4 Ways To Retrieve Artificial Crab Lures For More Strikes


One of the less popular — but really effective — types of lures are artificial crab lures.

And since they’re not as popular, I’ve gotten many questions asking about how to retrieve them.

There are four different ways I typically retrieve them and in this video, I’ll show you all four.

I’ve used these methods to catch lots of sheepshead, redfish, and black drum on them, and I know they’ll help you too.

Check it out below.

How To Retrieve Crab Lures [VIDEO]

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If I’m targeting redfish and black drum with crab lures, I almost always put Pro-Cure on (unless I’m using Gulp Peeler Crabs) because, especially in dark water, these fish will be relying heavily on their sense of smell to find prey.

And out of these next four ways to retrieve crab lures, the first three are mainly for redfish and black drum, while the last method is mostly for sheepshead.

Let’s dive in!

Method #1: Drag method

Smaller crabs will scuttle along the bottom, and when you rig them on a jig head or weighted hook and slowly drag them along muddy or sandy bottom, they’ll look natural, stir up the mud and sand and attract fish.

I like to use this method especially if I’m casting to structure like a dock or along tree-lined shorelines.

Method #2: Drag and drop

With this method, I’ll cast out my lure, let it sink to the bottom, slowly pull it up to the surface, let it drop back down, and repeat.

Usually fish will hit it on the drop, so be sure to reel in the slack as it’s dropping.

Method #3: Erratic retrieve

This is the method I use the least, but I have caught fish by erratically retrieving a crab lure like I would a shrimp lure.

This generates reaction strikes and I usually only use it in really dark water when fish are likely to feel something swim by and instinctively hit it.

I typically avoid this retrieve if I’m fishing in clear water where they might take their time and look at it.

Method #4: Dropping along pilings

This is my favorite method for fishing bridge or dock pilings for sheepshead.

Just drop it straight down, let it sit for a second, then bring it up and try another piling.

I’ve caught sheepshead, black drum, redfish, and even mangrove snapper this way.


crusty crab black drum

Artificial crabs make great baits for sheepshead, black drum, and redfish, and they work best when dropping them along pilings or slowly dragging them along the bottom near structure.

Have any questions about using artificial crabs?

Do you have any other methods for retrieving them?

Let me know down in the comments!

And to get the crab lure I was using in this video click here:

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Matt Loutzenhiser
2 years ago

Tony how do you determine the size to use? Do they follow the same seasonal trends as paddle tails?

Matt Price
2 years ago

thanks for the tips. I had problems feeling the bait on the bottom when i first started fishing the crusty crab so i put a 1/4oz split shot 6 or so inches up the leader and that really helped


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