Shop bought peeler is always expensive, but sometimes spending a few pounds on good bait for a few hours fishing is part and parcel of todays pace of life. But, if you have the time, inclination and energy to go and gather your own bait from the seashore rocks and mudflats, then somehow the fish that you catch are much more satisfying.

Look for peeler crabs close in to rocks or under small boulders particularly those covered in weed. Often they will just sit still and in the muddy water they are easily overlooked. Used a thick rubber industrial glove or a piece of thick wire with a short hook on the end to drag through the pool of muddy water left after shifting a rock.
What a lot of anglers do to test a crab to see if it is a peeler is to grasp one of its rear legs and gently twist and pull, if the leg comes away leaving a soft partially formed leg behind the crab is a peeler. This is the conventional wisdom often found in books and articles.

What many professional crab pickers do is to squeeze the back of the shell, when the carapace will begin to lift showing the soft partially formed shell underneath, as you can see in the accompanying picture.