Eco crabbing in Dartmouth

Eco Crabbing in & Around Dartmouth

If you’re looking for a traditional seaside pastime which the whole family can get involved in, then why not have a go at crabbing. Whilst crabbing is a brilliant way to learn about the animals in our rivers and seas, sometimes it’s not so comfortable for them, so make sure to follow our steps below to ensure you and the crustaceans both enjoy your time! You only need a suitable location and a few bits of kit and you can get cracking.


•Before you start you’ll need to get your equipment ready, all you need is a bucket, a crab line, a net and some bait. Avoid hooks so that you don’t harm any animals, plus they’re not great for little fingers either!

•Half fill your bucket with river/sea water, from the location you will be crabbing, and put some bait in it for the crabs that you have caught to eat along with some seaweed if available so they have some shelter.

•Attach your bait to the string, crabs love bacon or squid.

•Drop your line into the water (making sure to keep hold of one end) until it has reached the bottom.

•You’ll now need to wait patiently, checking your line regularly to see if you have a bite.

•Bring up your line slowly and make sure you have your net ready so you can scoop any crabs into your waiting bucket.

•If you want to pick up the crabs, make sure you handle them carefully, picking them up from the back so they don’t nip you with their pincers.

•Always return the crabs to their natural habitat before you leave, ideally in the location where you caught them.

•Ensure you change the water in your bucket regularly, every ten minutes or so and don’t overcrowd it with too many crabs, they don’t enjoy being in confined spaces for too long. If you can leave them in the shade that’s also good for them as they’ll overheat in direct sunlight, if not just make sure to change the water even more often.

You can also try to reduce your impact on the environment by opting for eco crabbing sets as opposed to the regular ones. Lots of places now sell wooden crab lines and bamboo nets to minimise plastic meaning the only plastic piece of equipment you’ll need is a bucket! It’s also a great idea to keep hold of your bits so you can reuse them on your next holiday.

Dartmouth and the surrounding villages are the ideal places to give crabbing a go, here are the top local places to head;


The wonderful harbour side town of Dartmouth is perfect for crabbing and the best spot is along the embankment. Not only is there plenty of room to lay out your bucket, line, net and bait but you can enjoy fantastic views of the River Dart and Kingswear on the opposite side of the estuary.


Situated on a creek of the River Dart, the pretty village of Stoke Gabriel is often overlooked by visitors to the area due to its rural location, but the village is a crabbers dream. Along the banks of the quay or off the dam which forms the tranquil mill pond are the most popular crabbing spots.


Just upstream from Dartmouth on the west banks of the Dart is the attractive village of Dittisham. The water side community is a favourite of those looking for a relaxing day out or to try a bit of crabbing, the best place to head to drop your line is the pontoon.


If you fancy a day trip out of Dartmouth, but still want to give crabbing a go, then head to Kingsbridge or Brixham.


The traditional fishing town of Brixham is a real crabbing hotspot. Located on the opposite side of the River Dart at the south of Torbay, the town has a large and extremely pretty harbour which provides ample room for everyone to enjoy the activity.


To the west of Dartmouth is the estuary town of Kingsbridge, located at the top of the Salcombe/Kingsbridge Estuary, the tidal inlet is the ideally place to try crabbing. The best place to set up your bucket is on the Embankment near to the slipway at the far end of Quay car park.

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