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Why is it that fish are full of hardback crabs but they wont touch them if you use them for bait ???...One of lifes great mysteries for me.........any ideas fellow forumites?
 

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peelers hav a scent to them, hard bacs dont, ud be waiting far longer for a fish to pick up a hard back!!!! I THINK!!!!!????
 

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Wrasse are caught on them, I think if you cut them in half and the juices started to flow you would get cod on them aswell. But the main reason why you wont catch cod off them,especially on the boat, is that they will follow the better scent trails which would be off the worm baits. I'm sure if you stayed there long enough with a hardback crab on as bait a fish would eventually swim past it and eat it, but as theres not much scent its just a case off them being right on it at the right time. The reason why wrasse are caught on them is your dropping your bait right into the wrasses territory, so the fish will be straight on it and more often than not it really clear water, so it would be mainly on sight and not scent.
 

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just a massive stab in the dark, but watching fish feed most of them suck in food, and as most fish activily scavange the crabs find food items first, i.e. decaying fish, then when big old bill bass comes along and picks up the sent and thinks "hummm, do i chase this brit around hoping to get some lunch or do i go eat that dead pout i can smell.... Decisions decisions...." Billy bass being a lazy bugger he is, takes the easy option and goes eats the dead pout and enhales mr Crab and his 3 mates who were chomping on the dead pout. As the pout or other food item is decade quicker than the hard outer shell of the crabs we find the crabs in the stomach of the fish?

Another point is fish feed on sight, when they see mr crab getting down on the sand bar, billy bass thinks... Dinner :p
 

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good point, but the last bass i caut was called fred!!! lmao
 

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Interesting question that can be answered conclusively if we all agree to fish with nothing but hardbacks for bait for the next 12 months!

My point being that nobody uses 'em, except specimen wrasse specialists. Therefore, apart from specimen wrasse, nobody catches with 'em because they are not using 'em!

The bass I kept last night was full of hardbacks around an inch across. I've had turbot and ray stuffed with them too at times. I suspect these fish are attacking them because they detect the movement. Especially with an ambushing fish like the turbot. Without a method of getting a live crab out there so it can move naturally, it ain't gonna work, while on the other hand a fresh softie is releasing distinctive scent (including the hormones related to it being about to mate) regardless of what state it is in.

At this time of year the bass are after soft crabs, but if they see a hardback wandering aimlessly across the sea-bed, they will not pass the opportunity by.

Cheers - John
 

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Was out fishing at Monknash last year and running out of bait so I chucked out a whole hard back I found in the rocks , was only out 5 minutes and I had a big bite on it but I missed the fish .

I'd say it would be worth trying on a second rod.
 

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Why is it that fish are full of hardback crabs but they wont touch them if you use them for bait ???...One of lifes great mysteries for me.........any ideas fellow forumites?
Just a thought on John's comment about fish feeding on both ....the reason why
only hardbacks are being found inside is that the peelers & softies are being digested more readily and are therefore more decomposed.
:g: :g: :g: :g: :g:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Some interesting views. Thank you. It does seem a bit sad when we start naming our fish though lol.
I go along with the scent thing and the bit about softies digesting quicker in the stomach.
Has anyone had any success with those frozen velvet swimmers you can buy. I`ve tried them loads of times and found them pretty crap.
 

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as a newbie this might not count for anything. but would a soft crab be more difficult to find for fish than a hardback? does a softie have to hide out more than when it's hard? ooh err missus!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
as a newbie this might not count for anything. but would a soft crab be more difficult to find for fish than a hardback? does a softie have to hide out more than when it's hard? ooh err missus!
Good point mate. Softies may not be as readily available as hardbacks, but why dont they take hardbacks on a hook? I think the question has been answered in a few ways and I guess my favourite was the scent one.

I`m glad i`ve opened a debate though.
 

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i think the reason fish we catch are full of hardbacks is that the area the fish patrols will have thousands of hardback crabs and when a fish hears or sees one scuttle about it will instinctively eat it. when a hardback crab is pierced with a hook and cast out it won't be able to scuttle about so freely and won't draw attention to itself so might not be noticed by the fish.
 

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A hardback become a peeler? we think its when the shell can be lifted off by US! when do they actually start the "peeling process"? do they release a scent a day or two before the shell starts to loosen? if so fish will detect the scent, long before WE detect the peeling process!;)
blueskip
 

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i use hard backs for smoothies on the boat , if i can't get enough pealers ,they work realy well and sort out the bigger fish ,if there a lot about .break the back and tie it on .you have to downtide with them as they fly apart when casting uptide .i don't use them of the beach for the same reason. any size crab works even the biggins
if you don't beleive me try it . Dai
 

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Most of the biggest fish i have caught (cod) all have had pebbles and stones in their stomachs along with hardback crabs.Im talking about fish over the 10lb mark plus. Even cod have big bony plates at the back of thier mouths to assist with crushing and swallowing their food.

So, i reckon that the big fish will scoff hardbacks when they encounter them as they can use the stones inside them to crush them up to a pulp. Fish are "opportunists" when it comes to a meal - they wont refuse as they really dont know when the next meal will appear!.Unless i cast next to them lol
 

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As to those frozen velvets, I used them a fair bit the year before last and caught hounds on them, but the guy fishing next to me one night was using regular peelers and he outfished me 3 fish to one, so I won't be bothering in future unless there's no other option. Hardbacks work for smoothies but they are harder to tie on in a way which stands a good cast. John Darling used to crush up hardbacks (he had even made a special tool to do it) and use them as ground bait. I reckon crushed up frozen hardbacks in a piece of stocking would work well if you could be bothered. I can't.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
As to those frozen velvets, I used them a fair bit the year before last and caught hounds on them, but the guy fishing next to me one night was using regular peelers and he outfished me 3 fish to one, so I won't be bothering in future unless there's no other option. Hardbacks work for smoothies but they are harder to tie on in a way which stands a good cast. John Darling used to crush up hardbacks (he had even made a special tool to do it) and use them as ground bait. I reckon crushed up frozen hardbacks in a piece of stocking would work well if you could be bothered. I can't.
I think i`ll give the velvets a miss from now on then. I`ve wasted enough time and money on them already.
Might try crushing a few pesky hardbacks though if I can bring myself to do it. Might work in the boat.
 

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Hard backs very good for smoothies on the boat but never had a fish off really.
Also, 1" ones excellent for the big wrasse on the boat.
Always used to fish with them off the rocks when I was a nipper at Waterside campsite south devon.
 

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i absolutley refuse to use anything other than fresh peelers.. on my weeks off i usually go to my secret mark down west and stock up on peelers for future sessions.. ive never seen anyone use hardbacks for normal fishing other than wrasse fishing and if i saw them doing so id like a good explanation as to why they are doing this as it pretty stupid and a waste of everyones time as well as the hardbacks life

tight lines guys
 

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i absolutley refuse to use anything other than fresh peelers.. on my weeks off i usually go to my secret mark down west and stock up on peelers for future sessions.. ive never seen anyone use hardbacks for normal fishing other than wrasse fishing and if i saw them doing so id like a good explanation as to why they are doing this as it pretty stupid and a waste of everyones time as well as the hardbacks life

tight lines guys

Is a hardbacks life more valuable than a peelers life then ?

Pel.
 
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