Monday, March 16, 2009

"bugged" a good way!

This past weekend I went to Catalina Island to visit some friends and to have some fun. We went for a drive out in the interior of the island, and it was green and lovely! (photos later this week) And then Saturday night I got to try something new and a bit unusual...

For the past couple of years one of my friends has been trying her hand at lobster fishing with a hoop net off the boat dock. She has been inviting me to join her, and this--the final weekend of this year's lobster season--was finally my first time!

Right at about sunset we dressed warmly and headed out to the boat dock with all our supplies: hoop net, squid for bait, a great big bucket, hot chocolate, and a few other things. We met another friend, D, out there, and he was already fishing for a fish or two to use as additional bait. He brought one in (a bonita) right as it was getting dark, and we were all set for catching our "bugs." (that's what lobsters are 'affectionately' called--because that's what they look like and what they sound like, too!)

Here am I, sporting D's fish, looking like I'm quite the fisherwoman! (note the famous Casino building in the background)

This is what a lobster net looks like: The bait goes in the little section in the middle of the net. You drop the net into the water and let the rope out until the net has settled on the ocean floor. The rope is then tied to a railing or whatever is handy to which to secure it. And then, you wait a little bit for the lobsters to show up for dinner. The unsuspecting lobster notices a delicious squid and bonita dinner and walks across the net to take a nibble or two.
While the lobster is down below munching on calamari, we were up on the dock waiting for a bit of time to pass. After 5 or 10 minutes (I was rather excited and impatient to try my hand at this) you VERY QUICKLY grab the rope and fast, fast, fast! pull the net up out of the water... ideally, catching up the feasting lobster. And hopefully, you will have something like this in the net:

My first one (a GIANT one, by the way!) was not IN the net but hanging on the outside of the net. As soon as I had pulled the net up out of the water, we all cheered at the big bug on the net! And then we all cried out in dismay as he casually let go and fell back into the water. So sad. He would have been a tasty one! : )

As you can see in the photos above and below, our lobsters do not have claws. It makes them much less scary to pick up, though I was still quite trepidatious to grab one out of the net! They are very active and quick and strong, and they don't really like to be handled! I did get the hang of it, though, I didn't pick up the biggest ones we caught...they were just a bit too intimidating for me!

Between the three of us, we probably brought in about 20-25 lobsters that night. Only about 4 of them were of legal size to keep. We had several that were just a little tiny bit too small, and they were tempting... but we threw them back to grow some more. This big girl below was the prize of the night...
Look at the size of that beauty!!
And in the background, you can see the face of the one who caught her...

Look at the size of the smile on D's face!
I'll bet he was thinking about the size of that tail
and what a tasty treat it was going to be!!
So, this is me...bravely (ha!) holding a lobster up for a photo...
and it's not holding as still as it looks!

What a beauty!
(in an odd lobstery sort of way!) I think I caught the bug (ha!) for this lobster fishing thing that night! It was a good time out in the fresh sea air under the dark cover of night...the sound of ocean waves, the stars overhead...good friends, good atmosphere...
and good eating later this week!

...and maybe tomorrow I'll show you what else we caught in our lobster nets!


  1. Wow! You go fisher-girl ... a fisher of fish and bugs ... and through your blog and the way you live your life, a fisher of men!

  2. debra, you so brighten my morning! you are such an encouragement to me! :)


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