back bays and passes during the summer months.

Gulf State Park Pier is a great place to go recreational crabbing or fishing. You can purchase your license at the pier, bring a basket and have access to all of the facilities. There are bait and tackle, souvenirs, and concessions available as well.

The most common method used to catch blue crabs is a crab basket. Purchase these inexpensive tools at a tackle shop near the beach, then dropped from a pier, sea wall, kayak or canoe.

Baskets aren’t the only way to catch blue crabs. The most basic crabbing is accomplished with a line and bait. You don’t even need a hook. Just tie the bait to the end of the line with a sinker. Drop the line and when a crab finds it, pull him slowly to the shore. A net will be necessary if you plan to keep the crab for dinner. Crabs are not picky eaters, so you can use most anything for bait – fish parts work well. Have a container to keep your crab alive to make sure it is safe to consume.

Keep in mind that, even for recreational crabbing, you must have a saltwater fishing license. Happy crabbing!

For other rules and regulations, visit Outdoor Alabama


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