There’s nothing quite like the thrill of pulling up a crab trap, eagerly anticipating what might be inside. For many in the UAE, mud crabbing is not just a pastime but a tradition that brings both excitement and delicious rewards. Whether you’re a seasoned crabber or a newbie looking to get started, this guide will walk you through everything you need to know about mud crabbing in the UAE.

Why Mud Crabs?

Mud crabs are a delicacy in the UAE, renowned for their size and exquisite taste. They are commonly found in muddy areas like mangroves and estuaries, making the UAE’s extensive coastline an ideal location for crabbing.

Essential Gear


In the UAE, you can easily find various types of crab traps at local fishing stores. Round crab pots are particularly effective for catching mud crabs and are generally affordable. Prices can vary, but you can often find deals that allow you to buy multiple traps at a discounted rate.

Crabbing Kits

For those new to the activity, many stores offer crabbing kits that include floats, ropes, bait clips, and other essential equipment. Make sure to check local regulations for trap labeling requirements.

Measuring Tools

A crab ruler is a handy tool to ensure that your catch meets the size requirements. Always measure your crabs before keeping them to avoid any legal issues.

Best Locations and Timing

Proximity to Mangroves

Using a sounder can help you find the perfect depth for dropping your traps. Aim to place your traps as close to mangroves as possible without getting stuck. The ideal depth varies, but around 2 meters is a good starting point.

High Tide Advantage

It’s advisable to drop your traps during high tide, as the water level can significantly drop during low tide. This is especially important if you’re not familiar with the area.

Baiting Tips

Whole mullet is a popular choice for bait in the UAE, readily available in most bait and tackle stores. Cutting slits into the mullet can help release a stronger scent, attracting more crabs. Fish frames and chicken are also effective alternatives.

Checking Your Traps

There’s no hard and fast rule for how often you should check your traps. However, checking every few hours is generally effective. Leaving traps overnight can yield a larger catch but also increases the risk of theft.

Handling and Cooking

Once you’ve got your catch, tip the crabs into a large tub for sorting. Handle them carefully by gripping their back swimmer legs. To prepare them for cooking, place them in a saltwater ice bath for about 30 minutes. Boil them in water with sea salt and a spoonful of honey, and you’ll have a feast fit for a king!


Mud crabbing is an exciting and rewarding activity that anyone can enjoy in the UAE. With the right equipment, location, and techniques, you’ll be well on your way to catching these delicious crustaceans. So why wait? Get your gear and head out for an unforgettable crabbing adventure!


This article is for informational purposes only and does not consider individual circumstances or needs. Always check local guidelines and regulations before engaging in crabbing activities.