Build Your Own PVC Crab or Lobster Trap
Disclaimer! Check your local regulations to be sure this type of trap is legal to use in your area!
I was looking for a lightweight, cheap, non-corroding crab trap design. I needed it to be cheap because there were several locations I wanted to trap. The problem I found with crab traps is that DIY designs are far and few between. The ones I did find were not what I was looking for. So I came up with this little number. It is simple, cheap and light-weight.
There are only a few steps to building one. You can build three or four in an afternoon. Materials are readily available at any big chain hardware store.
Materials you need:
- ½" PVC. How much depends on how large you want your trap, they come in 10' sections.
- ½" PVC elbows with side outlets (for each corner) - 8 per trap
- PVC glue (blue fast dry)
- ¼" Eyebolts 2" long with nuts - 4 per trap
- Chicken wire
- 20 gauge galvanized wire (picture hanging wire)
- Poly rope, depends on the depth you need to reach
- 1 Carabineer (fast release metal clip)
- 1 small mesh laundry bag (bait bag)
- 6" heavy duty zip ties
- Drill and bits
- Snips for the chicken wire
- Pliers (safety wire pliers are optional, but they make the job easier)
- Measuring tape
It's really simple.
- First, take the PVC pipe and elbows and build a rectangular box.
- Drill holes for the eye bolts along the top pipes. Drill drain holes in the corners, and along the sides.
- Wrap the sides, top and bottom with chicken wire. Secure with the galvanized wire by twisting.
- Cover one end with a square of chicken wire. Hinge it from the top with zip ties. You'll secure the bottom with another zip tie, string, or whatever after the bait is loaded.
- Make a funnel out of chicken wire for the other end. There is going to be some bending and shaping involved to make it fit. The funnel entrance should be at the bottom of the trap. The exit should be in the middle of the trap. Make sure your holes are large enough to let the prey in. Attach this with the galvanized wire.
- Attach your eye bolts.
- Take two lengths of rope make a loop in the middle and splice loops on all ends (four loops) inside the eyebolts. Make sure the lengths of rope are very close to the same length.
- Take remaining rope and splice a loop on the end. Attach the carabineer to the loop. This will attach to both middle loops of the ropes attached to the eyebolts.
Very simple. Put some bait in the mesh bag. Zip-tie it to the bottom of the trap. Attach your rope and throw it in the water. Secure your rope on something, our use a bouy. Wait a few hours and pull it up.
The use of galvanized wire to secure the chicken wire it a self destruct mechanism. If the trap gets lost in the water, the wire will corrode away and the trap will just be a PVC frame. Though it may be annoying for a fisherman to catch a PVC frame, at least no animals will continue to get trapped by it.
If you experience pretty rough tides you may want to attach some weight as well. I make my own with concrete and an eyebolt. 5lb barbell wieghts work good too.
Also, because the materials corrode in saltwater, make sure you do a fresh water rinse after ever use.