Finding Peeler Crabs On The Shore
So many times I hear people say they went peelering but were unable to find any peeler crab. What instantly comes to mind for me is that they were likely looking in the wrong area. On the shoreline of the open sea (this does not apply to estuaries) peeler crabs frequent rock pool areas on flat scars like the area in the picture below.
Above : The perfect place for finding peeler crab
The best place to look for peelers is under rocks which are just submerged in a few inches of water. The best time of year to search for your peeler crab being from April through to late September. However in different areas of the country the crabs peel at different times therefore you will need to find some local knowledge on the peeler crab moulting times in your area. In the north east the peeler crab moult from late May through to late July and then for a second time from early September through until the end of October, global warming does appear to be effecting the peeler crab moult with the season often starting earlier and finishing later in the season.
Above : Finding Peeler crabs in rock pools
Single rocks laid against a slight ledge are also a good place for collecting peeler crabs.
Above : Single rocks with a hole underneath are a good bet when collecting peeler crabs
To find your peeler crabs you simply lift up the rocks and look under them. Remember though to replace the rock exactly as you found it being careful not to trap any weed under the rocks. Ensuring you leave the crabs environment exactly as you found it will guarantee the next time you return another crab will have inhabited the area.
If you are lucky enough to find a peeler crab under the rock then the next step is to check to see if it is a peeler crab. To do this remove the last section of the crabs back leg. If there is another soft leg underneath then the crab is in the moulting stage and can be taken home to prepare for use as bait. Those crabs that are not quite ready can be stored in tanks as described below, any crabs that are almost ready to peeler can be peeled and stored in the freezer for later use.
Once you have collected your peeler crab you will need to keep them until they are shedding their shell and ready for use as bait or freezing down. Please click here to learn more about keeping peeler crab.
Peeler Crab Video
The following video starring Alan Yates of Sea Angling Fame gives lots of information on peeler crabs. Alan describes how to identify peelers, why they peel, how to keep peelers, how to peel them and prepare the crab for bait. All the information you need is here.