How to catch Blue Swimmer Crabs?

A very popular tropical species which are abundant during the warmer months of the year. These crabs are often found distributed throughout the Indian and pacific ocean. Along the north and eastern parts of Australia, east coast of Africa and southern Japan.

Identified by there dark blue/purple carapace (upper body) and a white underbelly. These crabs can grow up to 25cm measured from the carapace and 80cm if measured by the claw span.

These crabs are great for eating and are relatively easy to catch. Also, providing hours of fun. During the summer months, these guys can be located around the bays and estuaries.


Location, the best time of the day and tide conditions

If intending to target Blue swimmer crabs ideally target them early in the morning or late in the afternoon. As they are actively hunting and scavenging for food.

Tides do play a crucial role within the estuaries and bays. As high tides generally bring in Blue Swimmer crabs to feeding grounds which we’re previously exposed at low tide.

These guys are often found anywhere there is a sandy or muddy bottom with a few weed patches.


The best set-up to use for catching Blue Swimmer Crabs.

For land-based anglers like myself, I often target these guys from piers and rock walls. Setting up for Blue Swimmer Crabs and popular crabs, in general, are quite easy.

All you really need is a hoop net and A styrene float. Some locations will require your name, full address and the initials ‘HN’ to indicate it is a hoop net attached to the net. (Check local regulations regarding the requirements in your area)

This is where the Styrene float comes in handy as you can write all these details on the float and have it sitting above the water. Another cheaper alternative is by using a 3-liter empty milk bottle. But if this does get de-attached its harder for the plastic to breakdown at sea.

Keep in mind two very critical details when casting hoop nets and retrieving them. One, when casting out your hoop net from piers and rock walls throw further enough away to prevent any snags.

Two, when retrieving pull them out of the water as fast as possible. Often these crabs can swim out if the net is retrieved slowly.



Various baits can be used for Blue swimmer crabs and these can be attached with a bait pouch on the bottom of the net. Baits such as fish heads, fish frames, and chicken carcass are some of the popular options. From experience, I can vouch they all work if the location is right.


Regulations and catch limits

Blue Swimmer crabs do have restrictions in place and these can vary from state to state. Minimum size, catch limits, net types, and the number of nets can be found from your respective state guidelines. It’s best to check these prior to heading out on to the water.

As always practice safe crab handling and dispatch methods. If intending to keep your catch. Humanely dispatch the crab by putting the crab into an esky filled with an ice slurry. This slowly puts the crab to sleep and keeps the meat fresh.

Image and Information referenced via PIRSA (
Image and Information referenced via WARFR (

4 thoughts to “How to catch Blue Swimmer Crabs?”

  1. Thank you for this very informative article!  I so wish that I lived in areas where I could catch these crabs.  There is just nothing like fresh caught crab.  Restaurant crab can’t even compare!

    Your explanation about how to catch them is very clear so that even a beginner such as myself could do it.  My only concern is for the styrene or plastic floats getting away from you and ending up polluting our oceans so I would suggest that people wanting to do this take some extra care while out catching these delicacies.

    Having said that, I would be front and centre trying out this method and hoping to enjoy a luscious supper with my friend and family.  Very well written article!

    1. Hi Feochadan,

      Thanks for taking the time and reading my post and of course thank you for the awesome feedback 🙂

  2. What a beautiful little guy! Very interesting for those interested in crabs! My experience and opinion about this is that my wife and I have not traveled that way yet but if we do this has definitely given us some idea of how to catch and (and release of course back to his home where he belongs) check out this fella! 

    1. Hi Trevor,

      Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment! If you’re ever in this part of the world, definitely do give crabbing a go as it can be quite enjoyable. Plus Blue swimmer crabs are some of the tastiest.

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