Steve, I think you are right. Although I'm sure the language is primarily written for the larger edible crabs and lobsters, it does not make an allowance for appliances except in 29.80.h, which allows hand operated appliances: spades, shovels, hoes, rakes or other appliances, for sand crabs and shrimp. 29.85 Crabs, makes no mention of these small crabs, only crabs of the Cancer genus (Dungeness, yellow crabs, rock crabs, red crabs and slender crabs).
It would be a good question for the Department but I am not too sure they can answer it. At times, the people doing the actual enforcement are selective in what they will and will not enforce (which really complicates the issue for anglers trying to obey the laws). Do they enforce based strictly on what is written (or nor written) or do they enforce on intent? If on intent, they are making an individual decision on what they think was intended. Thus, no easy answer. Espoused theory or action based on the regulations versus real world decisions (and the game wardens aka enforcement personnel are not robots).