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The Definitive Guide to Crab Traps for 2023

Crabbing is a wonderful hobby that is relaxing, great for the family, and easy to get started even if you have no experience. This list recommends some of the top recreational crab pots.

Many people that live on the east or west coast show an interest in catching crabs, but don’t know where to begin when it comes to selecting the right traps, pots, accessories, supplies, and bait. We have created a guide that can offer many recommendations as to the best choices and advice. These will work well for both blue crabs and dungeness crabs. There are many types of crab traps that you will need to consider when heading out to the water.


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The Top Beginner/Intermediate Traps

If you are a beginner, you should start with the basics and never spend too much on larger or expensive traps. First time crabbers should go with a variety of simple and cost-effective cages and rings that can get your started very quickly.

The following is a list of recommendations and reviews from The Crabbing Zone:

Willapa Complete Crab Pot Kit (Best Overall)

This trap is highly rated and comes with both a bait box and bouy, which are essentials for the average crabber.

Pot features a four-gate, black vinyl-coated wire design. Four-way bridle rope. Opens from the top for easy dumping of crabs. 25″ round. Comes complete with 100 ft. of 1/4″ twisted poly rope, attached crab buoy, line weight with snap, bait box and crab gauge. Made in USA.

This is a great buy because it comes with additional accessories that are very useful depending on where you will be dropping your pots.

A buoy is especially helpful if you paddle out into the middle of the water and deploy a trap when you can’t access it from land. This will help you pinpoint the location and come back to it later. It also comes with 100 feet of rope, a bait box, and a crab gauge which is similar to a caliper (to determine if the size is legal).

If you are an intermediate crabber or experienced pro looking to upgrade your arsenal, or you are simply looking to add more supplies to your existing equipment, you can’t go wrong with this great set. We love these complete kits because they have all of the essentials and also make a wonderful gift idea for the watermen in your life.

For the quality and price, you can’t go wrong. Load up on 3-4 of these and you should be set for years!

Promar Collapsible Deluxe Crab Trap

Promar Collapsible Deluxe Crab Trap

Ring traps are ideal because they are inexpensive, easy to use, and are reliable for catching and keeping crabs in the trap itself. This style is preferred over cage traps because squares, boxes and pyramids that have openings and doors tend to get stuck or misaligned.

  • Convenient collapsible design with carry handle
  • Folds down to just 2″ for compact storage and transport
  • Quickly pops open for easy setup
  • Dual 6″ entrances

The cage variety have doors that snap shut when you pull hard on the line to bring up the cage when a crab is inside. The problem is that sometimes with a rough current, overgrown seabed, or poor product construction, these pull-close doors come unhinged. Grab these wire ring traps and hit the pier!

American Blue Claw 3/4 Size Crab Trap Kit

American Blue Claw 3/4 Size Crab Trap Kit

For those of you that would like to start with a quality box shaped trap, we highly recommend the American Blue Claw 3/4 variety. This particular version comes with a bait cage which is a very underrated accessory when it comes to crabbing gear. When pulling your crabs up from rough waters, you want to have a strong grip and a taut line when you pull. The problem is, many people use a very poorly made harness or string that simply cannot withstand the current and salty waters over time. This trap delivers on all accounts.

  • Premium quality crab trap
  • Rugged galvanized steel wire construction
  • Black vinyl PVC coating for saltwater use
  • 6″ ball float with 15′ of #6 crab rope
  • 2 entrance funnels on 2 levels
  • Mid-trap bait holder
  • Complies with Southern Gulf Coast and East Coast regulations
  • Includes turtle excluders

If you are going to invest in a product that stands the test of time, then look no further. We will recommend a few more items that are very similar to this one, in case they are out of stock.

Advanced Crabbers

The following pots are generally recommended for intermediate to advanced crabbers due to the skill needed to use them properly. Many of these models come with accessories that may be foreign to the beginner. Others are fairly large and aren’t really necessary for a person that rarely hits the waters or simply ventures out with the family once or twice per crabbing season.

Protoco Crab Traps

Medium 2-Tunnel or Ultra Lite 3-Tunnel

Protoco Crab Trap

One of the highest rated traps you can buy, the Protoco models are well known in the crabbing world! This model is extremely well made and super durable. It is perfect for the crabbing enthusiast that pushes it to the limit with the locations that they like to go.

Also notice the interior bait box. This is good when you are trying to keep your bait from wandering off with a rogue crab or group of crabs. Cheaply made traps often are not able to secure the chicken necks, bunker, or any other type of bait that you might use. You pull up your pot only to find that your bait has mysteriously disappeared! Many people often buy up to three of these bad boys and they are set for life.


  • Medium 2-Tunnel Crab Pot – 10″H x 24″W, 20 lbs.
  • Ultra Lite 3-Tunnel Crab Pot – 10″H x 30″W, 19 lbs.


Promar Collapsible Crab Trap

Promar Collapsible Crab Trap

We can’t stress it enough. If you want to continue with this hobby for years to come, you should invest in some very strong and durable traps that can withstand salt water, rough currents, rocky bottoms, turtle invasions, and anything else that you might encounter.

This is a staple in our arsenal and we have rarely if ever needed to replace any of them. Promar is a trusted name in crabbing, so we stand behind this recommendation and are very confident you will find exactly what you are looking for when it comes to gearing up.

  • Vinyl-coated steel frame
  • Heavy-duty poly netting
  • Steel hinged access door
  • Extremely sturdy and durable
  • 3 tunnel entrances with mesh entrance ramps
  • Measures 32″ W x 12″ H when open
  • Collapses down to less than 2″ high when not in use
  • Easy stacking, packing, and hauling

Essential Supplies

If you have existing pots or traps that need an upgrade, we recommend purchasing just the additional supplies that you may need. The following items are great add-on items, attachments, or gift ideas for the crabber in your life.

The following list is our essential guide to supplies for the 2020 crab season:


SMI Four-Arm Crab-Trap Harness

If you are dealing with strong currents or rough conditions in general, you’ll want to ensure that you are pulling your line with a strong harness at the end that is attached directly to your crab cages or rings.

SMI Four-Arm Crab-Trap Harness


Promar Leaded Rope

Promar Lead Line is the best rope for crab pots in our opinion. If you are throwing traps off a very high pier or bridge, you might need some additional line. This is also good in case your existing line gets snagged or you need to make a cut. Always have some backup rope ready to go!

Crab Rigging Kit – Line and Buoy

  • For setting, marking, and retrieving crab traps & pots
  • 100′ of 5/16″ leaded line to sink and hold your trap down
  • 5″ x 11″ bright red and white commercial float

Crab Caliper

crab gauge

Many states have laws about the size of crab that you are allowed to keep. This handy gauge allows you to quickly measure your catch to ensure that you are not breaking the law. Always remember to throw females back regardless!


Well, that’s it for this expert guide to pots for crabbing. If you would like to learn more about the other areas of crabbing, please visit the following pages: