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Catching Crawfish Texas Style – How to use Live Crawfish as Bait

Catching Crawfish

Catching Crawfish – Texas Style

Using live crawfish fishing bait is an excellent way to catch fish.  Here I share our way to catching crawfish Texas style!  

My husband and daughter slaughtered a variety of fish one day with a bucket of live crawfish. Unbelievably, the smaller crawfish caught more fish than the large.  In order to fish with crawfish, first you have to find them, then you have to catch them.

How to use Live Crawfish as Bait

There are several places to find crawfish.  Near or in lakes, rivers, creeks and ponds.  They can also be found in ditches that hold water for long periods of time.  In shallow water areas look under large rocks in the water as they love to hide.

crawfish fishing bait
Catching bait, and going fishing, will get the kids outdoors once they get a taste for it. Be sure to also read our 10 Tips for Taking Kids Fishing

How to Catch a Crawfish

In shallow waters they can be caught by hand, but be sure to grab them from on top of their bodies behind their claws to avoid the mean little pinch they can shell out (pun).  Another way to nab some crawfish is with a net with small holes.  


Catching Crawfish Texas Style
My husband crawfishing with his fishing net, in a little ditch just under a bridge, off the main road. Catching Crawfish Texas Style!


You will need a net with smaller holes, not a regular fishing dip net, the holes are too large for crawfish. It will also need a long handle, 16 to 18 inches is a great length. Here is a great example of the crawfish net you should buy.

We have even used butterfly nets from the local dollar store. They don’t hold up long but they get the job done well for $1.  This is a fun way to entertain kids!  Of course they may freak out and not want to touch their catch, but that’s okay, parent to the rescue. Speaking of kids, grab our “Kids Guide to Finding Fish Bait” here. It will instantly download in a PDF file.

Remember that the way crawfish swim is backwards to how we think they should swim.  They use their tails to propel themselves backwards and pretty quickly too.  So when using a net take this into consideration, if the water is deep enough for them to swim that is.   So anticipate their movement and take appropriate action.

Crawfish Trap

Another popular way to catch crawfish is with with a crawfish trap.  You can find these for sell at local fishing shops or you may even make your own out of some chicken wire and ingenuity.  Simply place the trap along the edge of a lake, river, or creek where the water is deep enough.  You can place attractants, like hot dogs, chicken legs, or whatever inside the trap to lure them in. Leave the trap for several hours or overnight for best results.  *Below are some great options on Amazon, if you make a purchase, I get a small portion!

Quick Recap of using a Crawfish Trap

  • Tie attractants such as hot dogs, chicken legs, chicken liver to bottom of trap.
  • Place trap in a river, creek, or shallow waters (deep enough to cover trap)
  • Leave trap for several hours, or overnight for best results

Willapa Marine Crawfish TrapWillapa Marine Crawfish TrapPromar Collapsible Crawfish / Crab Trap 24Promar Collapsible Crawfish / Crab Trap 24

How to use Crawfish for Bait

After you are done catching crawfish Texas style of course, store them in a bucket in shallow water.  You don’t have to change the water frequently as you do with minnows, and since they can breath air, you can probably can make an entire fishing trip without doing so, as long as the water doesn’t get to hot and cook them! ~I’m in Texas, that can happen.

When you are ready to fish with them, simply use a small fish net and scoop one up!

How to Hook a Crawfish

The best way to hook a crawfish is in the upper part of their tail (below and not into the belly) and going from underneath their tail out the shell.

AnglersEscape on YouTube has a great little video explaining how to hook a crawfish – okay crayfish/crawdad/crawfish, whatever you want to call them. Watch it below:

Use them for Rigs Too

Noteworthy to mention, crawfish are great for rigs too!  I recommend removing their claws for this; that is if they have fairly large claws; this helps avoid tangling.


I hope I have been helpful in explaining catching crawfish  Texas style  ~and using them for bait.  If you get a chance to try this, please share your experience with me in the comments below!




Tina has been fishing since before she could walk. She met the love of her life 19 years ago and now they compete to see who can catch the most or largest fish. Together they raised their little girl who is no longer little, but a beautiful young fisherwoman herself and more competition for the happy family.

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