Questions and Answers

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Updated: 03-27-2016

Q: I'm afraid people will steal my traps. How can I prevent this?
Q:
Why do you feel you have the best crawfish trap available
Q: Why do you use welded wire instead of cheaper hardware cloth?
Q: Why do you use black netting for tunnels?
Q: Where should I tie my rope on the trap?
Q: I have several styles of crayfish traps and none of them will catch soft shelled crayfish for fishing. Will your trap catch them?
Q: This may sound like a stupid question but will your crawdad trap really catch crawdads?
Q: Does a round trap catch crayfish better then a square trap?
Q: What kind of bait should I use to catch crayfish?
Q: How is the bait suspended inside the trap?
Q: How long does a trap have to be in the water to catch crayfish?
Q: How can I attach more than one trap to a single rope?
Q: How strong is your trap? Does it break easily?
Q: What exactly is the difference between the Sportsman Pro trap and the Commercial Trap?
Q: After looking at your Other Peoples traps page, how do you rate your traps compared to the others?
Q: What are crayfish?
Q: What do they taste like?
Q: How do you cook them, clean them, and what part do you eat?
Q: Where can I catch them?
Q: Is there a season on crayfish and how many can I catch?
Q: Will the trap catch anything else?
Q: How do I set a trap and what else do I need?
Q: Is there a certain way to pull the traps out of the water?
Q: Do these traps work in shallow water?
Q: Can I use these traps in creeks or rivers?
Q: Will your traps catch shrimp in the ocean?
Q: I want to catch very small crawfish, will your trap catch small ones?
Q: What is the difference between a bait box and a bait jar?

Q: I'm afraid people will steal my traps. How can I prevent this?
A: Trap theft can be a real problem but only if you let it be one. This is a question that I am asked all the time and because of so much concern I have put up a special page where I go into great detail how to stop crayfish and increase your catch by many times without fear of loosing your traps. Please Click Here to view this page.

Q: Why do you feel you have the best pot available
A: There are many different reasons, probably the top most reason is the simple fact that I have very competitive drive. I have a lot of years under my belt crayfishing which gave me plenty of time to experiment plus try every known crayfish design I could find. During the off season I was fishing for crab where pot design is so critical that unbalanced pots would put you out of business quick! I've compared these traps side by side using the same bait with every type of trap imaginable and these traps out fish all the others by 1000% or better. See my History Page.


Q: Why do you use welded wire instead of cheaper hardware cloth?
A: You get what you pay for! It's stronger, won't rip and will hold it's shape. Plus it will balance where hardware cloth will not. (sorry balancing a trap is a trade secret) Mesh size is also a big factor in catching crayfish and hardware cloth does not come in the correct mesh size, push just the difference in wire thickness (gauge) justifies the cost difference.


Q: Why do you use black netting for tunnels?
A: The heavy black netting I use for the tunnels provides the crayfish with a sense of protective cover from their many predators. It is 100 times cheaper to use wire for tunnels but the traps WILL NOT fish well. When wire is immersed in water it becomes semi-transparent and does not look like some object which might provide cover. Any crayfish climbing a tunnel or ramp will immediately expose themselves from surrounding cover. Instinctively they will not do so unless they are starving. It's just common sense and I'm surprised so few trap makers have caught on yet.


Q: Where should I tie my rope on the trap?
A: Running through the center of the trap is the Bait Hanger. It travels through the trap providing structural support for the entire trap. Attached to the outside portion of the Bait Hanger is a rope clamp. The rope clamp also doubles as a handle for the trap. Simply squeeze the rope clamp together and slide it over the rope, then let go. The rope clamp will tightly secure itself to any rope 1/4 inch or thicker. As a precautionary measure, tie the end of the rope into a loop or simply knot the end of the rope to ensure the trap cannot be pulled off the rope even when great pull is applied. See the Products section.


Q: I have several styles of crayfish traps and none of them will catch soft shelled crayfish for fishing. Will your trap catch them?
A: Absolutely! Read the answer above about black netting. Soft-shelled crayfish are in their most unprotected state when they first shed their old shell and the new shell remains soft for nearly a week. This period of their growth cycle is when they are most attractive to a hungry fish, one of the reasons crayfish make the best bait ever. Still, they get hungry and the black netting gives them safe and close passage to the bait. When you are fishing for soft-shelled crayfish for bait, be sure you pull your trap often. Other crayfish will attack and eat their fellow crayfish when they are soft-shelled.


Q: This may sound like a stupid question but will your crawdad trap really catch crawdads?
A: There is no such thing as a stupid question! You bet it will catch crayfish, no question about that! Of course you have to fish in a location that does contain crayfish and you have to bait the trap. Just about every country in the world has crayfish and just about every State in the USA has crawfish, so the odds are high you have crayfish in your area. It does make a difference where you fish crayfish on any body of water. The conditions have to be right for them and the primary conditions are the crayfish have some type of cover on the bottom for protection against predators. Rock is a very good spot to fish, the larger the rock the better! Not only does rock provide cover but it also provides food. So always look for good places where the crayfish can hide, you normally can tell by the shoreline, and put your traps there. The very best way to find crayfish is talk to the local people in the area, that is the greatest resource of them all.


Q: Does a round trap catch crayfish better then a square trap?
A: No question about it. It is impossible for a square trap to settle evenly on it's bottom on any irregular lake, pond, creek, or river bottom making it extremely difficult for the crayfish to find their way in the trap. My round traps will ALWAYS set in a correct position to catch crayfish. The way my round traps are set up not only will they settle correctly but they will pick up correctly as well. The round traps will not hang up on bottom obstructions like the square trap will.


Q: What kind of bait should I use to catch crayfish?
A: Bait is a very important issue. I've read many people's advice about people recommending such things as chicken, canned cat food, liver, bacon, sole, or something rotten. Every time I see this I shutter! Think fresh and understand that crayfish are picky eaters! Some of the best baits I have found so far are Shad, Herring, Salmon heads (gills in), and cod guts. Basically fish, fish which are oily or have oily parts. The bait must be fresh or fresh frozen. Stay away from all fowl and land animals or parts of.


Q: How is the bait suspended inside the trap?
A: The Bait Hanger is constructed with a circle in the center, between the two tunnels. A simple bait hook comes with the trap, its very easy to make spares yourself out of any wire (a coat hanger will do). Spear a lot of bait on the bait hook and thread through the Bait Hanger's circle and snap the bait hook together. Remember a lot of bait will land you more crayfish. Crayfish eat a lot and eat it very quickly!


Q: How long does a trap have to be in the water to catch crayfish?
A: Whew! This question has a lot of variables which experience will answer as you gain it. The rule of thumb is that your trap should be pulled when you run out of bait or if your bait is starting to turn. In many areas crayfish are seasonal depending upon the water temperature. In many areas as well crayfish will hibernate when the water is at it coldest and will not be active until springtime. Catches will also vary during the warmer months. Crayfish migrate the last few months of the summer and they eat everything in their path. In Oregon at Round Butte during migration, I only had to soak the trap for an hour to pull up 20 pounds of crawfish. It was unbelievable the amount of crayfish in that lake. During the average summer days I would pull my traps twice a day and average 12 pounds a trap. Early April when the water was near freezing, I would only pull the traps once every 24 hours and their still would be plenty of bait left. If I caught 3 or 4 pounds to the trap during April that was a good catch. As the water warmed the crayfish would molt and the catch would drastically improve. If you are catching crayfish and their shells are still dirty, then it's still early in the season because they are just coming out of hibernation. If you are not catching anything at all during mid summer then it's past time to find new fishing grounds. Another rule of thumb, if the biggest percentage of crayfish in your catch is large then you are probably fishing in low population waters. If this is not the case then please call me and I'll be right down LOL.


Q: How can I attach more than one trap to a single rope?
A: Easy. Use poly rope (the plastic floating rope), not nylon or hemp, and attach one trap at the end. Further down the same rope, at least 25 feet, attach another trap and so on until you have put on the number of traps you want on that single line. This is called a 'Ground Line'. Ground lines are often used in crab fishing and many times commercial hook & line fishing for bottom fish. Very effective and it allows you to run many traps quickly. In Oregon I ran up to 50 traps per ground line set. Just make sure you stretch your rope tight between traps so the line does not float to the surface where people will see it or run over it with a boat. Keep in mind and its very important, that if you do not use floating rope you stand a very high chance of having the rope (not the trap) snag up on some obstruction on the bottom and that can be a real problem!


Q: How strong is your trap? Does it break easily?
A: VERY STRONG and NO it DOES NOT break easily! To give you an example, remember my boat is 20 foot long and 8 foot wide with only a 8 inch V, powered by a 150 merc outboard. In other words lots of stability & power! The winch has well over 1000 pounds of pull with the drum half full. In Oregon the bottom of the shoreline is large broken rock and a few times I have had the rope slide between the narrow opening of two large rock therefore preventing the trap from pulling through the opening. When this happens I'll first try and free it with the winch in lowering the rope and goose the power to pull it in. I have to be careful here because the winch is strong enough to flip the boat over. That is a lot of power! If this don't work I'll tie the rope off on the stern and full power the boat head working my way in a circle until the trap breaks free or the 3/8" rope breaks. If the trap doesn't break the trap will come up, it will be bent in most cases but not broke! I've done this with hardware cloth traps as well and the soldered joints of the trap are broken and the trap is beyond repair. I've even broke hardware cloth traps beyond repair just hand pulling just about every time the trap was stuck on the bottom. As you may guess by now I am VERY MUCH against the use of hardware cloth for building crayfish traps! It takes a lot of time to build a crayfish trap and have it ruined because of inferior material.


Q: What exactly is the difference between the Sportsman Pro trap and the Commercial Trap?
A: The main difference is the size of the trap and the number of crayfish the trap will hold. The Sportsman Pro does have many advantages over the commercial version only if you are not fishing crawfish in a commercial sense (large volumes). The Pro will fish faster and if you are fishing for bait it will catch a higher volume of soft-shelled crayfish then the commercial version. If you are a camper and fishing for crayfish for an evening meal then the Sportsman Pro is the way to go. It's smaller size is a big plus when you are packing your camping gear and because it does fish faster you need not leave it unattended for longer periods of time. I personally use the Pro for test fishing different prospective sites when I want quick results.

 
Q: After looking at your Other Peoples traps page, how do you rate your traps compared to the others?
A: Its not very difficult to rate my traps light years ahead of the others when you have done side by side comparisons with them all. When I fish crayfish for money I want the trap which is going to make me the most money possible in the shortest period of time. I do admit that I did take a lot of pleasure in being the high-liner of the West Coast but beyond question, making money was my primary concern. I would never consider in my wildest dreams, other than a nightmare, using a different crayfish trap then the ones I make now to catch crayfish.


Q: What are crayfish?
A: Crayfish are freshwater lobster only better and they make the best natural bait around. Do a search on http://www.google.com for crayfish. You won't find out everything about crayfish there but you will be amazed at what you do find.


Q: What do they taste like?
A: Some people say they taste like lobster, some people say they taste like shrimp. Personally, I think they have more of a lobster texture to them then shrimp. The taste will vary of course depending on how you cook them and what you use in the brine you soak them in after you boil them.


Q: How do you cook them, clean them, and what part do you eat?
A: There is a thousand different ways to cook them and my way is probably not the best, LOL. I'm very good at catching crayfish and eating them. I did have a stainless steel cooker made that would cook 500 pounds at a time but I only cooked crayfish to spec of the market I was selling to. Check out some of the links I have on the website to other sites which specialize in cooking great crayfish dishes!


Q: Where can I catch them?
A: Different species of crayfish live everywhere in the United States and are very abundant. Often small creeks and lakes are over looked for having crayfish. I've found that small creeks and lakes may not have as large a population of crayfish as do the bigger lakes but the size of the crayfish can be amazing. I caught the two biggest Pacifasticus crayfish ever caught on the West Coast. The largest was 17 1/2 inches from the tail to tip of the horns and weighed 1.75 pounds and it only had one claw. The other weighed 1.5 pounds, 14 inches long, and had 2 perfect claws. Both were caught in a little lake called Pass Lake next door to Deception Pass in Washington State. The best way to find crayfish is again, talk to the locals or any resort owners, fisherman, in your area. Someone will remember crayfish being somewhere!


Q: Is there a season on crayfish and how many can I catch?
A: Most States have fishing regulations for them. Catching crayfish is very popular just like fishing for fish. Check at your sporting goods store for fishing regulations or online for your State's Fish & Wildlife department.


Q: Will the trap catch anything else?
A: Yes it will. These traps will catch game fish or bait fish. Any game fish caught should be returned immediately to the water. I would be surprised if your Fish & Wildlife department did not require this. It is surprising sometimes what you might catch in these traps. I've caught fish in them that mystified me where how such a large fish squeeze into the trap to begin with. Some areas I'll get bullheads in the trap to steal a meal that end up a meal themselves to the crayfish already in the trap. Crayfish do catch swimming fish as well to eat.


Q: How do I set a trap and what else do I need?
A: You will need some rope, at least 30 feet, and a buoy if your State requires it. Some bait and a place that has a crayfish population. You can either throw your trap into the water from or the best way, use a boat to get to the prime crayfish areas. Depth of water will often make a big difference on where you want to set a trap. If you are fishing in a lake and the lake has a lot of shoreline homes on it, 10 to 1 the water is a bit polluted. If this is the case then you will want to set your trap in shallow water, pollution settles and there is not enough oxygen in polluted waters for crayfish to survive. On a lake as well you don't want to be to close to shore because crayfish only get close to the shoreline during night time and rarely during the day.


Q: Is there a certain way to pull the traps out of the water?
A: The absolute best way of course is to pull the trap straight up. This avoids any possible entanglement of the rope with any bottom obstructions. The rule of thumb is to pull your trap in as quickly as possible. Not only does this help avoid obstructions but any crayfish on their way into the trap will often remain on tunnel when you bring the trap out of the water.


Q: Do these traps work in shallow water?
A: Yes. As long as the bait and the top of the smaller ring of the  tunnel are under water the trap will catch crayfish. Crayfish will follow the scent of the bait underwater and that is why both of those items mentioned above have to be under water.


Q: Can I use these traps in creeks or rivers?
A: YES and creeks and rivers can be very big producers of crayfish. It's a little more difficult to fish rivers then any where else. You need to use a fairly heavy weight at the beginning of your ground line or even a single trap to retain the traps position in the current. The extra effort is well worth while, river crayfish are grow much larger and have a larger percentage of large crayfish over lakes. See the Tips & Tricks page on how to fish rivers.

Q: Will your traps catch shrimp in the ocean?
A: Yes they will and very well at that! You do need to add some extra weight to the trap to keep it in place so the currents do not move it around. Rocks or better yet, zinc balls can be placed inside the trap. 10 pounds should do well to counter the currents. What I do for my traps that I use for shrimp is wire 2 - 3/4" pieces of rebar to the bottom of the traps about 6 inches apart. Works great for me. One thing to remember is always wash your trap completely after you use it in salt water. If you don't the salt will start working on galvanization after about a month. So a fresh water rinse is very important! Please note that I do not recommend these traps for trapping shrimp. The trap is designed for freshwater and it's use in saltwater will shorten the trap's lifespan. 

Q: I want to catch very small crawfish, will your trap catch small ones?
A: Absolutely! I sell a lot of traps to different environmental groups throughout the USA who wish to study newly hatched crayfish. What they do  is to take screen wire screen and wrap the bottom half of the trap with the screen. The screen is simply held on with 4 rubber bands and 8 paper clips. Each rubber band will have two paper clips which are shaped to  encircle the rubber band and hook into the trap's wire mesh. The rubber band assembly is hooked in to the 4 corners of the screen door screen then the screen is wrapped around the bottom half of the trap and the other paper clip hook is placed into the cage wire. You will be amazed at how many small crayfish you can catch!

Q: What is the difference between a bait box and a bait jar?
A: There is a huge difference between bait boxes and bait jars. First bait jars are basically jars with lids that have holes drilled in the side of it. The idea behind it is to make the bait last as long as possible by putting the bait in the jar where the crab, crawfish, shrimp, etc., can't get at it and  then the scent of the bait will drift slowly out of the jar through the holes. The problem with a bait jar is the scent of the bait requires water to act upon the bait to distribute the scent. The scent can only leak out of the holes in the jar for a few hours until the bait starts to oxidize which ends up plugging the holes. The long and the short of it is there is a very limited amount of scent which gets in the water from a bait jar to attract the crayfish.
 A bait box on the other hand allows the crayfish to rip and tear the bait in a more controlled environment. This process makes the scent billow out from the trap from the get go and continues on for a good 24 hour period. This method attracts LOTs of Crays over an extended period of time, grin.  The trap comes with a hanging bait hook as well. The bait hook of course is not used when a bait box is used but it does come in handy for short sets with small amounts of bait. You can actually hang over a pound of bait on a hook but the Crays have free access to the bait so, in high population areas the bait may only last an hour. The advantage of a bait hook is the fact that they are centered in the trap where a bait box or a bait jar are not. The box and jar are simply placed inside the trap. The Crays cannot get to a bait box from outside the trap and the only disadvantage of a bait box is that it takes just a tad bit longer to prepare the bait and box before use. The catch advantage of the box though are extreme 'Click Here' for more information on Bait Boxes.

 

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