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Old 06-13-2018, 05:26 AM   #21
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Crab pot floats are everywhere here on the lower Chesapeake too. We were remarking a few weeks ago how they were in the middle of the channel to our creek ,too. I make a mental note of where they are so that when we're returning after dark I know where to break out the spotlight. Is it fun? No but it's not the end of the world to have to navigate around them. If a couple of floats are particularly a nuisance ,we'll snag them with a boathook and relocate them to one side or the other of the channel.
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Old 06-13-2018, 06:43 AM   #22
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Do you have any vibrations issues with that setup?

No vibrations. There is a slight cavitation noise on occasion if trying to run close to WOT. But there is no point in doing so other than to burn more fuel.
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Old 06-13-2018, 07:22 AM   #23
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If you look at the history of lobstering in Maine, that isn't really the case. There are areas there where you cannot possibly avoid them, they are less than one boat length apart. I've been anchored, and had lobstermen drop traps 10' off my stern and across my anchor chain as I watched.

The density of lobster and crab buoys south of Maine are a minor inconvenience, compared to what goes on there. Here's an example of a less dense area. In the really dense areas, there is no time to shoot a picture. All the little dots are buoys extending to the horizon.
Good point about the history. "Fishing and fouling" are common-law rights which pre-date the constitution. Fishing for lobsters is a more recent thing, but it's still covered under "fishing."

And I can attest that picture is nowhere near the worst you'll find. Your auto pilot won't get much use in those places, and many otherwise great anchorages can be unusable when there's no room to swing between the buoys. Toggle lines and submerged buoys can get you even if you are paying attention.

But for all the negatives, it's not always like that, everywhere. Stay alert, try to avoid the highest-density areas if possible, and enjoy the trip.

Tip: If you ever find yourself cruising the Maine coast at night, or (more likely) in the fog, you'll quickly learn that the only buoys you really care about are the ones directly ahead. Far too many people make wide swings around a buoy that wasn't even a hazard, forcing themselves into even wilder swings to avoid a new crop of buoys even farther off their intended course line. Pick as straight a course as you can.

Tip: Watch for toggles. In some areas the lobstermen all tie a small float about 10-30 feet from the main pick-up buoy, leaving a nearly horizontal line between them, just at prop depth. You need to know which way the current or wind is pushing the pick-up buoy, so you can avoid both the buoys and the line. You'll also quickly learn which color buoys use which toggles, and how they rig the line. For the record, no lobsterman I've ever met can justify the toggles, and most think it's just plain stupid. But traditions die hard. Fortunately not all areas have that particular tradition.
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Old 06-13-2018, 07:23 AM   #24
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Report it to the USCG and the local authority. Can't hurt, may help. I recall the one time we took the inside route down the Keys, after about Channel 5 you could tell where the ICW was because it was filled with pots. The place to put a trap is right at the bottom of an embankment. In many other places, the pots tell you where the real edge of the channel is.
We went into Watch Hill (Napatree Beach anchorage, actually) a few times, didn't notice a problem this time of year on the kind of weird channel over from Stonington. Are there pots there now? We went out of there in pea soup fog once, man that would have been a real PITA.
youd be laughed at...There is laws against fixed fishing gear in the channel but obviously ignored
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Old 06-13-2018, 07:32 AM   #25
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If you look at the history of lobstering in Maine, that isn't really the case. There are areas there where you cannot possibly avoid them, they are less than one boat length apart. I've been anchored, and had lobstermen drop traps 10' off my stern and across my anchor chain as I watched.



The density of lobster and crab buoys south of Maine are a minor inconvenience, compared to what goes on there. Here's an example of a less dense area. In the really dense areas, there is no time to shoot a picture. All the little dots are buoys extending to the horizon.





Exactly! I have been dodging traps my whole life in New England. There is the rest of New England (and Canada), then there is Maine. Outside of Maine there is peaceful coexistence. In Maine, its a bloody hazard. I just avoid the place. As I see it, this is a complete failing by the state of Maine to regulate lobstering.
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Old 06-13-2018, 07:33 AM   #26
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The trick in Maine is to cruise in May and early June. There is very little lobster gear in the water then and what there is is farther off shore. As the season progresses the amount of gear increases and the gear moves in shore. There are also certain places where the gear is thick. Merchant row between Stonington and Isle au Haut tends to be a bit thick. Toggles are mostly in deeper water. The idea is that the toggle buoy can be easily picked up without yanking an arm out of the socket. You will find a lot of toggles in Blue Hill Bay. Unfortunately some fishers set them everywhere.
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Old 06-13-2018, 07:55 AM   #27
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I think that if there was any way to stop crabbers and lobstermen from putting their traps in marked channels, someone would have figured it out by now.
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Old 06-13-2018, 08:25 AM   #28
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Drag a couple of grapple hooks from the bow just below the waterline and relocate the offending pots?
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Old 06-13-2018, 08:42 AM   #29
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Its often NOT the pots you DO see that wind up on your prop.
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Old 06-13-2018, 10:28 AM   #30
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I think that if there was any way to stop crabbers and lobstermen from putting their traps in marked channels, someone would have figured it out by now.
Mine sweepers were developed for exactly this purpose. Two fish are deployed running off the stern port and starboard with a cable between them. It cuts the buoy line, then you machine gun the mine till it blows. There's a nice description of the operation in "The Caine Mutiny". Lobster traps aren't cheap, if the CG just did an occasional sweep of channels they would quit dropping them there. But it is an issue outside of the channels as well. In Maine you will find them in 300' of water and 15 miles offshore, guarding the approaches to major harbors.

The history of the problem is quite recent actually:

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Old 06-13-2018, 11:23 AM   #31
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You would think they would run out of lobster to catch?
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Old 06-13-2018, 11:33 AM   #32
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Lobster traps aren't cheap, if the CG just did an occasional sweep of channels they would quit dropping them there. But it is an issue outside of the channels as well. In Maine you will find them in 300' of water and 15 miles offshore, guarding the approaches to major harbors.
Oh yeah...I'm sure the Coast Guard would be agreeable to that idea. They don't have enough to do as it is.
They (trap floats) really aren't that big of a deal; especially for slower moving trawlers and such. If you keep an adequate watch posted ,there's really no reason to be fouled by one. They're not randomly strewn about; they're in a certain depth for a reason. Figure out where they are & move offshore or inshore. Take note of the tide & wind & stay below the float & it's offending line. Leaving a trackline on the plotter is helpful for a return trip if pots are thick.
I honestly cannot remember ever winding a pot up in a wheel. Have I ever had to take immediate evasive action? Heck yeah. But so far after 50+ years of owning/captaining/running boats of every size,speed & style, I haven't had any catastrophes involving anyone's commercial fishing gear.
Just saying...
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Old 06-13-2018, 11:42 AM   #33
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If you see every buoy out there.... either you are kidding yourself or only run in bright daylight, on calm days, and there zero semi ghost traps or underwater floats where you boat....
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Old 06-13-2018, 11:52 AM   #34
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If you see every buoy out there.... either you are kidding yourself or only run in bright daylight, on calm days, and there zero semi ghost traps or underwater floats where you boat....
No I'm not kidding myself. When I make a statement on here, it's because I know what I'm talking about. Not to add another number to my post count.
If you're referring to my post, take note of the part about keeping a vigilant watch and yes, making a quick turn to get around an obstacle that suddenly pops into view.
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Old 06-13-2018, 01:05 PM   #35
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OK, but my experiences lead me to a different conclusion.

you like many on here know what tbey are talking about....

but I will admit to not being able to see underwater.....
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Old 06-13-2018, 02:09 PM   #36
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It has been pointed out that this is a farming operation, not a fishing operation. Well baited traps are dropped, and as you can see a lot of them. When they are raised, the younger smaller lobsters, well fed on the bait, are thrown back. The larger legal ones are kept and marketed. It is not inconceivable that many lobsters never eat anything but bait from traps. That is farming, or perhaps ranching.
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Old 06-13-2018, 02:24 PM   #37
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A good case for line cutters / spurs on the prop shaft...

Do they work? I have been disabled by a lobster trap in the middle of the Chanel. But cutters are not cheap and require hauling to install. But if I had any feedback from someone that was actually helped by them I might do it. But so far all I have is"Tiger Powder" reports,"I have them and never have any trouble." Maybe they never hit one!!
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Old 06-13-2018, 02:25 PM   #38
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They (trap floats) really aren't that big of a deal; especially for slower moving trawlers and such. If you keep an adequate watch posted ,there's really no reason to be fouled by one. They're not randomly strewn about; they're in a certain depth for a reason. Figure out where they are & move offshore or inshore. Take note of the tide & wind & stay below the float & it's offending line. Leaving a trackline on the plotter is helpful for a return trip if pots are thick.
This completely contrary to my experience. What you say was true in Canada, and to a great extent south of Maine. In Maine, there are areas which are covered with pots, "randomly strewn about" at any depth from 10 to 400', and far too thick to even imagine in your dreams that a GPS track line will guide you through them. The distance between them is less than the GPS precision, and they float about with the tide. We haven't mentioned the ones with the line set to short, so that they are hiding a couple of feet under water when the tide is in, but there's plenty of those too. There are pots all over harbor, mooring fields, and anchorages. I've seen a line of them set right across the approach to fuel docks.

With great vigilance you can usually avoid the pots, during the day in good weather. Add some whitecaps, a bit of fog, and a dark night and you have only prayer. Absolutely no way you will see them all or even a majority. Approaching Northeast Harbor at 4 AM under sail, we got hung up on one 15 miles out in 250'. When daylight broke you could see them everywhere. There was no route into the harbor that was clear of them. At night they were essentially invisible.
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Old 06-13-2018, 02:58 PM   #39
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On a trip from Tampa to Corpus Christi I found many crab traps set in a line down the center of the ICW across the Big Bend of Florida. That channel is marked with a single buoy about every3 miles. In the fog I used the lines of crab traps as a map to the next buoy. Just stayed 50 feet to one side. Great navigation aid.


The one time I was totally disabled it was by a 8' length of 3" diameter poly mourning line that had been dislodged from deep in the mud by a dredging operation on the ICW. Cutters would not have helped with that. I was towed in and then had a diver cut it all off. I kept it as a trophy.
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Old 06-13-2018, 05:35 PM   #40
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I'll reiterate that at least in my experience, there is Maine, and there is the rest of the world. And there is no comparison between the two.
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