When determining how many crabs fit in a bushel there are a few things you need to consider.
If you are wondering for catch limits some states require you have an “official bushel” that can have the lid closed without any gaps. It almost goes without saying that the larger the crab is the less will fit in a bushel.
Learn the lingo of the crab! to approximate how many will fit in a bushel
Jimmies – When you hear the term “Jimmies” it is referring to a male crab. These are the most sought after as they are the larger more meaty crabs. If you are trying to impress your friends by grilling some amazing crabs you will want to make sure and ask for the jimmies.
Sooks – This is probably the most common name for female hard crabs and if you are buying the jumbo or even the large crabs you likely won’t have any sooks. If you have all sooks (ladies) you will fit a lot more crabs per bushel.
Jumbo Crabs – These are generally the biggest crabs you can buy and the ones that everyone is after. They are of course the most expensive ones but this really is a case of what you pay for is what you get.
- Generally 5 3/4 inch – 6 3/4 inch across
- 5 or 6 dozens per bushel
- ~60-70 Crabs per bushel
Large Crabs – Most of the crabs sold at seaside restaurants fall into the lower side of large crabs. These are still larger than what most landlubbers are going to be used too.
- Generally 5 1/4 inch – 5 3/4 inch across
- 6 or 7 dozens per bushel
- ~70-80 Crabs per bushel
Medium Crabs – Here you are starting to get into the Sooks and the smaller male crabs that are often sent to commercial kitchens to be used in products where the crab is not served in as visible of a manner.
- Generally 5 inch -5 1/4 inch across
- 7 or 8 dozens per bushel
- ~80-90 Crabs per bushel
Some states have particular restrictions on how many crabs you can have in a bushel
How many crabs in a bushel when Recreational crabbing in Virginia tidal waters
“Taking by dip net, handline, or two crab pots as much as one bushel of hard crabs and two dozen peeler crabs in any one day for personal use aboard any vessel. If crabbing occurs from shore (crabs are not possessed on a vessel) the possession limit is one bushel and two dozen peeler crabs per person per day. “
This is pretty cool. In Virginia, they have exempted you from a license to crab as long as you keep an eye on how many crabs you can have in your bushel and out of it!
If you are on the shore you can take a full bushel of hard-shell crabs which will likely be around 75 crabs. You get to take an additional two dozen peeler crabs per person. To be clear this is on top of the full bushel of hard shell crabs. To be able to take that many crabs without a license is just a real gift coming from Virginia and I applaud them for not charging people to take crabs out of the ocean.