The prep work is done. The USS Coalman is on the slip. 30 lobster traps are lurking the waters of Great Bay.
Saw some younger folks setting a 5 trap string Saturday. On my way in I thought my trap was a little close to theirs. So in order for my piece of mind and to take any temptation away I decided to move the trap. I had only set it 48 hours earlier with cow bait. Usually takes 4-5 days for the bait to work. Well there was a keeper lobster in the trap. I set it back and checked 5 more traps and got another keeper. Mmmm Mmmmm Good. Those Bay lobsters are the sweetest.
I did see birds busting on fish between red and green can. But my mind has been on bugging. No pole in the boat.
Got extra bait? Donations gladly accepted.
Tonight was the first full check of the line. I am pulling up to my first string of the year. You are looking at Great Bay National Wildlife Reserve.
I wish I was an Indian for a day.
There are some great untapped treasures in Great Bay. How many Tautog fisherman do you know. This is a very ugly fish. It is not common this far north. The meat is a delicacy.
This is my PB to date. It was all of 5 lbs.
Thirty traps in 2.5 hours is work. But it is a labor of love. I caught 1 tautog,
Red crabs, green crab, a tomcod, a cunner, a horseshoe crab, 6 short lobsters and..............
I saw three deer on the marsh on the ride back in. I am living a dream. I feel truly blessed.
The bugs are moving and I need some bait.
Checked 29 out of 30 traps tonight. Only 5 keepers. No shorts.
My buddy fished his 30 traps today and got 18 keepers. I plan on getting some herring Saturday and re-bait the line. I don't think the Sealure puts down as good a scent trail as fresh fish bait.
The water is warming up and the bugs are moving back out to the Piscatiqua River and the ocean. I am not going to chase them.
I'm only going as far as Fox Point. I may put the traps up for August and striper fish, I'll reset when the bugs come back in the Bay this fall. It is half the distance to travel. It is my most favorite time to lobster trap.
I saw fish all over tonight. I have a few eels but no time to fish. I am glad for the upcoming holiday weekend. I can properly set the line and drown those eels chasing a linesider.
Took a half dozen eels out to Little Bay today. Drown them all. No bites. Didn't see any fish either. Spent the afternoon learning the flats for my upcoming all nighter in the Bay. If I can do it in the Mack, I can do it in the Bay.
The fog was THICK on the Bay this morning. The GPS and the breadcrumb is the balls.
Didn't have much faith in the sets after last Wednesday's poor showing. When I got out there the place was a mess. A huge tide 8' 2" on 06/30/08 had dispersed my traps. It was a long morning in the search and rescue mode.
Because of the tide flooding the marsh and bringing all the debris back into the water there were huge islands of floating weeds and debris. It was a good day to be on the lookout for logs and stumps in the water.
About 1/2 of my traps were full of debris. One was so full and heavy I had a hard time lifting it over the side of the boat.
For a guy who used to pull by hand I love my electric puller. Vole Island on the left, Adam's Point on the right.
And a clique of overnight rafters on the Point. Little bit of cashola tied up here.
Did I mention I got 14 keeper lobster? We ate well on Plum Island Saturday evening before our all nighter.
My favorite show is the Deadliest Catch. They talk about "rhythm". They talk about "dialing in". I know what it is like to"work the rail".
The Bay was my Bering Sea tonight. She was blowing a steady 20 mph.
The tide and the wind made the traps come up under the boat. Not the best fishing conditions. But I had a good "rhythm" going.
The first 10 traps in deep water that have been producing were empty. I set a long string on the west side of the Bay last Saturday. As I checked those traps I started picking up lobsters the closer to the ocean I went.
Half soft shell and half hard shell. Something is happening in a mile stretch. The lobsters have been deep. 50' was producing. Tonight 40' was good on hard bottom. The hard shells mean they are coming in to shed.
Great Bay hard shell lobsters are a delicacy.
I had the traps grouped together. I spread them out more and I am hoping to "dial in". I caught red, green and horseshoe crabs. I kept them all for my eel traps. One nice black sea bass. A 10" tom cod and I didn't have a fishing pole in the boat.
I pulled 3 short lobsters out of the traps and 12 keepers. I caught my PB lobster tonight. It has to be 2.5 pounds. The claws are as big as my hand.
I pulled a trap tonight and looked like there were two lobsters in it. One was hollow, one was jelly. The lobster shed in my trap. Big keeper. Too soft to band. I put it all by itself on one side of the car. The other lobsters would eat it. It is so soft it might not be in the car when I go back. We'll see.
Going to meet a couple friends for high tide tomorrow night at Adam's Point. High tide is right at dusk. It is not where you fish, it is when you fish.
The smile on my face was ear to ear tonight. The Great Bay is back.
Met up with XP600 and bdragon in The Bay Friday night. After exchanging gifts, XP brought me a dozen eels, I sent them home with lobsters, we fished some skinny water. The bass didn't cooperate. We caught 1 schoolie.
I have a good idea where the lobsters are hanging out. It is not where I had my first 8 sets. All empty.
Time to "stack the deck".
You can see where I am heading with these on the left. Fox Point. I set six traps at the mouth of Oyster River. Two sets went into a couple holes in the shallows. Both locations are proven. It is a pain in the butt moving gear. But it is important. Lobsters move. By moving the traps comes the anticipation of your efforts. This is lobster trapping but the call of the mountain man is loud as every trap comes in over the rail.
The west side of the Bay was good to me last week. I was anxious to check those pots. They didn't let me down.
I am fishing thirty traps. I can only find 29. The last 21 traps produced 13 keepers and 8 shorts. Lots of females. This was only a 2.5 day soak. It tells me the bugs are there. I moved three more traps ahead of the producing string in 50' of water.
A trapper needs a day like today to get the gear in order. A hobby fur trapper may only check sets before work. I have been checking them after work. I race sunset to get it all done. It is tough to read the line in haste.
Today I refreshed the Sealure in each trap and topped it off with a bag of herring per trap. The traps are full of bait set in a mile stretch. I am going to let them soak till the end of the week.
For three straight years 2005,2006 and 2007 the spring rains put my lobstering to a halt. Five fresh water rivers run into my lobstering grounds. The lobsters left for better salinity. I often wonder if the spring floods didn't kill the lobsters so far back in the Bay. My feeling has always been no because of the survival instinct. The size of the lobster I am catching busts the myth. Most need no measuring. They had a safe haven somewhere.
I checked the one eel trap in the Bay after the lobster line was complete.There had to have been 30 crabs in it. Slithering amongst them were over a dozen eels. Every crab in that trap became more bait.
My eel cooler.
The USS Coalman
is a working boat again. The lobsters pay for boat expenses. The eel supply maintains my striped bass fishing addiction.
The name Bay Man is an honor Dad bestowed unto me. The pot hauler is like music. The heavy scent of salt water is good for the nose.
It is good to have my summer playground back to normal.
On the water at 0430 this morning. Sunrise over Goat Island.
did not show themselves on top today. The wind was against the tide and it made drifting an art. Picked up another schoolie. The tides are right next weekend for an all nighta striper fishing trip. I'm in.
I just run a hobby lobster trapping line. Too many and not enough traps. It is fun to describe to you my adventures with the Deadliest Catch diaologue. It is the harvest that makes me feel kin, not the methods. Please don't take me too serious as I ramble.
Sometimes you just know the line is going to produce. The gear is in proper order, the traps are full of bait and you are on to lobsters. Today I "dialed in".
I shared the morning with Riverjim aboard the USS Coalman.
The eight test traps I set in new water last week produced eight keeper lobster.
We caught lobster in eight to fifty feet deep. Final count in twenty eight traps, twenty keeper bugs. This is the best I have done in a few years.
I valuable lesson was learned this week. I have a partner boat in Great Bay. Captain Ray and I share the same dock and our own "Bay reports". We take care of each other and watch out for each others gear.
Ray hasn't had the chance to move his gear. He checked thirty traps twice this week in traditional grounds for a total of nine keepers. We were both anxious to see how my new sets would do. After the "Bay Report" this morning we will both be moving gear this week.
When you look into the eyes of the captain's as their pots come over the rail they see the future potential of the given spot.
There are those that fish and there are those that catch fish. I learn something new everyday.