Going out on jetties, the small shore crabs are abundant. Ken writes that you can quickly catch as many as you need, but I find those critters are fast! They are off hiding in crevices long before I get close. Any hints on catching them?
This requires you have some other animal bait, but works pretty well. Place a piece of bait on the rocks, big enough that the crabs cannot pull it away. Watch and wait until they start feeding, then make a simple noose using some light fishing line and the tip of your rod or a straw. While they are feeding, slip the end of the loop over a claw, leg, or the middle of the crab's body. The crab may do one of three things: run, brush the noose off, or ignore it. Pull the noose tight quickly but not too forcefully. Lift the crab to a bucket or whatever holding container that you may have. Rinse and repeat.
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).