Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lobstering in Casco Bay with my Dad

My old man and the sea

A few days ago I took my dad lobstering. Rising early left him quite flustered.
"Where are my boots?" He shouted from the mud room. Before I could help him search he shouted again.
"Oh, never mind, they're right where I left them."
He strode into the kitchen where I was finishing my breakfast. He tore apart the pantry and ended up stuffing a granola bar into his pocket. After securing his daily snack, he started grabbing other items. I saw him place his camera in his pocket.
"Do you have spare batteries?" I asked him.
He ripped open the junk drawer.
"What kind does it take?" he asked.
"I dunno"
He grabbed a handful of various batteries and placed them in his pocket with his granola bar.

He calmed down during the car ride. Enough to lean his seat back while we were waiting for the Captain to arrive.

"Morning Will!" The Captain yelled.
"Did you bring your father with you?"
"Yep" I replied, gesturing towards my dad.
The Captain approached my dad and extended his hand. My dad hurriedly shifted his rolled up oilskins into his left hand and shook hands with the Captain.

We took the skiff out to the boat and put on two barrels of bait. After baiting up, we got under way.

Getting ready for the day

I took out a handful of empty bags and tossed them on top of the bait.
"About seven fish in a bag" I shouted over the noise of the engine.
My dad began quickly stuffing the bait bags.

We began to approach our first string. I explained to him exactly how I wanted the traps to be placed. I took my place by the wash rail and started baiting the traps. Once I baited the trap I slid it down to my dad. My dad would then grab the trap off the wash rail and place it on the trap rack.

After the first string I showed him how to band the lobsters. This led to a few near misses.
"Did he get you?" I asked after seeing my dad jerk away from a lobster.
"No, but he almost grabbed me"
"I've never seen you move so fast"
After recovering from his near miss he was able to continue banding lobsters.

Eventually he got into a rhythm. He would stack the traps and then band all the lobsters caught. He also took lots of photos during the day.

Sunrise in Casco Bay

We left half an hour before sunrise. The sun came up just as we reached our first string.

Bagging bait

I stuff dead herring in the bags. We use one bag a trap.

Sorting lobsters

The captain measures a lobster while I toss a small lobster overboard.

Traps being set back out.

These traps have been baited and stacked on the trap rack. When the first trap in the string is thrown overboard, these are pulled along as well, one by one.

Lobsters waiting to be banded

Once the lobsters are banded they are thrown in the holding tank.

Last trap in a string.

The last trap is about to be pulled overboard.

Captain steering the boat towards home

We hauled our last trap around 11:00. We got home by 12:30.


  1. God I miss this. Great pics, and man, it must be nice to fish hard bottom. We always ended up covered in mud and gore. We used to use 4 barrels of herring for 400 traps a day. It seems like you guys use less- how many days do you let the traps soak?

  2. Hey Paul,
    We are using two (55 gallon) barrels a day. The traps are on a 3 night soak.

    We started taking up traps the day after the photo's were taken.

    Thanks for the comment