How to Catch And Bait those Mean Ole Crawdads

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approach with caution, pinchers do pinch

One of the best live baits for most all fresh water fish, fun to catch too

Some people call them crawdads, some call them crawfish or crayfish. I grew up in Kentucky and we always referred to them as crawdads, and I will refer to them from now on as such. As a kid I had a misconception a crayfish was a cajun crawdad, funny I know. That’s one reason why it can be great to take kids outdoors, the silly times.

I lived with my parents most of my life, and they had some property in the country. Most of the property consisted of forest, but there was a large creek running along the side of our road in the holler. The creek ran probably a total of 5-8 miles before it met the Big Sandy River.

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All my childhood consisted of was sports and the outdoors, I would spend nearly the entire summer playing in that creek. I would swim, skip rocks, and catch crawdads. I had so much fun catching those crawdads, but all my friends and neighbors were too scared to join me. They were afraid that the crawdads would pinch them and “bring the blood”. Well, truth is… if you didn’t know how to handle them, they would in fact pinch you. For those people with low pain tolerance, you’d probably want to avoid this. I mean who wants or likes to get pinched? Not I said the fly.


First, you’ll want to acknowledge the size of the crawdad. If it’s a baby, or has really small pinchers, you can attempt to just scoop it up in your hands by closing in on it from both sides. If it is much larger with bigger pinchers you might want to go with the other strategy: Quickly, but carefully take your index finger and thumb and grab him behind his pinchers with just enough pressure to not hurt him, but still be able to pick him up out of the water. After a bit of practice you should have no issues with doing this! Just remember that some will be much faster than you expected and will get away from you. But just keep trying and you’ll catch one! Take a KID, you’ll love it!

Catching Crawdads using a Trap…

A common way to catch crawdads is to use a Crawdad trap. It looks like a wire basket with two sides that cone inwards. It makes it where the crawdad can get inside very easily but have a really hard time trying to get out. Typical minnow trap.

My grandfather would use this strategy to catch his crawdads, but he had a really small trap. He didn’t need a real big one because he only used his crawdad for fishing bait.

My grandfather and I would normally put a little bit of food inside the basket, such as bread or bits of hot dogs, and place it in the water, leaving it there overnight. When we would check on it the next day there would be all sorts of things inside! Including, but not limited to crawdads, snakes and small fish.

These crawdad traps come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and are essential for catching crawdads in large quantities.

As far as putting a crawdad on the hook for bass fishing, I always take it through the middle of its tail. Catfish, the same or cut in half with its tail only or head only. Panfish go crazy over the meat from the tail.

(just in case you can’t catch any for bait….there is an effective alternative.)

Some Fun and Interesting Facts About Crawdads

  • Even though they walk forwards with their legs, they swim backwards a lot faster to escape danger.
  • In Kenya, crawdads are used to control snail populations to fight a parasitic disease.
  • Some types of crawdads have gills to breathe on the inside of their bodies, and can survive outside of water for a while before needing to be put back into the water.
  • Another type of crawdad will suffocate if kept inside water at all times.
  • There are different colors of crawdads, such as blue, red and white, red being the most common and white being the least common.

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4 thoughts on “How to Catch And Bait those Mean Ole Crawdads

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