Found in tidal creeks, rivers and under boat ramps and piers, blue crabs make tasty eating at the dinner table and serve as a kind of tog bait, too. Blue crab bait remains quite popular to use due to its year-round availability. Anglers recommend female blue crabs, or sooks, over males, since fish find the orange, slimy goo inside them enticing.
Keep crabs alive until they become tog food by placing them on a piece cardboard that you've laid over ice. Then spread a layer of wet newspaper over the crabs to keep them moist and cool. Never store blue crabs directly on ice or in icy water, because that will kill them.
Break off the claws first so that you can easily handle the crab. Crabs get easily irritated and, if you attempt to remove other parts first, they may pinch. Remove the back shell of the crab by lifting the edge of the shell with a finger. Cut off the legs up to the second knuckle with a pair of bait scissors. Cut a small crab into two pieces, and a large one into three or four pieces.
Feed the hook through a leg or knuckle opening. Continue to feed the hook through the crab until the hook protrudes from the body out near the top shell and exposes the barb. If the orange, slimy goo washes out, discard the bait and replace it with a fresh piece. Without the goo, the bait will not lure the fish.
Observe the crab to confirm it can move. Motion enables the crab to stay alive on the hook, and live crab make more enticing bait. Remove the hook and re-hook the crab if it cannot move and wiggle freely.
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