A: Scylla serrata
A: Mud Crabs can can grow to more than 25 cm shell breadth (2 kg).
Males generally growing larger than females.
A: The colour of Mud Crabs varies, from dark olive-brown to greenish-blue and blue-black. Patterns of lighter coloured dots cover their walking legs.
A: Mud Crabs can be found along the entire Queensland coast in sheltered estuaries, tidal flats and rivers lined with mangroves. They also inhabit tropical to warm temperate waters from Exmouth Gulf in Western Australia to the Bega River in New South Wales.
As a marine and estuarine animal they're usually found in shallow water, but berried females occur well offshore. They favour a soft muddy bottom, often below tide level.
A: Officially, Mud Crabs are 'omnivorous' scavengers. But they're also cannibalistic, eating other crabs as well as barnacles, bivalves and dead fish.
A: There are a variety of crab traps, in different shapes and sizes, including round, square, pyramid, collapsible and net types.
Dillys and hooks have been banned for catching Mud Crabs.
Crab traps or pots are available from most fishing supplies outlets.
Almost every pot is now made of string mesh. Which crab pot you choose is up to you and your budget. The cheap rectangular pots are as good as any, but you must check and repair them constantly, as the old crab will either walk out, or chew his way out.
Commercial pots are made by "Crabmaster" , while "Bully" pots are made in Karumba by an ex-commercial fisherman. Both are excellent, as crabs don't get out of them and they come with a large bait-bag built into the floor of the pot.
A: Crabs like fresh bait, so some crabbers will change bait twice a day. Fresh fish or frames and heads are excellent, in particular whole mullet (score the flesh down the the bone). Chicken carcass or necks, and kangaroo meat and bones are also good but the secret is: it has to be FRESH.
A: Mud Crabs have very robust claws, used for crushing shells, so you don't want the crab to bite you.
Pick them up with your thumb and index finger.
Hold together the base of the back two swimmer legs and lift the crab up.
That way it can't bite you.
A: Where you put the pot is the most important part of the mud crab hunt. During heavy rain, or 'the wet' in the tropics, the rivers are high and fresh and crabs, like most other fish, can not survive in fresh-water, so they move out along the shallow coastal flats. That's where you put your pots at that time of the year.
But during the dry as the salt water intrudes way up the rivers and creeks you follow this salt water intrusion.
Also drop your pots in very small creeks and deep gutters as crabs use these as highways into the mangroves.
A: Queensland law states you are allowed four pots per person, and 10 male crabs PER PERSON IN POSSESSION. It is NOT 10 crabs per day. (it's illegal to take female crabs in Queensland). Minimum 'take' size on male mud crabs is 15cm. See here for measurement guide.
You must have your name and address on both the pot and float.