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The Ultimate Guide to Crab Bait – Top 5 List

Many people are wondering what’s the best type of bait to use when crabbing, especially when going for the first time. There are many answers to this question but we will break it down so that it’s nice and easy for you to understand.

For the most part, the most important thing to understand is that blue crabs and dungeness crabs will essentially eat anything. This means that you could theoretically use almost any type of food, whether fresh or rotten to use as bait. However, most people do not like to waste their groceries or fresh food on crab bait, so there are better options out there for you to choose.

The following is a list of popular types of bait, as you may be wondering – what do blue crabs eat? The best options are chicken necks, chicken legs, bunker, and squid.

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blue crabs

Blue Crabs


dungeness crab

Dungeness Crab


1) Chicken Necks

Chicken necks are ugly looking and are rarely used for cooking unless you are somewhat skilled. Some people use it to make soup and others might save it for their pet. When it comes to crabbing, chicken necks are a great form of bait because they are widely available in most grocery stores (especially those by the bay) and are very cheap. In some cases, the store might even have a section just for bait itself, where they will have chicken necks or scraps of some kind from the butcher shop.

chicken necks

2) Chicken Legs

Just like chicken necks, chicken legs are widely available in just about every grocery store imaginable. Sometimes you can find super cheap chicken meat that is half priced or even lower due to the fact that it is going to expire soon. This is the perfect time to snatch them up and use them for bait. Depending on how long you are out there crabbing, you can even reuse them in some cases if you don’t mind getting a little nasty handling the wet meat which has been on the bottom of the sea!

Simply re-bag them and keep them in a freezer (probably not your main freezer) until the next time you head out on the dock or the water.

chicken legs

3) Bunker

Probably the most classic type of crab bait is bunker. You’ll see plenty of people roll up to the dock with some fish heads, tails, and other smelly body parts that appear to be hacked to pieces. Each crab trap only needs a small sized portion, so you don’t need to put the entire fish into the trap. You want some guts hanging out with some blood in the water. If you’re squeamish, this hobby might not be for you!

Almost every bait shop should have bunker, so if you happen to pass one before finding a local grocery store, it might be the easiest way to go.


4) Bait scents, attractants, and oils

We have never used these, but my gut instinct is that they are BS! All you need is some standard food that’s nice and meaty, bloody, full of guts, or almost rotten. There is really no need to add anything else as far as we are concerned.

This is a great video to watch:

5) Cat Food

Oddly enough, some people use cat food as crab bait. While this is not our favorite choice, it can be effective. We prefer to go with fish or chicken as these old classics never fail!

Crabs will eat nearly any type of fish carcass used as bait. These include:

  • Flounder
  • Sea Bass
  • Eel
  • Shark
  • Bluefish
  • Tuna
  • Wahoo
  • Mullet
  • Lady Fish
  • Sardines

For other types of crabs such as stone crabs, pigs feet tend to work best because it will last awhile.

You can also buy some secret sauce from Bass Pro Shops!

Crabs can also be used as bait for fishing.

Pro-Cure Attractant Crab and Shrimp 16 oz.

Pro-Cure Attractant Crab and Shrimp 16 oz.


Aquatic Nutrition Crab Trap Bait

Aquatic Nutrition Crab Trap Bait