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Inshore Fishing - How to Fish Artificial Crabs Successfully

Inshore Fishing: How To Fish Artificial Crabs Successfully

Artificial Crabs For Inshore Fishing Yields The Ultimate Fish

There is nothing more enjoyable then inshore fishing. Targeting inshore fish is always a challenge that is rewarding when you land a moose trout or bull redfish. Most inshore species of fish, like redfish, black drum, and sheepshead, could live on a diet of crab. Crabs are an abundant food supply on the beaches and flats. They are relatively easy for species to target. There are several species of crabs that you can find in and out of these waters that consist of the fiddler crab, blue crab, rock crab, stone crab, and a few others. It is because of their abundance and the diet of inshore fish that lure companies realized an opportunity to capitalize on. We will take a look at some of the best soft-bodied crabs on the market, which are best, how to fish them, and which ones are worth the money.


Proper Way To Fish Artificial Crabs

No matter how you fish it, it will produce bites. Redfish, black drum and other species of inshore fish specifically look for crabs for a tasty meal. The more realistic the crab is, the more it will attract fish and entice them to bite. There are two specific methods for fishing soft-bodied crabs: Jigging artificial crabs, Dragging soft-bodied crabs, and bottom fishing with crabs.

Jigging Soft Bodied Crabs

Jigging soft-bodied crabs are one of the perfect ways for fishing with artificial crabs inshore. Artificial crabs are made to mimic a real-life crab. Lure companies have invested time and money to make them the most realistic thing in the water beside a real crab. In my opinion, one of the most effective ways for inshore fishing with soft-bodied crabs is jigging. Most artificial crabs come with flailing claws and moveable legs around the hard shell body to give it the ultimate realistic look in the water. These legs will move in the water without any movement just from the current of the water. The proper way to efficiently jig an artificial crab is by quick short bursts of jerking the pole up and down while reeling the crab through the water. Allow the crab to sink back to the bottom after each jig motion completely. It is this motion and speed that allows for inshore fish to think its a fleeing crab.

Dragging Soft Bodied Crabs

Many of the artificial crabs now days come on a weighted stand-up jighead perfect for pulling the crab across the bottom. By pulling them across the bottom, it mimics a crab walking across the bottom. You want a very slow retrieval when fishing a soft-bodied crab in this manner. It is this dragging movement that will bring out the aggression in surrounding fish and almost always lead to more bites.

Bottom Fishing With Artificial Crab

The last way for fishing with artificial crabs is like you would do with live bait. One of the most productive bottom fishing rigs we have found depending on current is the fishfinder rig. All you need is an egg sinker, swivel, and hook. Put the artificial crab on the hook and lets the currents of the water do the work for you. The movement from the crab will attract predator fish. There is a reason lure companies make their crabs look so real, let it work in your favor.

Now that you know how to fish soft-bodied crabs effectively, let us look at some of the best artificial crabs on the market.

Best Soft Bodied Crabs On The Market

Artificial Crab #1: Savage Gear TPE 3D Crab

Savage 3D TPE Crab With Stand up jighead

Savage 3D TPE Crab With Stand up jighead

Price:  $4.79

1" Shell width – 1-3/4" overall width, 1/4 oz. – Per 2. (Rigged with 1/8-oz. Standup Jig with a #8 hook.)
2" Shell width – 3-1/4" overall width, 1 oz. – Per each. (Rigged with a ½-oz. Standup Jim with a #2/0 hook.)
3" Shell width – 3-3/4" overall width, 1-1/4 oz. – Per each. (Rigged with a 1-oz. Standup Jig with a #2/0 hook.)

Colors: Natural Peeler and Blue Crab.

Savage Gear has come out with a fantastic artificial crab. They took their time and invested money in getting a complete scan of a blue crab so that it would feature all the real-life characteristics. It is because of this; this crustacean delivers so much realism in the water. Fish think it is a real crab. Savage Gear chose to make it from TPE material which holds up better than most soft plastic lures on the market. This soft-bodied crab is paired up with a savage stand up jig giving it the perfect presentation in the water. It is priced fairly and well worth the money, in our opinion.

Artificial Crab #2: Berkley Gulp Peeler Crabs

Berkley Gulp Peeler Crab

Berkley Gulp Peeler Crab

Price: $6.49

Sizes: 1" and 2" 

Colors: Blue Pepper Neon, Orange Tiger, Skip Jack, Texas Chicken, Molting, Amber Glow, Natural Peeler, New Penny, and Mud.

These Gulp peeler crabs come in a pack of 5 and are unrigged. They should be fished like you would a live crab. Gulp has spent a lot of time developing these, and it shows. What it lacks in detail it makes up for movement in the water. Any water current will bring these crabs to life. They are eco-friendly and biodegradable. They are infused with a scent giving them an advantage over most other soft-bodied crabs. Permit, redfish, and black drum will smell this crab before they even see it. They were more durable than I thought they would be and lasted over multiple catches. If you love using artificial baits for inshore fishing, these are the perfect crab baits for you. 

Artificial Crab #3: DOA Soft Shell Crab

DOA Soft Shell Crab

DOA Soft Shell Crab

Price: $3.99

Size: 2", 1/4 oz.

Colors: Rootbeer/Pearl and Golden Shiner.

These come in packs of one. The soft shell crab is an artificial crab from DOA Lures. They are weighted at 1/4oz, giving them a slow sinking rate. They lack the realism department, but fish still love them when jigged correctly. Their soft plastic arms and claws come to life when in the water with a current. Throw these around oyster beds, and the reds will eat them up. 

Artificial Crab #4: Hogy Lures Floating Soft Shell Crab

Hogy Floating Crab

Hogy Floating Crab

Price: $8.95

Size: 2" and 3"

Color: Sub Surface and Floating Glow

Hogy Lures has come out with a floating crab. You can fish it on the surface for tarpon or rig it to the bottom for redfish. I have seen giant tarpon caught on these. I have not been lucky to hook up on one yet, but with the floating aspect makes them a deadly artificial crab. 

Artificial Crab #5: Cranka Crab

Cranka Crab Fiddler Crab
Cranka Crab: Fiddler Crab

Price: $17.34

Size: 3.9g, 5.9g, and 9.5g

Color: Olive Crab, Brown Crab, Fiddler Crab, Cockle Crab, Sand Crab, Spotted Crab, Brackish Fiddler Crab, Glow Crab, Muddy Crab, Purple Crab, Vampire Crab

The ultimate artificial lure crab. These small crabs are candy to most inshore species of fish. I know your thinking who in their right mind would pay $17.34 for one crab lure, but they work. They are loved by sheepshead and actually will help increase your hook up ratio because of the floating treble hook claws. Do not just take our word for it. You have to try a cranka crab for yourself.


If you have never fished with artificial crabs, then you should incorporate it into your fishing plan. As companies continue to push the envelope with realism, artificial crabs will be a viable option for catching many inshore species of fish. Our top 5 favorite artificial soft-bodied crab lures are perfect for inshore fishing. We hope you will try them and find success as we have. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please leave a comment below or email us at Send us any photos of fish caught on an artificial crab to be featured on our social media. Maybe you have a tip that we should be telling people; we would love to hear it. Our guide to inshore fishing with artificial crabs will hopefully pursue you to try them and find success.

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