Crab Snaring 101 and FAQs Answered

Originally posted October 27, 2018

When you're crab snaring, the tide and current are the biggest factors. Ideally, you should shoot for to arrive two hours before a +1.0 low tide and fish for two hours or so, or until it gets too rough. If the waves are crashing too hard, it will more than likely put slack on your line and the snare causing the snare loop to open as well as possibly losing the crab. The calmer the water, the better for crabs - so shoot for going around a low tide. 

For bait, definitely bring along some squid and mackerel. You can get both at this store if you're local to San Francisco. There's a couple in the Sunset of SF. Get about a pound of each and that should be more than enough. 

Bring along a couple 3oz circle weights and a couple 5oz pyramid weights in case the current is strong. Attach those to the bottom of the snare with the heavy duty duo-lock clip and attach the snare directly to your line with the heavy duty snap swivel. Bring a couple snares also just in case you lose one.

30lb test line and higher is good, but 20 would work too as the minimum - just be careful not to break the line when casting! That snare + weight + bait makes it really heavy. Once you cast out the line, leave it out there for ~8 minutes and see if you got one. If not increase the time to 9-10 minutes. 10ft pole, and heavy reel are pretty essential for crabbing with a pole.

As for the location. Baker Beach is a hot spot for SF crabbers. Pacifica Pier, and basically any open sandy beach should get some crabs! (As long as it's calm.)

I'd recommend going on a weekday because it can get crowded on the weekends. If you can't avoid it, it should be alright. You won't have too much fishing competition. Other than that, if you can find a nice calm day when the current isn't strong, you should have lots of luck!

To sum it up:

  • Fish 2 hours before low tide and 2 hours after.
  • 3oz circle weights + 5oz pyramid in case the current is strong. Squid and mackerel for bait.
  • 10+ ft pole, 30lb braid, heavy reel.
  • Check lines every 8 min.
  • Bring home the crabs.


  • anonymous

    I am using an 8 ft rod, is that long enough to crab snare from the beach?

  • Domenic Anziano

    What is the name of your favorite sea sickness pills or patches

  • Fred

    How often do you change crab snare baits,

  • philip jerome litzinger

    how can i tell where you are fishing in your videos. ?

  • Gilbert

    Tip on retrieving snare crab:
    On the beach: Point your rod at the snare, take up all the line slack and than pull up hard and reel like mad. Like Matt said you don’t want the wave to put slack on your line. Also don’t pump your rod like you’re retrieving a fish, that put slack on your line too.
    On the jetty: Use the same retrieving method. But bring a net on a long pole, sometimes you’ll have hitchhikers that is not snared but is hanging on to the cage they will let go once it starts to come out of the water. Put the net under them before it clears the surface.
    Good luck 👍

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