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If you’ve visited beaches bordered by mangroves or salt marshes, you’ve no doubt seen the parade of tiny figures dashing for subterranean shelter. Fiddler crabs, those tiny, colorful crustaceans that forage over damp sand exposed by low tide are a prized live bait for sheepshead, pompano, redfish and black drum.

Finding fiddlers is easy, just scan those likely areas for dozens or little figures dashing in and out of freshly excavated holes. Territorial males waving their oversized claws are hard to miss.

Catching fiddlers—that’s a different story. Fleet footed and highly observant, fiddlers may appear vulnerable on the open beach, but try to catch even one by hand and they’ll make you look silly.

But fret not; we have options. For clarity, taking a shovel to that beautiful beach is a big no-no. Finesse and strategy — those are the tools of savvy fiddler pluckers.

Two popular methods:

1. Sneak onto the fiddlers’ feeding flat and bury several coffee cans amid the holes. Hide in close proximity and when several crabs emerge to forage, sprint toward them and, if you’re lucky, several will mistake the can traps for escape routes.

2. For great productivity, bend one side of a window screen to form a lip, lay the screen near a bunch of fiddler holes and toss fish meal across the mesh. Again, hide close and once a dozen or so fiddlers venture onto the screen, rush in to lift your trap and shake the captives into a bucket.

Hooked through the outer edge of their shells with a light wire hook, fiddlers are an easy sell to whatever’s living around dock, pier or bridge pilings.