I was looking for a lightweight, cheap, non-corroding crab trap design and decided to build my own.
How to Make Your Own Crab or Lobster Trap
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 lightweight.
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.
Note: Before building, check your local regulations to be sure this type of trap is legal to use in your area.
Materials you need
- 1/2" PVC. How much depends on how large you want your trap, they come in 10' sections.
- 1/2" PVC elbows with side outlets (for each corner), 8 per trap
- PVC glue (blue fast dry)
- 1/4" 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, or use a buoy. Wait a few hours and pull it up.
The use of galvanized wire to secure the chicken wire is 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 freshwater rinse after every use.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Nasser on March 09, 2018:
Looks great and simple to make, will make one. What type of bait is used fo lobsters?
because california sucks on November 30, 2013:
Jae on June 10, 2013:
How come this can't be used in California?
CZCZCZ from Oregon on May 23, 2012:
Interesting set up, was cool to read.
dale haslem on March 11, 2012:
Thankyou for the excellent lobster trap plans. From the photos of the traps it appears they are enclosed in a 1/4 inch black plastic mesh webbing in addition to the chicken wire. No mention of it in the text. Is this an important component?
King Bee (author) on March 06, 2012:
Wow, I never thought this would be such a popular posting! Thanks everyone. I'd love to hear your stories of how this worked for you.
Ian - Sorry I didn't get too specific because the dimensions are really up to you and your conditions on how you want to build this. It's all squares and rectangles, so make it as big or small as you want to.
Thanks everyone! Happy hunting!
jorge on February 17, 2012:
Ian im making one 30x30x60. tallxwidexLong, and looks ok. write me at firstname.lastname@example.org ill send some photos.
Ian Nicholas on February 11, 2012:
looks great but no dimensions to follow!
How sections for square end
How long sections for Length
What Diameter hole opening
What diameter hole closing
If you added these any novice(aka me) could build one from scratch
Ryan on June 28, 2011:
Its an awesome design but unfortunately cant be used down here in California for crabs and lobster but still its great for crayfish i bet.
chris on June 13, 2011:
gloria on April 03, 2011:
Thank you for posting this idea,
richard on December 28, 2010:
How funny I was thinking of ways to make a lighter trap pvc was one of my ideas thought I would go on line to get some ideas and make. My own design thanks for the ideas
William Benner from Savannah GA. on October 29, 2009:
cool traps! I have built them from chicken wire before but I never used the PVC, I have seen a lot of traps like yours being sold for up fifty bucks! Thanks for the info!
DINAgraet idea on October 25, 2009:
Great idea,I will be trying it
thor6 from http://ragnasuns.blogspot.com on September 29, 2009:
Excellent hub I wish mine were as good as yours. Keep up the good work. Take a look a t mine and tell me what you think
Take care and have a happy life.
Anthony Lambert on September 20, 2009:
Great Idea. Thanks