Category Archives: crabs


Last weekend the Pania Surfcasting Club had a two day fish at Mohaka. I’d never fished Mohaka before so after work on Saturday morning I loaded up the van and headed up there not sure what to expect.

Blistering summer heat and clear skies are not ideal fishing conditions.

Blistering summer heat and clear skies are not ideal fishing conditions.

It was blistering hot (the weather not the fishing) so its no surprise bugger all was caught during the day. However the dusk and incoming tide combination produced an hour or so of ‘bite time’ on the Saturday evening, and a similar flurry at dawn on Sunday.

By 8pm Saturday evening I was still looking at an empty fish bin, and wondering if this trip would be yet another waste of gas. Then as the sun faded away the sharks came out. I landed a couple of small Tope and replaced the shredded traces. Then I caught a large paddle crab. Having not had any luck getting a Lemonfish to take my Prawn-Tails bait, I chopped the crab up and used that.

Fresh crab did the trick and I soon had a small lemonfish in the bin.
That was pretty much it for the evening. I fished until midnight and crawled into the van for a snooze.

Worth getting up early even just for the view...

Worth getting up early even just for the view…

Up again just before dawn and the sea was dead flat. At about 5am the gurnard came on the bite and I managed to catch two of them before the sun came up turned the fish off.
I fished until about 9am but the heat and lack of any more action persuaded me to call it a day.

The lemonfish was the first fish to go in my new smoker, it tasted great and smoking is now my preferred method of preparing those.  So although fishing was reasonably hard, the trip was still worthwhile and a feed of fish afterwards is all we can really ask for 🙂

Using Paddle Crab For Bait.

[singlepic id=52 w=320 h=240 float=right]I’m often asked what is the best way to rig a crab for bait. I’m not sure about “best”, but this is the way I do it.
Firstly, it helps to have small crabs rather than monsters like this! >>

You can catch plenty of them in a collapsible  opera-net. Just put a bit of old bait in the bag and drop it into any shallow water around here and you will have a bucket full of them in no time.
[singlepic id=119 w=320 h=240 float=right]
I find adding some lead weights to the bottom of the net helps keep the thing from rolling over in the surf. Also some people push a rod-stand or stake of some kind through the net to hold it down.

If you catch big crabs you can still use them, you just need to chop them up into smaller bits first.

Assuming you have smaller crabs for bait, this is how I rig them on a pulley rig with two hooks.
Remove the legs from one side of the crab. Insert the first hook into the centre-bottom of the crab and roll it out through one of the leg holes. Then insert the second hook  through the bottom of the crab and right out of the top of the shell. Bind the legs and trace to the shaft of the second hook with bait elastic.
[singlepic id=116 w=320 h=240 float=none]

[singlepic id=117 w=320 h=240 float=none]

If there are paddle crabs in the area you are fishing, you may need to add floats to the rig (as above) because the live crabs will quite happily eat the bait crabs from your hooks..

Paddle crabs, the surfcaster’s enemy?

Very big crabs out there at the moment.

I’ve been trying to catch a Snapper, or at least something other than a Kahawai around the local Napier beaches this month. Others have done it, so I’ve heard through the grapevine. In fact I’ve seen photographic evidence that Snapper do exist (or perhaps that should be past-tense did exist) in our local waters.

The problem at present is getting a bait to stay in the water for more than 2 or 3 minutes. There appears to be an absolute plague of paddle crabs around at the moment, and with nothing to eat them, they have free reign to strip your superbly prepared pilchard or skipjack baits before any fish can find them.

A recent southerly storm left the beaches around here littered with smashed up paddle crab shells. Seeing this I thought maybe it might make a dent in the population of these underwater rats. Not so. With no Snapper or Lemon Shark to eat the crabs, they have thrived on the carcases of their mates and there are some really big specimens out there!

When the crabs are about in these numbers there’s pretty much nothing you can do to stop them destroying your baits. Last night my floated baits were being decimated in 2-3 minutes. Re-bait one rod, cast it out, retrieve rod number two, re-bait that, cast it out. Back to rod number one, bait gone.

Using crab for bait to catch lemon sharks and snapper only works if those fish are about. You can be sure when the crabs are this active, there are no predators about. If the crabs are rampant and suddenly stop taking your baits, thats usually a sign that predators have turned up. And thats when you toss out a hook baited with crab.

Last night I caught several large paddle crabs, one of them was caught on paddle crab bait!

More Paddle Crab Info:,245.html