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Crabbing (Jetties and Surf)

Crabbing is a popular way to have a delicious seafood meal at low cost.  Sand crabs are the bane of any angler's life as they seem to appear in their millions as soon as there is any bait around and strip it from the hooks with impunity. Only the clumsy crabs get tangled in a hook and line every now and then.

Bait:  Looking for nets and bait? Then head out to the Shop at Lake Tyers Beach for Sean's special crab bait.
Check for good nets and the chicken carcases Shawn has ready for crab bait.

Sand Crab at Lake Tyers Sand Crab at Lake Tyers Nos2 Boat Ramp
Drop Nets
First thing is buy a proper net.  These should have natural fibre netting and not the plastic netting.  Many of these crab nets are lost every year on snags. Natural fibre nets on steel hoops snagged on the bottom will break down.  The fibre rots and the steel corrodes.  The synthetic plastic nets just make a hazard for all the other animals and are just another source of snags for all fisher men.

Natural Fibre Crab Net, Steel Hoops Environmental Friendly Crab Net

Tie some meat, like fresh chicken as bait into the center of the smaller hoop and throw it off a jetty.  The popular crabbing jetty is the Sandblasting Jetty on Bullock Island, Lake Entrance.  It has strong currents and right in line with the lakes opening to the sea, so plenty of crabs lurking around there. Just throw it far enough to clear any snagging the jetty might cause, wait a while and pull in the haul.  Try other jetties, but be carefull of your fellow fishermen who may not appreciate big nets being chucked in around their lines.

M at the opening at Lakes Entrance As you can see on the left from M's cheerful smile, crabbing can be a great way to have a day out fishing.

Cooking crabs at Lakes Entrance

Why not cook them on the spot like M, M & M were doing above on Bullock Island.

Bad Nets left at Lakes Entrance
Don't use plastic netting and don't leave your nets in the water like these inconsiderate people did!!!!

Surf Netting
Buy a fish keeping net and a net used for landing fish (coarser netting though will mean less tangles).  Put the meat (old fish heads or carcasses will do e.g. left over chicken) into the fish keeping net and take it a little way into the surf (waist deep is enough, do not go in too far - these waters are quite dangerous), such as at Lake Tyers, and drag it about on the bottom over a small area to attract the crabs into you.  Have your partner armed with a net, with a long handle on it about the length of a broom handle, (plus goggles help as well) to scoop up the crabs off the bottom.  A third person with a bucket will speed things up.
Sand Crab from Post Office Jetty at Lakes Entrance Crabs ready for cooking at Lake Tyers Beach

In the kitchen and ready for the pot!

However while they are seen as either as pests by some, and a great meal by others, catching them must conform to government rules and regulations.
  1. Only 2 hoop nets per person (the person must have a fishing licence, or be exempt e.g. aged over 65)
  2. Net must have the owner's name and address on a tag attached to the net.
  3. Closed season from 1 September through to 15 November, except Port Phillip Bay, Western Port Bay and Gippsland Lakes.
  4. There is no size limit, but each net owner can only keep 30 crabs maximum (so, throw back the little ones!).
  5. Maximum net size is 50cm diameter hoops and 50cm for depth of the net.
  6. Yabby Pots or Opera House Nets are banned.
  7. Crabs cannot be sold, only commercially licensed fishermen can sell their catch.
  8. Good luck and have Fun!!!
    Official DPI Website on Fishing Regulations

    Another document has been found at the local tackle stores to help overseas visitors or non English speaking Australians understand the complexities of keeping Australian fisheries viable in the long term. The first two pages of this document is shown here to make fishers aware there are rules and regulations to ensure that people enjoy fishing but that fishing stays a long term recreational activity.

Crabbing in Lakes Entrance within the rules
Please pick an original at your friendly local bait shop.