While traditionally being more of a Nor Cal (Northern California) thing, crabbing is totally doable in Southern California! While Nor Cal has been made famous as a crabbing location for Dungeness crabs, So Cal has been made famous for our California spiny lobster season. The secret no one really tells you is that we have crabs in So Cal. Edible ones, too. I learned this in adulthood and am more than happy to share.
How I Discovered Crabbing in Southern California
I recently caught a Facebook story posted by a friend. He had found a new passion for everything ocean fishing and had posted something about crabs. Fascinated, I had to ask him more about it. He mentioned my local tackle shop carried some crabbing gear and that he recently took 4 keeper-sized crabs. I purchased a full outfit for crabbing in SoCal that weekend.
Hoop Net for Crabs
The hoop net of choice for crabbing from a pier is the Promar rigid 2-hoop net. These are kind of big to ship, but can likely be found at your local tackle store. This is meant to be dropped straight down and retrieved vertically. Be careful when retrieving from an angle like from a jetty. Due to the 2-hoop rigid design, this can easily get stuck under a rock. Make sure to pick up a hoop net kit for your hoop net, which will have all the goodies you need to start. For throwing from a jetty, a single hoop net will retrieve more gracefully.
Bait for Crabbing
Crabs are attracted to scent. Traditionally, people use fish carcasses that have been kept as frozen scraps. Frozen rock fish, mackerel, fish heads, and similar will all work as crab bait. One thing people don’t talk a lot about is using chicken. I always have a slab of freezer burned chicken in my freezer somewhere and it works just fine. In my latest video, I added goldfish crackers to the mix to add some extra chum in the water.