Hope Cove beaches

Crabbing in Dartmouth

Crabbing in Dartmouth is one of the most popular pastimes for all the family. Stroll along the embankment and you’ll find children (and adults) lying on their bellies or crouching over crabbing lines and buckets.

But what makes crabbing such a compelling challenge and such fun? For children it’s the excitement of the catch and the opportunity to compete with each other to see who can hook the most crabs or the biggest crab. And for us adults, it’s the sheer escapism and spending family time together in a shared pastime without the pressures of everyday life. You only have to stroll past the lines of sprawled bodies and hear the squeals of delight and see the wide smiles… and that’s just the grownups!

Picture your six year old self… you’re perched on the riverside staring into the clear waters of the River Dart (when else would you be allowed to do that?!). You’ve been given a crab line and bait to try and hook yourself a crab, perhaps with an icecream in hand too, you try to conceal both from those pesky seagulls who are intent to join in on the fun!

How to go crabbing

  • Go crabbing when the tide is coming in for the best crabbing experience
  • tie on your bait, throw your line out as far as possible into the water ideally over seaweed where the crabs might be hiding 
  • loosely hold the line until you feel a crab nibbling the bait – you may need to have a little patience here so wait – about 5 minutes should be plenty.
  • when you feel the crab munching the bait, gently pull in the line, you’ll need to do this slowly so that the crab isn’t aware of what’s happening, be careful not to bash it against the wall
  • have your net ready to scoop up the crab before you lift it from the water then, pop it into a bucket of water and show off your catch to everyone! 

And finally…

Be careful not to overcrowd the crabs in the bucket and try to pop it into the shade.

These are Shore crabs and they’re not edible… so don’t try cooking them. So, when you’ve admired and counted your catch, carefully release the crabs back into the water and watch them scuttle away. We’d love to see your photos!

A word of advice…remember to keep little hands and feet away from pincers, the crabs can nip in self-defence!

For more crabbing advice check out our Top 5 Mistakes When Crabbing .

We take our crabbing seriously here in South Devon, so much so, there’s even a dedicated Crab Festival . So if you fancy joining us why take a look at Finest Stays range of luxury accommodation.

Things to do in Dartmouth
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