Peeler Crab article by John Staten
Peeler crab as bait will be top of most anglers lists of priorities at the start of the cod season also when the spring run of cod starts. Most anglers living near the coast will collect enough for their own needs when the crabs peel at different stages of the year. I know lads who collect 100's and either freeze them down or keep them in a fridge if they are to use them fairly quickly.
Peeler Crab is a top bait, especially along the east coast for Cod, Bass, and Rays.
If you are going to collect your own then the best place to look for peelers is under rocks which are just submerged in a few inches of water. You can normally find plenty of rock pools on flat rock scaurs, it's just a case of looking, the lower the tides the better. For one thing it gives you more time on the rocks and also the sea drops away a lot further than an a neap tide, so uncovers more of the shore for you. Check your 'tide tables' for times and heights of tides.
Some guys put out tyres and pipes to catch their peeler in, most folk will know of this method but a word of warning or should I say caution? If you do know or come across tyres that have been put down by someone else DON'T think they are there for just anyone to check, in law they probably are not owned by anyone but morally, if some guys have gone to the trouble and hard work of putting a set of tyres down then they will be mighty annoyed at catching someone else going through their tyres and pinching, as they would reckon, their peeler crab! I have seen it lead to all sorts of trouble so they are best left alone.
The best time of year to search for your peeler crab is from April through to late September. In different parts of the country the crabs peel at different times, so you will need to get some local knowledge on the peeler crab moulting times in your area. Ask in your local tackle shop or alternatively, the forums on the internet can be a great source of information, IF, questions are asked in the right manner!
Global warming does appear to be effecting the peeler crab moulting times with the season often starting earlier and finishing later in the season. It will be interesting to see how 2010 pans out after the winter we have had!
When you do find a crab under the rock then the next step is to check to see if it really is a peeler crab. Gently twist and pull the last section of the crabs back leg until it comes away. If there is another soft leg underneath then the crab is moulting and can be used as bait. If the underneath leg appears clear and sinewy then it isn't a 'peeler crab'. Practice makes perfect.
The one thing to remember when presenting peeler crab on the hook is not to obscure the hook point in any way, make sure you use elasticated cotton to tie it to your hook, a few turns around the crab should do. You can then ensure that the hook point is clear.
Although I have talked about peeler crab being a top bait for Cod it is just as effective for other species such as Bass, most types of 'flatfish' and many others when presented at the right time of the season. It can and often will outfish most other baits when nothing else is catching on it's day.
If you buy or get your own and you're unsure how to prepare a peeler crab then have a look at this link, step by step instructions, absolutely fabulous and you won't go wrong following the advise on here....Peeler Crab Preparation.
There is also a very good video made by Alan Yates on how to prepare and present a peeler crab on You Tube.
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