Remedial question - Recommended bait for crabbing (vs. feeding the sea lions...)

Managed to get my kids to Muni Pier this past Sunday just in time for the afternoon slack high tide. I picked up some fish heads and scraps from the 99 Ranch earlier and was psyched to show my kids how I used to catch crabs with their grandpa. Anyways, no sooner did we drop the hoop net, when we saw a couple of small sea lions surface. Was neat for the kids to see, but I knew exactly what it meant. We managed maybe about an hour of undersized dungees that were tossed back (and not a sign of a red or rock), before the last of the bait was stolen. Those jerk water mutts even managed to tear off my bait bag with the last one.

SO... before we try again, what's the recommended bait for crab that seals won't take? Raw chicken?

At least my kids also got into some fish for C&R, mainly shiners and some small rockfish. Snapped a pic of my older daughter with her biggest rockfish to date - a brown at about 7" and some change. Cheers.

For hooping even the metal bait cages get destroyed from the seals. The go to thing now is PVC pipe with 3/4 in holes in it, one glued on cap and the other just pressed on. Fill it with mackerel, salmon heads, sardines or whatever oily fish you can get. Zip tie it to the net real good and you will be set.

Good Luck


Senior Member
The bait is not the issue the bait holder is the issue.

Forget the pocket in the middle of the net.

After many years of experimenting with many different kinds (ready made or purchased), I have found the best that has worked.

Roach Coach Bait Cage Crab Lobster Trap Bait Cage Seal Proof Large Capacity | eBay

I bought them at the Fred hall show, so I did not pay the asking above.

It has two choices, one full size holes, then you can turn the insert and the holes would be i/2 size.

Personally, at the end of the night, I rather have crab/lobster than bait leftover. Thus, i use the full size holes.

Reel Newbie

Well-Known Member
From what I’ve seen at the muni pier, the seals don’t really bother bait that are in cages. I’ve had seals try to drag my nets under before I built some bait cages. I used some hardware cloth about the size that they use for crab snares and I made about a 4”x4”x2” box to keep my bait. Just make sure to zip tie them on tight. After a couple years of use they haven’t rusted out yet and the seals don’t really touch them. As for bait I just use whatever’s leftover from other fishing trips, usually some old anchovies and squid, mixed with a few chicken carcasses from Chinatown or chicken drumsticks. I haven’t got a second picture, but the small grey cage to the right is what I use to put my bait. 4B343932-3FC2-4694-AF35-A54DB64383A9.jpeg