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These pheromone-rich baits will become more readily available around the time of the next full moon on July 19 and are ideal for tipping a bucktail for weakfish, fluke, stripers and whatever else may be on your target list.
By Dave Rinear
Tags: inshore

I always start with the claws, break them away from the body, cut them in half, then crack the claw shell with the handle of a light knife and peel away the shell leaving what looks like a soft-shelled crab claw. But it is firmer than a soft-shelled crab, and stays on a hook better. I've always preferred to use double barb shank Eagle Claw 1.0 and about 3 feet of 15-pound monofilament leader to bait shedder crabs when anchoring up in a hole for weakfish.

Often while weakfishing, I use a float to keep the crab a foot or so off of the bottom so that spider crabs and blue claws won't eat up the bait. You can use this technique with weight varying from 1/2-ounce to 2 ounces, depending on depth and the speed of the current while either drifting or anchored up.

Be sure the crab is alive when you start to break and peel them. They decompose quickly and lose their effectiveness as bait rapidly. I get two baits from each claw, if the crab is fairly large. I then break the feelers off two at a time, twist and pull the first two joints giving me at least one bait from two feeler legs, or sometimes a bait from each leg. Simply thread this on the hook. The next bait is the genitalia, peel away the triangular piece of shell on the belly, pull away the mature genitalia, and cut it at its base from the body of the crab.

At this point your crab is still alive, and you pull off, crack, and use these portions of the crab as needed. Next, peel off the back of the shell. You will get one bait from each side of the body of the crab from the point of the shell into the main part of the body. What is left, then, is the body of the crab minus the point sections, the claws and the feeler legs.

Finally, you cut the crab in half, belly side up and use each of the shell-marked sections for a single bait. Depending on the size and condition of the crab, you should get four to six baits from the body. You don't need huge gobs of crab on your hook to make shedder crab a highly effective bait. If you cut and bait in the manner I've described, you'll get from 10 to 15 baits off a single crab, perfect for tipping bucktails along the channel edges and inlet rocks for striped bass, fluke and especially summer weakfish.

Keep in mind that during the time of the shed, you can boost the power of your plastics and bucktails with FIN-essence shedder oil; the 3-ounce bottles are available at many local tackle shops or online through Fisherman’s Choice where you can also find Natural Hand-Cut Bait Squid Strips in 8-ounce containers.

For a simple Shedder Crab Demo Sketch on how to prepare a shedder or peeler crab for bait, visit Scott’s Bait and Tackle’s website.

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