Learn how to prepare the perfect cart bait!

Shore angler Matthew Garbutt reveals how he prepares his cart bait for targeting cod from rough ground shore marks

There’s been a lot of debate on cart over the years, especially about best methods of preparation. The shore lads from Whitby pioneered it and left the rest of us wondering why they were having such incredible results. Their secret of success is out, though, and if you can get your hands on some edible crabs, you’re in luck.

Basically, cart is the inner meat and all-important coral from an edible hen crab, and by removing, preparing and storing it properly, your next shore cod session could well
be one to remember.

Coral is the eggs carried by the crab and stored in the wings before they come into what’s known as ‘berry’. The coral can also be stored in the crown of the crab too. It’s easily and immediately noticeable by its distinct orange colour.

Once you’ve opened up the crab to reveal the flesh and coral, the water must be drained before removing it. After collecting enough, it can then be made into blocks or sausages, wrapped in clingfilm and then frozen.

The easiest way to collect enough crabs to prepare your cart is to buy them from a fishmonger or fisherman who works crab pots. This way, you can be sure that the crabs you are using are of legal landing size.

Step 1. 

Remember to only use edible hen crabs that are of legal size. The minimum size in the North East is 140mm, but it varies from 130-140mm.

Remember to only use edible hen crabs that are of legal size. The minimum size in the North East is 140mm, but it varies from 130-140mm.

Step 2.

Turn the edible crab upside down so the eyes face the floor and, using the palm of your hand, hit the crown to despatch it in a quick manner.

Turn the edible crab upside down so the eyes face the floor and, using the palm of your hand, hit the crown to despatch it in a quick manner.

Step 3. 

Pull away the carapace to reveal the flesh and coral inside the crab.

Pull away the carapace to reveal the flesh and coral inside the crab.

Step 4. 

Turn the edible crab upside down so the eyes face the floor and, using the palm of your hand, hit the crown to despatch it in a quick manner.

Turn the edible crab upside down so the eyes face the floor and, using the palm of your hand, hit the crown to despatch it in a quick manner.

Step 5.

When you have removed the wings, flesh and coral, place on kitchen paper.

When you have removed the wings, flesh and coral, place on kitchen paper.

Step 6.

When the moisture is soaked up, you are ready to prepare the cart bait.

When the moisture is soaked up, you are ready to prepare the cart bait.

Step 7.

Take the wing, flesh and coral and wrap it tightly in clingfilm. This step is very important to remove all the air and prevent freezer burn.

Take the wing, flesh and coral and wrap it tightly in clingfilm. This step is very important to remove all the air and prevent freezer burn.

Step 8.

Tie a tight knot in each end of the clingfilm and your cart baits are ready to go in the freezer. Only remove the bait you need for each session.

Tie a tight knot in each end of the clingfilm and your cart baits are ready to go in the freezer. Only remove the bait you need for each session.