Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Maine Coast
Thanked 117 Times in 85 Posts
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Re: Lobster Pots & a prop protection wire from Keel to Skeg?
When sailboats snag a pot on a shaft or rudder, and think they are doing a favor by trying to get it off without cutting it, they usually are only making it worse.
Wire traps are very light weight and dragging ten of them is no problem for a boat with sails up or one in wind and current. Often times what happens is the boat drifts, and drags the the string across a few others. This makes a HUGE, HUGE mess!!
I used to run pot buoys on both ends of my string, as most all fisherman do. Not once did I ever loose both ends at the same time. Replacing a pot buoy is FAR cheaper than loosing 300 feet of warp to a tangle and the time involved in re-rigging a string..
As far as toggles go the old excuse is that they are used to keep the line from tangling the bottom or a rock. This is pure BS!! This excuse is worn out and is not even close to why they actually use them. Most fisherman use them out of habit & history and because the more they use them the more pot buoys they lose due to line cuts. It is a self fulfilling/defeating idea. If they used no toggles as they do in Casco Bay they would lose a LOT less pot buoys. Sadly old habits die hard and fishermen are a stale & crusty old bunch whom are also very, very resistant to change. They keep using toggles so that when the main pot buoy gets cut they can still boat hook the toggle.
If you want to see just how much BS the "keep the line off the bottom theory is" just note how many of the toggles are still floating & laying rather flat on the surface at high tide. By "theory" that toggle should be 10-14 feel below the surface at high tide to keep the line off the bottom.
I have actually argued against the use of these toggles, from a boater safety standpoint, and as an ex-commercial fisherman, to my state Senator, but he was unwilling to submit a bill to ban them. There is ZERO legitimate reason for their use, they way they are currently used, and they only lead to more pot buoys being cut off. Thus the fisherman think they are a good idea and the viscous circle begins again..
Far less pot buoys are cut off in areas where they don't use them. In my thousands & thousands of pulls, without toggles, I never once had a line snag the bottom, ever. Toggles are pure BS!
Here are a few tips on how to deal with lobster pots.
#1 ALWAYS try to pass to the down current, down wind or down tide side of the pot. Never intentionally pass above a lobster pot unless you absolutely know you have the room to do so! They have an uncanny way of letting you know which way is up current, wind or tide and which way is down. Follow the stick or the wake!
This one is pointing or angled towards "down tide" so you'll pass to where the stick leans or points. This is about a 1.5 knot current at the mouth of Penobscot Bay and well off Vinalhaven and Northhaven Islands. We were miles from the nearest land yet Pen Bay has HUGE amounts of water to spill and the currents can run miles out to sea.. NEVER EVER intentionally pass a pot like this to the up tide or up current side!!!
#2 Wear polarized sunglasses!!! My daughter had grabbed my Maui Jim's and got "snack goo" all over them. Rather than clean them I stupidly grabbed my "guest" pair of sunglasses, a non-polarized pair of Ray Ban's.
As you can see we almost hit this pot that was pulled under by the tidal current! My maneuver was late because I never saw it until the absolute last second. At that point I had no choice but to turn hard stbd and pass to the up-current side which as you can see could have been very dangerous. Again, WEAR POLARIZED SUNGLASSES! You will see these submerged pots well before you will with non-polarized glasses. My camera had a polarizing filter so I snapped that as we passed.
#3 just because it's calm does not mean the pots are not still trying to tell you something. Current & tide still exists even in flat glass conditions. Note the direction of the "sticks"...
#4 It may be calm but this pot has a decent current flowing by it. Just look at the "wake" made by the buoy..
Look for his or her "colors" then spot his/her pots on the water and as a courtesy, and for your own safety, these guys are cowboys, get away from them as the boat is likely moving to the next pot that matches the displayed colors!
I passed too close to a lobster guy and he was swearing at me and really pissed how do I avoid pissing these guys off?
Lobstermen are required to display their "colors" or one of their own pot buoys mounted up high on the boat so it can be seen.
Note the pot buoy above the radome:
Note the "colors" on the port side wheel house roof:
Note the "colors" laying on the wheel house roof behind the spot light & hanging dead center also look on the water and you'll see two more of his/her pots.. stay away from them:
Pot buoy/colors located on stern end port side of wheel house roof:
-Maine Sail / CS-36T
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