Positioning pots for recovering lobster

Don’t mistake this post for a rehab’s bowel care guide for partied-out crustaceans – this is a serious article about methods in catching lobster. 

There’s no substitute for a real lobster pot. Heavy, smelly and cumbersome they may be but lobsters are suspicious of the less taught netting of collapsible pots kept flat on sea kayak decks.

The thinking lobster

Although suspicion is probably one sentiment beyond a lobster’s capability they are certainly weary of the ‘give’ in the netting of collapsible creel nets and are far more comfortable with climbing inside the rigid, solid and sturdy lobster pots seen on quaysides and in commercial fishing harbours.

Lobsters come out to hunt at night and, if mouth-watering morsels are left as bait in the pot during this period, the likelihood of catching a lobster is high. The term mouth watering is, of course, relative to the likes and dislikes of Homarus gammarus – the European lobster or, as he is sometimes known, the Common lobster. His diet is different to ours.

Giddy fish

Just as humans like aged steak, lobsters go giddy for old fish. A sure way to age fish without it rotting is to place it in six inches of sea salt for a couple of weeks. The salt will draw the moisture from the flesh and stop it from rotting all the while. After this while the fish will be dried, crispy, rigid and irresistible to Homarus gammarus. 

Lurking lobster

Despite a lobster pot being heavy to manhandle and not suitable for a sea kayak it is possible at low tide to wade into the sea to place one or two over rocky or weedy ground, for this is where the loitering lobster often lurks, to be collected at the same time in the following tide-cycle. Bait the pot and secure it to the seabed by placing a couple of rocks inside. Twice the pots, double the chance. Remember, lobsters party hard at night so, just like a bailiff knocking on the door of a house the morning after an all nighter, you need to come collecting at dawn.

Law of the lobster

Before placing a pot be sure that you know the local law. Some areas allow six pots per person, others limit potting to certain months of the year and some require a licence for all potters whether for commercial use or not. Stick to the local Minimum Catch Size if you prefer to avoid pubs going silent when you enter and always return female lobsters nurturing eggs back to the water.

Pinching pots

Do be aware that lobster potting is extremely territorial and patches can be passed from father to son through generations so be sure to know the area, the people and the culture. Otherwise be prepared to have your pot pinched by an angry fisherman.

I told you this was serious.

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