Cromer gears up for World Pier Crabbing Championships 

This Bank Holiday August will welcome the return of the World Pier Crabbing Championships to Cromer Pier.

And crowds of people are set to line the length of Cromer pier to vie for the coveted title.

The annual event, which will be held on Sunday, August 28, is organised by the Cromer and Sheringham Crab & Lobster Festival and takes place on the same day as the Festival’s charity auction of 102 dinky beach huts.

Festival Chairman Tony Shipp said: “We hope that locals and visitors alike will spend the day with us in Cromer on August 28 and take part in the Crabbing Championships before attending and bidding at the Auction.”

Catching crabs off Cromer Pier has always been a favourite pastime for both locals and holiday makers, with groups of families and friends competing to catch the biggest haul.

Mr Shipp, who has been running crabbing competitions in Cromer for the past 45 years, said: “The World Pier Crabbing Championships were introduced in the same year as the Crab & Lobster Festival was started in 2010 and has grown in popularity ever since.

“The traditional way of catching crabs was with a hand-line. This requires much more skill than crabbing with the nets which are more often used today.

“However the World Championship is judged on the number of crabs caught on a hand-line, although there is a competition for those wanting to use a net.”

The current world champion, four-year-old Riley Stokes of Cromer, also holds the record for the most crabs caught on a hand-line – a total of six which were landed in difficult conditions in 2015.

Before the introduction of the World Championships most of the crab catching competitions were held during carnival weeks. This still remains the same today.

Mr Shipp said: “There is a crabbing competition on the Friday of Carnival Week this year, it’s a good chance to get some practice in before the World Championship on Sunday 28th August.”

Bait will available on the day of the championships but competitors are encouraged to bring their own just in case they want something different from that provided.

For the full set of rules visit



Christian Bulch – Sabre Tackle (Bait and Tackle Shop), Cromer

“Good baits are fish baits like mackerel and sand eels. Top tips – use a good size weight to keep that bait right on the sea bed where the crabs can get to it more easily. Above all you must be patient and when hauling in your line keep it at a smooth steady pace and you won’t go wrong…..Happy Crabbing.”

John Davies – Fisherman (Davies Fish Shop) and Coxswain of Cromer Lifeboat

“The closer you are to a pier leg the better and the further out you are the better. Use fresh bait and plenty of it – get mackerel or something oily with plenty of scent. Squid is a harder bait which the crabs may hang on to better.”

Riley Stokes, 4, reigning World Pier Crabbing Champion, Cromer

Dad, Wes Stokes, a Cromer lifeboatman, said: “We are going to try and keep that title this year. My Dad is a fisherman so we will try and keep the family proud. Last year it was a combination of luck and good bait. We got a bit of fortune and the crabs kept holding on coming up.”

Tony Shipp, World Pier Crabbing Championship organiser

“People all have their favourite bait. I would always use something fairly soft like liver that the crab can hold on to.”

Timetable of events

Sunday, August 28, Cromer 

10am Craft and trade stalls open on the promenade

All 102 Beach Huts go on display on the pier forecourt

Registration starts for the World Pier Crabbing Competition on the pier

10.30am – 1.30pm World Pier Crabbing Competition on the pier

11am Registration opens for the Dinky Beach Hut Auction on the pier forecourt

2pm Prize giving to winners of the World Pier Crabbing Competition on the pier

2.30pm Dinky Beach Hut Auction and prize awards on the pier forecourt



Sunday, August 28, Cromer Pier, 10.30am to 1.30pm


  • The Championship will consist of 1: 3hr. Session, starting at 10.30am
  • There will be 40 pitches available
  • There is a registration fee of £1 per line, per competitor
  • Registration fee to be paid before entering the competition
  • Teams and individuals entering the competition will draw for a pitch for the first hour but may move to another thereafter If there is space available
  • Competitors can opt to use a hand-line or net, no greater that 12ins in diameter
  • The world championship will be judged on the most crabs caught on a hand-line
  • Competitors cannot use both a hand-line and net
  • The winner will be awarded the Richard Davies Plate to keep for one year
  • There will also be a prize for the largest crab caught by size not weight
  • Team sizes apply to adults only, up to 6 people
  • The total number of crabs caught will be divided by the number of people in the team
  • The current record for the most crabs caught on a hand-line is six set in 2015 in difficult landing conditions
  • The record for the most crabs caught in a net was 40 which won a prize in its class but not the World Championship
  • There will be two competitions :
    • For individual children who are under 16 on the day of the Championships
      Children of 7 and under may have the assistance of an adult in baiting their line, but must be in control of their line when landing the crab
    • For adult teams up to a maximum of 6 persons in a team
  • The two classes making up the Championship will be decided on:
    • The greatest number of crabs and
    • The largest crab caught during the Championships
  • One hand line per competitor
  • Lines may be weighted and baited with competitors choice of bait
  • Only live crabs caught during the competition will be judged
  • As crabs are caught they will be registered and left with the officials for a swift return to the sea
  • Buckets, which will be numbered, will be issued on the day of the competition and should only contain sea water
  • Any person caught cheating will be disqualified
  • The Judges decision is final

The Competition will be organised by Tony Shipp MBE, Chairman, Cromer V.E.O. Ltd.

Anglers will be requested to vacate the pier by 9.30am on the day of the competition and not to use the pier until after the Championships, 4.00pm.

Entry forms will be available on the day