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Old 04-28-2008, 06:33 AM
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Default using crabs for tarpon bait..what size

I'm told that crabs are at times the best bait for large tarpon in the keys. My question is what size crabs are best? I have no idea how big is too big, or too small..can someone help? Measuring point to point across the crab....
Thanks for your help
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Old 04-28-2008, 07:00 AM
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Default Re: using crabs for tarpon bait..what size

Small blue crabs are best used on an outgoing tide. Take a long handled shrimp dip net with you and you might be able to catch your own on a strong outgoing tide as they are frequently found on the surface clinging to clumps of grass. The best size is small - most tarpon guides in the Keys like the crab's carapace (body) size to be about the same size as a half dollar to a silver dollar in diameter. Most bait shops in the Keys have crabs year around because they are also the favorite food or bonefish and permit.
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Old 04-28-2008, 12:57 PM
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Default Re: using crabs for tarpon bait..what size

Steve, unlikely a tarpon with a mouth the size of a bucket will care about size. Since Ga has a size limit on blue crabs, those who like small offerings can break the legal ones in half. Crabs also work for cobia, too ...
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Old 04-28-2008, 06:29 PM
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Default Re: using crabs for tarpon bait..what size

keys sure thing
go outside small bridge between channel 5 bridge and ann's beach, fish incoming tide, the day before beg some dolphin and kingfish carcass at charter boat row. anchor about 50 /100 yds from bridge, chum with carcasses and bait with head or skin. you can brag about lures and crabs as you show pictures when you get home. need heavy tackle around bridge. a long handle net will get you some small crabs along beach area, they will be running on bottom in less then 2 ft water.
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Old 04-30-2008, 05:57 AM
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Default Re: using crabs for tarpon bait..what size

Bigger is better, tarpon love crabs. Use a circle hook and a small balloon about 3'-4' above.
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Old 04-30-2008, 06:28 AM
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Default RE: using crabs for tarpon bait..what size

Believe it or not but 1/2 a catfish is the best tarpon bait I've seen.
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Old 04-30-2008, 08:14 AM
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Default RE: using crabs for tarpon bait..what size

OK..Bigger is better! As you said, with a mouth like a bucket, what difference does size make? Love it..
Thank you all for for help!
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Old 05-05-2008, 05:05 AM
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Default Re: using crabs for tarpon bait..what size

They will also be for sale at the local bait shops. A little pricey and sometimes supplys are iffy since they bring them in from the west coast of Fl. You can drift them up under the bridges like yellowtail fishing but you have to be quick when they stirke since they will try to run for the pilieing. Use an anchor ball and thow off as soon as you get a stirke and try to move the fish away from the bridges. Also watch out for large hammerheads that will attack hoomked tarpon. The bahia honda bridge is a great place and you will see schools of them churning up the water probably starting about now and going into June.
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Old 05-05-2008, 05:53 AM
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Default RE: using crabs for tarpon bait..what size


2-3" across the carpice is what you want for size. The tarpon feed on these crabs as they're flushed off the flats on a strong falling tide. The west coast of FL has the greatest "Crab Flush" in FL and as already mentioned, that's where this started. Bring a net on the boat with you and you can scoop them up while your fishing.

The smaller crabs are more susceptable to the strong tides and therefore, are more common. That's what the tarpon are looking for.

The crabs are also great baits for cobia and permit over the wrecks. Hint, Hint, ...
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