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Peeler crabs are crabs that are just about to shed their outer shell.

On a female crab the apron is triangular shape and red in color. When they are not peeler crabs their apron is white.

Very seldom (like never) is a female crab with a dome shaped apron a peeler crab.

When you go to cut open a peeler crab you will find a inner shell already formed.

Now if someone would be kind enough to explain how to distinguish a male peeler crab we will both know. All I know is that they are called white line crabs. . .

Edit 1 I did find this image of that may be of use for Jimmy crabs. The top row is the gill raker the bottom is the swimmer fin.



Edit 2 Here is a picture of a female crab that I was talking about.



Here is a link to a web page with lots of pictures.

Blue crab molting signs

Tom
 

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Those are good pictures Tom. I have had friends ask me a bunch of times how to I.D. a "rank" peeler as the shore boys call them vs. a "green" peeler. The latter stages of the photos show the white lines I look for when buying "rank" peelers. I will say however that I have found that "green" peelers are better for fishing for drum, etc. around the CBBT and in the surf as they tend to stay on the hook much better than a rank peeler. In the surf I like green peelers as well for the same reasons. When surf fishing your trying to throw your bait as far as you can and the rank peeler will often fly off the hook durring a cast as its so soft.
Fishing shallow for reds & specks. in the bay up here near home however I want a rank peeler. Especially durring a doubler run. Its like a dinner bell ringing that cals the fish into the shallows/ :thumbup:
 

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tOM AND SAM....YOU CAN ALWAYS TELL THE FEMALE PEELERS THAT ARE READY TO TURN INTO A MATURE FEMALE BY THE PURPLE AND PINK APRON ON THE BOTTOM....IN THE SHAPE OF A TRIANGLE...WHEN SHE SHEDS INTO A MATURE SHE WILL HAve THE HALF MOON COLORED APRON AND WILL NOT SHED ANY MORE....
iF ITS A IMMATURE FEMALE IT WILL BE WHITE LIKE A MALE......ANDS THE WAY i USUALLY TELL IS HOW DARK THE CRAB IS AND THE LEGS ARE USUALLY CLEARER.....
WHEN THEY GET READY TO SHED THEY ARE DARK AND THE LEGS START TO SWELL.....
ON THE MALE AND FEMALE....THE RED AROUND CLAW TIPS USUALLY GETS MORE RED AND THE COLORS JUST GET DEEPER....WHEN THE CRAB IS LIGHT AND ALREADY SHEDED THE CRAB IS A LIGHTER COLOR....
tHAT PICTURE YOU HAVE TOM---OF THE BACK FIN WILL START TO HAVE 2 LINES.....USUALLY RED IN COLOR....WHICH IS THE FIN IN A FIN....YOU CAN SQUEEZE THIS FIN FRONT THE TIP IN AND IT WILL SLIDE UP INSIDE THE OTHER HARDER FIN AND YOU WILL SEE THRU IT...tHAT TELL YOU ITS REAL CLOSE TO SHEDDING....
ALSO YOU CAN TURN THE CRAb OVER AND LOOK AT THE BOTTOM OF THE TOP SHELL AND SEE THE CRACKS STARTING....WHICH BY THEN IT MIGHT BE STARTING TO BUST IN THE BACK....HENSE THE NAME BUSTERS......THEN ARE THE BEST BAIT YOU WILL EVER FISH WITH IN THE BAY....
hOPE THAT HELPS......FIRST FULL MOON IN mAY WILL BE BRINGING THE CRABS TO MOLT, PEEL OR SHED.....
iF THE FEMALES ARE GETTING READY TO SHED THEY PUT OUT PHEROMONES THAT ATTRACT THE BETTER MALES AND THEY GRAB THEM UP AND CARRY THEM AROUND UNTIL THEY SHED...SO THEY CAN MATE RIGHT AFTER......THEY ARE CALLED DOUBLERS...
YOU CAN USUALLY GET OUT REAL EARLY IN THE MORNING AND DIP THOSE OFF THE PILINGS ON A FALLING TIDE....OF IF YOU HAVE A NICE CALM AREA.....YOU CAN LOOK FOR THEM SWIMMING ON THE SURFACE LOOKING FOR A PILING TO ATTACH TO REST AND WARM IN THE MORNING SUN....
 
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