How To Catch & Rig Mud Crabs (For Redfish, Black Drum, & Sheepshead)


Do you want to catch more redfish, black drum, and sheepshead?

Mud crabs are a great bait for these predator fish, and in this video, you’re going to learn how to catch and rig them.

Capt. Jud Brock of Eastern Angling is back and for this tip, he’s taking us on a field trip down to a muddy, rocky shoreline right next to the marina.

He’ll show you:

  • Where the best places to find mud crabs are (and the best tides)
  • How to tell the difference between mud crabs and stone crabs (stone crabs are heavily protected — you don’t want to use them as bait!)
  • What not to do when you’re looking for mud crabs
  • How to rig them to catch more fish
  • And much more

Check out the video below.

How To Catch & Rig Mud Crabs [VIDEO]

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In addition to the fact that redfish, blackdrum, and sheepshead love them, mud crabs make great baits because they’re hardy.

They’re easy to keep alive and they have a thick shell, so little fish won’t easily tear them up.

Now let’s talk about how to find and rig them.

How To Find Mud Crabs

To find mud crabs, just go to a rocky area at low tide where there is mud and medium-sized rocks.

In this video, we were at the marina where Capt. Brock keeps his boat, so you didn’t have to go far to find them.

Once you’ve found a rocky shoreline, look for rocks that have mud below them (not rocks that are sitting on top of other rocks) and that are underwater at high tide.

Flip them over and there’s a good chance there will be a mud crab under them.

And here are two warnings when looking for mud crabs:

  1. Make sure to bring a glove because there are usually lots of razor-sharp oysters around that could slice up your fingers. Plus, you don’t want to get pinched by the crabs.
  2. Make sure you’re not taking stone crabs. Stone crabs, which are protected, have purple claws, whereas mud crabs have brown claws.

How To Rig Mud Crabs

The first thing you need to do when rigging up mud crabs is to break off their claws.

Not only will this help you not get pinched, but it will also create a little hole where the claw used to be that’s perfect for placing the hook.

Capt. Brock likes to use a bottom sweeper jig and place the hook through the hole and out through the top of the shell.

And when you’re bringing the hook out of the top of the shell, do it carefully — you don’t want to bust up the whole shell.


how to catch sheepshead

If you’re targeting redfish, sheepshead, or black drum, mud crabs are excellent baits.

Just go down to a muddy, rocky shoreline at low tide and flip over some rocks to find them.

Then, tear off the claws and rig them on a bottom sweeper jig that will keep the crabs upright and attract predator fish to it.

Have any questions about using mud crabs for bait?

Let us know in the comments below!

And if you’re in North Carolina and want to book a fishing trip, you can find Capt. Jud Brock (@judbrockfishing) at

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Ron Wells
4 months ago

Can you catch mud crabs during the cooler months? If so, where? I’m in NC.

Chris Poore
2 years ago

Hi, great video. How do you store them on the way to the water? Do they need to be a little wet? Gotta keep them out of sun or fed or anything?

Michael Hogue
2 years ago

What is the range of mud crabs? Do we have them in South Carolina? I see fidler crabs and places sell them. Mud crabs are something new to me.


Josh Norris
2 years ago

Love the video, thanks for posting Wyatt and Jud! I just started targeting sheepshead and have used both mud and fiddler crabs. I *think* the mud crabs work better, but havent done enough to know for sure. One thing I’ve noted is that I would hook my crabs along the back side of the body (from back leg to opposite back leg), but didn’t push the hook through all the way. Thus far, I have had 6 sheepshead hooked up in 2 trips, but I only caught one as the rest of them pulled the hook, so I will need to experiment with this hook setup.

Gary Hartge
2 years ago

Thanks for showing the stone crab! Nice

Bill Zimmer
2 years ago

Great tutorial Wyatt. Can you tell us the best colors and size of the Bottom Sweeper Jig that you prefer. Thanks

Bill Woodhouse
2 years ago

Hey, Wyatt, just what I was looking for. Thanks!

Steven Carter
2 years ago

Great tips, thanks!


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