Destination UK

Our Top 10 Tips for going Crabbing

Posted on
July 8, 2020

One of the kids favourite activities is to go crabbing and there are three good locations in East Dorset; Mudeford Quay, Poole Quay and Swanage.

Mudeford Quay is our favourite crabbing location as it has plenty of parking and facilities nearby, but it also means that it can get busy.

In the past we have used crab lines, but the crabs have a tendency to fall off as you bring them out of the water, so this time we used crab drop nets, which we found much easier to use.

Equipment you will need to go crabbing:


Once you have your equipment, with the exception of the crab bait, it can be also be used again at the beach for rockpooling, so it is a good investment.

How to go crabbing

1. Find a suitable spot on the harbour wall and make sure you supervise your children carefully. Mudeford especially has a very strong tide. It is much safer and shallower behind the restaurant on the harbour side for younger kids.


2. Add your bait to the net / line and throw it into the water, letting it rest on the sea bed. We started with bacon on this occasion and found the crabs were not interested. As soon as we added the fish, we were much luckier!


3. Fill your bucket with sea water so you have something to safely put your catch into.


4. Wait – crabbing is an activity for the patient. We check our nets every 5-10 minutes.


5. Raise your line / net, it should feel heavier. Sometimes it is just seaweed tangled up, but you may be lucky and haul in a crab or two. We also caught shrimps.


6. Put your crabs in your bucket of sea water. Clear ones are better as it gives the kids the chance to inspect the crabs without the fear of being nipped.


7. Make sure you have a couple of buckets and try not to put too many crabs in one bucket as they don’t like crowds and will start fighting if there are too many.


8. Try and keep the crabs in the shade if it is a hot, sunny day. They are not accustomed to bright sunlight.


9. Let them go safely back into the water when you have finished. We like to watch ours race back over the harbour wall.

10. Make sure you take everything home with you, being especially careful not to let any plastic fall into the sea.


Most importantly, have fun………it is a great activity to keep the whole family entertained.

Have you been crabbing before?

  1. Reply

    Sarah Flanagan

    July 8, 2020

    What a fun idea to spend time outside! I have never done this but we live 8 hours from the ocean!

  2. Reply


    July 9, 2020

    This is so much fun. We have never been crabing. Children are still too young but definitely in a future.

  3. Reply


    July 9, 2020

    OMG that sounds like really good fun. I know my kids would really enjoy doing this. Glad not much equipment is needed.

  4. Reply

    Yeah Lifestyle

    July 9, 2020

    We have never gone crabbing before and I am sure both my kids would totally enjoy the experience. Thanks for your step by step guide

  5. Reply

    Kristine Nicole Alessandra

    July 10, 2020

    That is a really good idea for a family activity. I would love to take my grandson to do this sometime when it is safe to travel. Thanks for your tips. Bookmarking this post for reference.

  6. Reply

    Liam | Whatthedadsaid

    July 10, 2020

    My kids love doing activities like this, living at the coast for many years, and not being far from places like Cromer we have done this many times. great post.

  7. Reply

    Niraj Shah

    July 10, 2020

    I have never done crabbing, but I can see why it would be good for a family activity! Also I have been Swanege before and loved it!

  8. Reply


    July 10, 2020

    Oh some really great tips here . We are off to the seaside for a little holiday at the end of this month and would love to try crabbing

  9. Reply

    Melanie williams

    July 10, 2020

    What a lovely idea for an activity to do with children. good to get them outside in the fresh sea air too x

  10. Reply


    July 10, 2020

    Oh wow this looks like lots of fun, I must admit though I have never been crabbing before!

  11. Reply

    Jennifer Gladwin

    July 12, 2020

    We’ve never actually been crabbing so this was such a helpful guide! I think the kids would love it.

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Are we nearly there yet? is a new online blog run by me, Kara Guppy, and is named as such thanks to my daughter Eliza who always asks that very question when we are less than 5 minutes up the road heading off on our adventures. You may know me from my other family blog