Red Rock Crab | Plagusia chabrus

Red Rock Crab

The Red Rock Crab is also known as the Red Bait Crab. Red Rock Crabs are found living around the weed and in crevices on the rocks and ledges at the water level or just below the surface, when disturbed will move away with great speed to the nearest cover or crevice.

The Red Rock Crab grows to 10cm occasionally larger crabs are seen their body colour is either red or reddish brown with lighter reddish orange bumps and margins on the carapace, legs and claws which also have a dense coat of short hairs. Red Rock Crabs are found from Queensland around the southern coastline to Western Australia Red Rock Crab.


Red Rock Crab as Bait
The Red Rock Crab is regarded by many as Australia’s finest crab bait that can be used from the rocks. It has a very hard shell and is also one of the meatiest of the small crabs we see on the rocks. Blue Groper, Estuary Cod, Morwong and Drummer all favour Red Rock Crab.

Bait Presentation
Red Rock Crabs have a very hard shell and trying to push a hook through can be dangerous to yourself and most likely kill the crab fairly fast, if you intend to use them as live bait the easiest way is to remove the lower leg and passing hook through and back out the lower body and fished under a float to stop the crab finding its way back in to a crevice which you would lose the bait and rig along with it. Other methods are to cut the crab into pieces remove the shell and legs cut the body in half and thread it on to your hook this is a better way of presenting Red Rock Crab as bait for Bream, Morwong or Snapper.

How to Collect Red Rock Crab
Red Rock Crabs can be collected at low tide around the rocks using a small barbed spear to pull them from the crevices they hide in. Alternatively, you can collect by hand however Red Rock Crabs are extremely fast and agile in their natural environment and collecting can take some time. If you can find them in an area which has safe small washes you can pin them as a wave rolls over the rock they are feeding on, or hunt them in to a crevice and pull them out if possible try not to damage while collecting in this way because a handful of legs will not serve you well as bait compared to the whole crab.

*** Remember if you are fishing or collecting bait from the rocks have a friend with you and watch the water around you***

Red Rock Crab – Size and Bag Limts

Please Note:
Bag limits, minimum and maximum lengths are subject to change and review by your State Fisheries Department.
  • minimum size: –
  • maximum size: –
  • possession limit: Total of 10

Please visit this page for more information.

Learn more about Red Rock Crab at these resources

Google Images
John Turnbull Flickr

Atlas of living Australia
Australian Museum

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