How to Rig Ghost Crabs for Surf Fishing

by James Clark
Common ghost crab. The vertical slit below the eye stalks is the mouth.

Common ghost crab. The vertical slit below the eye stalks is the mouth.

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Ghost crabs are the familiar, yellow crustaceans you see on the beach, scuttling along the shoreline. This crab species makes an excellent bait for surf fishing because it is a readily available food source for fish that move into shallow waters behind the wave breaks where the turbulence stirs up the sandy bottom. Rigging a ghost crab takes only seconds, but must be done precisely to keep the crab alive so it will continue moving underwater and attract fish.

Items you will need

  • Rod and reel spooled with line
  • Snap swivel
  • 1 oz. pyramid sinker weights
  • Barbed hooks size 2, pre-tied with line loop
Step 1

Tie a snap swivel to the end of your main line near the rod tip. Unclasp the snap swivel, which opens the same way as a safety pin.

Step 2

Place one pyramid sinker on the snap-swivel's open wire. The sinker is molded with a wire loop at the top for this purpose.

Step 3

Hold a hook by the straight shank with your thumb and forefinger so the barbed point is turned upward.

Step 4

Hold the ghost crab at the back of its body with your free hand. Watch out for the crab's pincers.

Step 5

Insert the point of the hook quickly into the crab's mouth, which is the vertical slit below the eye stalks.

Step 6

Turn the hook downward so that the barb emerges through the crab's shell at the bottom. The ghost crab can still move about freely with this rigging, without harming vital organs.

Step 7

Slip the loop on the end of the hook line onto the snap swivel and close the snap.

Step 8

Cast your bait gently behind breaking waves, where game fish gather in search of a meal. A gentle cast is essential to prevent the hook from ripping through the crab, sending your bait cartwheeling into the ocean.

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