Tips on Fishing Hoop Nets

Tips on Fishing Hoop Nets
Hoop nets are simple contraptions used to fish for crabs and lobsters on the ocean floor. They are for the individual fishing off a boat, kayak or even a surfboard. They can bring in several individual catches at once. The hoop nets work by luring crab and lobster into the net area with a piece of bait in the middle--usually a hunk of meat--to draw these meat-eaters. Hoop nets are for use everywhere for crab and lobster, but particularly on the Pacific coast from northern California to the Gulf of Alaska, and on the Atlantic coast around Maine.

Baiting the Hoop

You have much leeway when baiting a hoop net for crab and lobster. Both rely on dead organic material found on the ocean floor for their survival. Meat of any kind will draw attention, but to get the best catch the recommendation is oily and pungent fish or foods. Shad are always popular, as is herring. Virtually any fish you find existing in the habitat you are fishing is great to use as bait, since the lobster and crab can identify it. The experts on report mackerel as one of their most effective choices for bait.


Choosing a Location

Find a flat ocean bottom close to the shore, preferably near a cave, outcropping of rocks or structures where crab and lobster can inhabit and protect themselves from predators. Ideal depths are 20 to 30 feet. You want the hoop net to lie flat on the ocean floor so your prey has to step onto the netting to reach the bait. You're better off hunting at night, when lobster are active and on the prowl for food.

Prepare for the Night

When fishing at night, you need to prepare yourself adequately for the difficulties and dangers of being on the water at night. Flashlights are essential to see your net and the people and objects around you. You should also pack glow sticks to mark your traps and keep yourself oriented with their locations. Wear a life jacket, even if not required in the waters you are fishing. Wet suits are essential, too. They can save your life if you get stuck in the water or if temperatures drop.

Use minimal line

Be aware of the depth where you fish and have appropriate lengths of line. When fishing in depths of 20 to 30 feet, 100 feet of line is a waste. Forty-five feet is the most you would need at this depth. The more line you have the more confusing and potentially problematic your hoop net rig will be. Additionally, if you have friends along with their own hoop nets, you can get tangled and create headaches for everyone around you.

Dealing with wildlife

Bring thick gloves to avoid cuts or pinches by crab or lobster. Always be on the lookout for seals, which will be drawn to your bait if they are in the area. Keep a safe distance from the seals. They can become aggressive and bite when someone infringes on their space, and they can wreck or steal your hoop net and other equipment.


Article Written By Jonathan Croswell

Jonathan Croswell has spent more than five years writing and editing for a number of newspapers and online publications, including the "Omaha World-Herald" and "New York Newsday." Croswell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Nebraska and is currently pursuing a Master's of Health and Exercise Science at Portland State University.

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