In terms of numbers caught, recreational crabbing in New Jersey exceeds recreational fishing catches of bluefish, flounder, black sea bass and striped bass.
Crabs can be caught from a rental row boat using a drop line or a scoop net along the bay dock pilings, or with a net and bait along the side of a creek, Less popular but very effective is trot lining. It's a long line, resting on the bottom and anchored at both ends with a string of bait attached at intervals of two to six feet.
Recreational crabbing bait, Chicken necks are very popular with recreational crabbers using crab traps and hand lines.. They are durable do well in attracting crabs. Bull Lip is another increasingly popular recreational crabbing bait. It's great for trot lining since it is durable and inexpensive. It's a slice of meat from the facial area of beef. Bull lip can be purchased from any meat slaughterhouse.
While the crabbing season in New Jersey runs from March 15 until November 30, and from April 16 until December 14th in the Delaware Bay, the peak crabbing season runs from mid June, topping in the month of August, and until early October when the water temperature exceeds 55 degrees.
Crabs may be taken with single hand lines, manually operated collapsible traps, or scoop nets, without a license.
A license is required for recreational crabbing using crab pots or trot lines.