Living Center Oregon

Sustainable Living Center Oregon

Lincoln City Crab Traps … the best keep Crabbing secret on the Oregon coast

Folding crab traps are a recent innovation that is changing the face of crabbing from sandy bottoms bay or crab docks. The Crabs Max Trap is only made in Lincoln City, Oregon …. they are not legal in California

How and Why the Carb Max came into existance

In the early 2000s, the Crab Max Crab Trap started to be made in Lincoln City by two disabled men, Bill Paterek and his blind buddy Merl. The Crab Max was named in honor of Bill’s dog, Max.

The CRABS MAX in the open position is a proven folding crab trap that outperforms conventional crab rings and other folding crab traps.

The Crab Max was developed because there were no Docks or public or private boat launches in Siletz Bay for Crabbing. All the existing docks Docks in Siletz Bay are silted to the point that they do not reach the bay water to go crabbing.

The only free public boat launch is 6 miles up the Siletz River. There is a paid boat launch at Coyote Rock RV Park, 2 miles up the Siletz River, and a boat rental location at Hwy 101 under the Siletz River Bridge.

The Crab Max can be used with a fishing pole or a Hand-Line. This picture is of Bill Lackner, the author of book “Oregon Crabs” with a fish pole and two Crabs caught in a Crab Max Trap.

Siletz Bay is a Crabbing secret because of three unique features

  • No Docks to Crab from and no boat launches at Siletz Bay.
  • Sandy bottom with lots of ell grass and no rocks. Lots of Dungeness Crabs are found in Siletz Bay, but no Rock Crabs or Green Crabs
  • A Narrow Channel we call Crab Alley runs from the Pacific Ocean to Siletz Bay, through which all the Dungeness Crabs that come into the Bay HAVE to go through Crab Alley

With a Hand-Line, one can catch Dungeness Crabs from the Beach by throwing the Crab Max into Crab Alley and waiting 5 minutes.

When thrown, the Crab Max spring open. When it is pulled, it closes like a Killer Clam Shell, holding all the Crabs in the trap.

In 2004, during the summer, the Visitors Bureau of Lincoln City started sponsoring a free Crabbing Clinic with Bill Lackner, once or twice a month, to encourage Cabbing in Siletz Bay.

During the Clinics, Bill Lackner, the leader, discovered that using a Hand-Line from the shore was more effective than a fishing pole.

Bill wrote the book “Oregon Crabs.” It is available at

Bill is still answering Crabbing questions during the day at 541-265-5847

Our problem with renting the Crab Max. …. We have been Renting the Crab Max type of crab trap for more than six (6) years. It is an excellent Crab Trap. But on average, our customers lose one (1) trap weekly. As part of the customer rental agreement, they agree to pay (buy) if they cannot return the trap, but this is not good business.

We have started to replace the weaker parts of the Crab Max system with more substantial pieces to the point we are rebuilding the original Crab Max; we call the Crab Max 2.0. We now manufacture the Crab Max 2.0 for $30.00 without a Hand-Line.

The original Crab Max is an excellent option if you are crabbing in an area where you never catch your trap on the rocks. You can use your fishing pole or furnish your own Hand-Line; all you need is the above trap. If you have a broken Crab Max and send it to us with $15, we will replace your old Crab Max with a new Crab Max 2.0, but you paid the shipping both ways.

But if you are in a place where crab traps can get caught, we have the following options.

Soft Braided Hand-Line (90 ft) Option … $10.00 when ordering with a trap.

  • More robust line … Tensile* Strength of 420. If you get tarp caught on something, you can pull harder before the line breaks … fewer lost traps.
  • Easier on the hands when not wearing gloves, but it will tangle if put into a pile. It works well if you spread it over a wide area. If you pile it in one place, it will tangle more than the Hard Line.

Hard Brainded Lay Hand-Line (90 ft) Option … $15.00 when ordering with a trap

  • Less robust line … Tensile* Strength of 200. This means if you get trap caught on something, you cannot pull as hard as the Soft Braid Hand-Line before the line breaks … More lost traps.
  • Rough on the hands if not wearing gloves.
  • The original Crab Max came with a Hard Braided hand-line.

Soft Braided Hand-Line (130 ft) Option … $15.00 when ordering with a trap.

Hard Braided Lay Hand-Line (130 ft) Option … $20.00 when ordering with a trap

When ordering without a corresponding trap order $5/String extra plus handling and shipping

*Tensile Strength in pounds based on conditions pulled to break to line

Crabbing Extras

Using a crab mallet and shaking the crab will cut your crab-picking time to minutes rather than hours. The crab mallet is used to humanely kill the crabs by turning them over onto their back and striking at their abdominal flap, humanly killing them before cleaning and cooking them.

The Mallet offers several advantages.

  • It reduces accidents when adding live crabs to a pot of boiling water.
  • Eliminates contact with the crab butter and internal organs, thereby reducing exposure to marine toxins.
  • Exposes the crab meat to the flavor of spices added to the boiling water, such as those found in Crab Boil.
  • Real time saver when cooking large numbers of crabs.
  • Crab Max Trap 2.0 (Hand-Line extra) … $30.00
  • Crab Mallet … $3.50
  • Crab Keeper Gauge … $5.00
  • 116-page color edition of Oregon’s Crabs Book for $22
  • Keepers are defined as 5 -3/4 inches across the shell.
  • Twelves (12) Dungeness Crabs are allowed per day per license
  • We Clean and Cook @ $2.50/Crab

Shipping and Handling Options

Pickup Locally …. FREE Handling and Shipping

Handling Fee …. $10 ,,, Packing and Delivery to Shipper for any size order

Shipping Options for 3 Traps … $ 35 … UPS Ground with tracking number if shipped In Oregon

Shipping Options for 3 Traps … $ 20 .. Snail Mail (US postal service and no tracking number)} if shipped In Oregon

Outside of Oregon or less than 3 traps, email quote for a quote

How to use Crab Max 2.0

Once the decision is made to purchase a Crabs Max Trap, Do not cut or untie any of the lines on the crab trap or alter the bend in the trap’s frame.  Be sure to wear gloves when deploying or retrieving the traps. Always use the wooden ball when throwing the trap into the water to avoid injuring yourself or others.

To use the crab max with the Hand-Line, uncoil all 90 feet of the hand line from the hand-line holder. To use the crabs max with the hand line, uncoil the hand line, then reverse coil the hand-line back toward the holder.

Chicken legs are hollow and full of bone marrow. Use a pair of pruning shears to cut halfway through the leg bone below each chicken leg joint to facilitate the entry of the bait pin exposing the bone marrow to attract crabs to the bait. 

Step on the line holder, grasp the Hand-Line and look behind you to ensure the area is clear. Spin the crab trap several times in a circular motion and throw the crab trap into the water. The wooden ball on the hand line is set to achieve the maximum distance when spun in a circular motion and thrown into the water.

When crabbing is good, wait 5 minutes before pulling the Crabs Max crab trap filled with all sizes of Dungeness Crabs.

The Crabs Max Trap is easily the most delicate folding crab trap on the market today. Made from high-quality stainless steel, the Crabs Max trap is easily used with a Hand-Line with our exclusive “wooden ball” used to deploy the trap up to 90 feet into the sub-tidal areas of the bay. You will take crabs from our bays long after throwing other traps away. The use of hand lines is exclusive to Crab Max.

Click Here to view a short video clip of the Dungeness crabs caught in Siletz Bay using Crab Max crab traps.

Email for detail price …. at or Call 541-765-2109


This entry was posted on October 26, 2000 by .