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 hand lines, manually operated collapsible traps, or scoop nets without a license.
A license is required for crabbing using crab pots or trot lines.
The maximum harvest and/or possession limit of crabs is one bushel a day.
All female crabs having eggs or spawn attached shall be immediately released.
Permitted size of crabs: Peeler or shedder crabs 3 inches; soft crabs 3.5 inches and hard crabs 4.5 inches. All measurements are from point to point.
Keansburg Fishing Pier, Raritan Bay - Crab on the pier with good results if you can get close the the pilings with a scoop net
Bass River Bridge area, New Gretna - Under the parkway and Rt 9 bridge. Going south on Rt 9 go over the bridge make your first left or right and go back along the bridge. Especially enjoyable for kids.
Berkeley Island County Park - A good park for fishing and crabbing with a playground for the kids and a life guard patrolled bathing beach located on the other side of the park.Temporarily closed. Under redevelopment due to damage from Hurricane Sandy.
Seaside Heights, Barnegat Bay - The Seaside Heights docks on the Cranberry Inlet between Lavallette and Seaside.The bayside has two docks that are perfect for crabbing with a food concession stand, public restrooms, a boat ramp and crab boat rentals.
The Dock Outfitters
5 Rt 35 South
Seaside Heights, NJ
Offers crab boat rentals, a bait shop, and a free fishing/crabbing pier
Dock Road & Westecunk Creek, Eagleswood - At the end of Dock road as the creek flows into Little Egg Harbor.
Good Luck Point, Bayville - In Ocean Gate, just a little south of the Seaside Bridge.
Rt. 539 & Green Street, Tuckerton - At the end of the road, there is a small park area with railings around it, parking, a pavilion, and a bathroom. Good area for crabbing, especially with small children.
Great Bay Blvd at Seven Bridges Road, Little Egg Harbor - You can from the the first bridge as it has pedestrian walkway along one side, and crabbing along the banks of the creeks near the second and third bridges.
Mantoloking Bridge Fishing Pier County Park - 30 Mantoloking Road, Brick, NJ, South of Point Pleasant) on Rt. 528
A great location for crabbing and family activities. The fishing and crabbing pier is a new 70-foot long structure and includes a boardwalk, picnic area, sun shade gazebo, rest rooms, and lighted paths. Parking is free. They also have a ramp for launching boats, canoes, and kayaks. For your crabbing bait and equipment needs, Pell's Fish and Sport shop is located just north of the bridge on Mantoloking Road.
Ship Bottom (LBI)
Fishing and Crabbing Pier
25th Street and the Bay
West Point Island Bridge, Lavalette - Under the bridge connecting Lavallette to West Point Island.
Playhouse Road E., Mystic Island , Tuckerton - Before Big Creek Bridge. Crabbing along the edge of the lagoon, and the remains of an old dock area with pilings.
Windward Beach, Princeton Avenue, Brick Township - Has a pier with a depth of 6-8 ft of water
The waters surrounding Somers Point, NJ - Known to be some of the best on the Jersey Shore when it comes to crabbing. The locations include Patcong Creek, Great Egg Harbor Bay, Great Egg Harbor River, Middle River, Tuckahoe River, Tuckahoe-Corbin City Fish and Wildlife Management Areas, Peck Bay, Steelman Bay and Scull Bay.
The Route 52 Causeway fishing pier (located between Mays Landing Road in Somers Point and Ninth Street in Ocean City) - A popular hot spot for crabbing and fishing with anglers of all ages. There are four fishing piers within the 2.2 mile stretch of the bridge.
Mays Landing-Somers Point Road, Egg Harbor Township - On the way to Somers Point, on the left. Park park your car and wade through the tall grassy meadows to find a path to the water.
Poplar Ave, Linwood - Behind the Linwood Country Club, at the end of Poplar Ave.
Route 9, Absecon - Near the Holy Spirit high School, use traps or nets.
Cape May National Wildlife Refuge. - Along the creeks in the marshlands on Ocean Drive between Cape May and Wildwood Crest.
Lakeview Docks, Wildwood Crest - Pier for fishing and crabbing off Park Blv'd. open 7 am - 7 pm.
Charges a small fee for crabbing off the pier. Boat rentals also available.
Grassy Sound Marina Wildwood - Fishing and Crabbing Pier. 13 Old N. Wildwood Blvd. Between North Wildwood & Stone Harbor off Ocean Drive. (609) 846-1400.
They charge a small admission fee. They provide landing nets, picnic area, and toilet facilities. It is well-lit at night, family-friendly, and catches of Blue Claw Crabs are typical.