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Crabbing in Kingswear

If you’re planning a holiday in one of our Finest Stays properties and you’re familiar with our website, you’ll already know that crabbing is big business here in South Devon. Not only by the crab fishermen who head out to sea with their crabbing pots but also by visitors (and locals) who line the embankment on both sides of the River Dart.

So when we talk about crabbing in Kingswear, we’re talking about the smaller inedible Shore Crabs. This little crustacean is enticed onto the line by a piece of bacon (or a smelly mackerel head if you can find one!) Once the bait is taken, the line is then very gently pulled up and the little crab is plopped into a waiting bucket of sea water. Avoid overcrowding the bucket… just put in a few crabs at a time to observe their antics, before carefully releasing them back into the water. 

Kids love crabbing; it gives them a sense of freedom (which is often so restricted) and takes you back to a childhood when you were free to play, explore the shallows and discover an underwater world in the rockpools on the beach. What could be better than lying flat on your tummy with both arms hanging over the embankment wall, line in hand and bucket filled with water at the ready.

Crabbing in Kingswear is great fun for all the family and one of those kids’ bucket list  ‘must do while on holiday’ things. The Finest team recommends holding a crabbing challenge; the excitement is all in the catch and to see who can hook the largest or the most crab. The kids will soon have you joining in and believe us when we say it’s pretty addictive! What can be better than a bit of sheer escapism and spending time with the family doing something that’s fun.

How to go crabbing in Kingswear

  • The best time to go crabbing in Kingswear is when the tide is coming in
  • Tie your bait onto the line and cast it out as far as possible into the water. Try and aim for some seaweed where the crabs may well be lurking 
  • Hold the line loosely until you can feel a slight nibble on the bait. Be patient.. this can take a little while, perhaps wait for 5 minutes before pulling in the line
  • Prepare your net and have it ready to scoop the crab before you lift it out of the water 
  • When you feel a tug on the line, gently pull it in, take it easy so that the crab isn’t aware of what’s happening and try not to bump it on the wall as you bring it in
  • Pop the crab into the bucket of water.

Once you have compared, counted and admired your catch, release them gently back into the water and watch them scuttle away.

Don’t forget

The crabs can nip in self-defence so remember to keep little fingers and toes away from the pincers!

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

Or visit the Salcombe CrabFest which is usually held at the end of April/early May each year.