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 BoardFisher.com 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.