Fiddler Crabs as Bait

Fiddler crabs are one of the best baits you can use when fishing for Sheepshead, Red Drum and Black Drum. The beauty of using fiddlers is you can buy them locally or find them in the wild. When sheepshead are running these little guys are so popular, they become a high priority for many anglers. Their scarcity during the sheepshead season could force you to use other baits.

If you are new to sheepshead fishing and have never tried fiddlers you have to make it a priority in 2022. You can find fiddler crabs at select bait stores like Daves Outpost on Sunset Beach. If you do not know a location that sells them, you can always catch your own. They can always be found during low tide under the bridge here at Ocean Isle.

If you’re going to use fiddler crabs for bait, try to grab them from behind or by the claw so you don’t get pinched, and when you’re rigging them, rig them from the bottom up through the middle of the body with your hook. You can use just about any variety of hook to rig these up as bait and the method is all the same. Bring the hook up from the bottom of the crab through the middle of the body and out of the top. Although the pincher is big compared to their bodies, it actually doesn’t hurt too bad when they pinch you. Here are two ways to avoid getting pinched when you grab them:

  • Grab them by the claw
  • Grab their bodies from behind

You can also use pliers to grab them, but be careful because they’re fragile and you want to keep them alive and well to attract hungry fish.

As for what size hook, I like to go with a #1 to 1/0 hook. I try to use a smaller, thinner hook because thick hooks can kill these crabs quickly. And finally, some people think that you should remove the claw, but I like to keep it on. It acts like an added enhancer for the fiddler crab to wave down hungry Sheepshead.

Author: Michael