The Time is Right to Go Crabbing

Once you feel a little tug on the end of your line, slowly pull the line closer to you, inch by inch. Soon you will see your bait with a crab underneath, dangling while eating its lunch. Be quick with your net and by all means, scoop deep when you move in for the catch. That’s really all you need to know about how to catch a Blue Crab with a hand line.

Yes, if it’s July in Hampton Roads, it’s the best time of year to take the kids for some good old-fashioned summer fun, and that’s crabbing!

If you’ve never been crabbing before, than you are missing out on some cheap, exciting fun. Kids love it!

You never know what’s on the other end of the line until it comes into view. Is it a big Jimmy? Are there two crabs on the line? Is there nothing at all? Did you miss it with the net? It can be a thrill each time you pull the line.

Hampton Roads is blessed with so many great places to crab. If the water is salty, there’s a good chance you can catch a crab.

Try your luck along the beach in the Chesapeake Bay or all along Rudee Inlet and Linkhorn Bay. There’s great crabbing at the Narrows in First Landing State Park. The Lynnhaven River is full of crabs this time of year. You can drop ring nets or box traps over the edge at all the local piers. You can get your fill along the beaches in Hampton or Newport News. You can catch all you want on the Eastern Shore.

You will have your best luck catching crabs in calm water.

If the water is tidal, you can catch crabs. Just tie a chicken neck to some string with a small weight, and get a dip net and a bucket for your catch. If you keep your catch in a bucket, do not put them in water, they live longer out of water.

According to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, you do not need a license if… Taking by dip net, hand line, or two crab pots as much as one bushel of hard crabs and two dozen peeler crabs in any one day for personal use aboard any vessel. If crabbing occurs from shore (crabs are not possessed on a vessel) the possession limit is one bushel and two dozen peeler crabs per person per day.

If you catch a crab with a sponge bottom, it is a female about to lay eggs. You may want to release the females to help grow the population. Remember it is illegal to keep crabs under five inches, point-to-point.

Crabbing in Hampton Roads is cheap summer fun and a great time for the whole family. Please be responsible. Follow the rules and take only what you will eat and release the rest.

For more information about the Blue Crab visit

Happy Crabbing!