Crabbing in Dartmouth

Children of all ages (and adults!) love the fun of dangling a line over the side of a quay in the hope of catching the biggest crab – it’s a seaside tradition!

Dartmouth is a crabbing hotspot – the embankment is the ideal spot to while away hours – competing against friends and family for the most crabs in the bucket. 

Most shops in Dartmouth sell buckets, line and bait so you can try your hand at crabbing – all you need to bring is patience!

We want you to have a ‘clawsome’ time crabbing in Dartmouth – but we also want to make sure the crabs are safe and don’t get hurt during the process. We have your definitive guide to crabbing below to ensure no harm comes the the crabs – and you have the most fun you can!


Bucket, crab line, bacon, a net and plenty of patience!

Fill your bucket with sea or river water. Wrap some bacon on your crab line (remove the hook). Lower your crab line into the water until it has reached the bottom. Wait a few minutes then gentle pull the line up. Crabs should be munching your bacon! Drop them gently into your bucket (making sure not to over crowd the bucket).  Don’t forget to change the water regularly and shade the bucket from the sun. After counting them, return them gently to the water.

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do add rocks and seaweed to the bucket to help replicate the crab’s natural environment and reduce stress
  • Do change the water regularly to avoid asphyxiation. Fill your bucket with sea or river water depending on where you're crabbing.
  • Do hold your crab correctly - gently hold it either side of its shell or pick it up with one finger on top of the shell and one finger underneath - avoiding the claws though!
  • Do remove any crabs which are fighting.
  • Do remember to take all your equipment and rubbish home with you.
  • Don’t put too many crabs in one bucket.
  • Don’t keep them all day long – return them to sea or river.
  • Don’t store your bucket in the sun
  • Don’t use a line with a hook on. Tie your bacon on or use an old pair of tights/bit of net to hold your bacon in.