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Old 10-03-2021, 02:19 PM   #1
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How far offshore New Jersey to avoid crab/lobster traps?

We're planning on doing an overnight from Sandy Hook to Cape May and I would like to know how far offshore you're likely to have to run in order to not have to worry about crab/lobster trap buoys? I see that it's pretty shallow off the New Jersey coast and I've seen lobster traps in 200' of water. How far out do the fishermen put them?

Thanks!
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Old 10-03-2021, 02:32 PM   #2
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A couple miles at most...really just enough to miss the inlet bars.

There are random pots though that are near most offshore shoal areas...so you are never out of them till pretty far out...maybe even lobster gear near the canyons more than 50 miles off.
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Old 10-03-2021, 03:45 PM   #3
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Much nicer trip in daylight especially if weather changes and you need to duck into another port.
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Old 10-03-2021, 04:04 PM   #4
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Lobsters and crabs prefer rocky bottoms. NJ has a LOT of sand. Closer to shore is probably your best bet. No guarantees though, the pots are going to be where the fishing is best, which can change with weather, water temperature and the lobsters' and crabs' own natural life cycles.

Anyway, the best way to avoid them is to maintain a proper lookout. Not just occasionally, but ALL the time. Come up to Maine some time and I'll show you what I mean.
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Old 10-03-2021, 04:39 PM   #5
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The Delaware and Chesapeake bays and ICWs are where being alert for pots will be necessary.

I know you said just to Cape May so, be alert once inside the harbor.
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Old 10-03-2021, 04:56 PM   #6
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Lobsters and crabs prefer rocky bottoms. NJ has a LOT of sand. Closer to shore is probably your best bet. No guarantees though, the pots are going to be where the fishing is best, which can change with weather, water temperature and the lobsters' and crabs' own natural life cycles.

Anyway, the best way to avoid them is to maintain a proper lookout. Not just occasionally, but ALL the time. Come up to Maine some time and I'll show you what I mean.


Have made that run many times. Last week we ran the coast mostly a mile off. Never saw a pot till just north of Cape May. As others have said, you will find other types of traps further off shore, no distance is a guarantee of no traps. Some of the gear you might see way offshore can be substantial.
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Old 10-03-2021, 07:50 PM   #7
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We're planning on doing an overnight from Sandy Hook to Cape May and I would like to know how far offshore you're likely to have to run in order to not have to worry about crab/lobster trap buoys? I see that it's pretty shallow off the New Jersey coast and I've seen lobster traps in 200' of water. How far out do the fishermen put them?

Thanks!
I did this trip in June. Never saw one pot. I was between one and five miles out.
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Old 10-03-2021, 07:53 PM   #8
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Jersey coast is hardly like running the minefields of Maine.
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Old 10-04-2021, 03:53 AM   #9
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I did the run about a month ago at 2 to 3 miles off shore. Never saw a pit marker.

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Old 10-04-2021, 08:37 PM   #10
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Yes. Two miles off to avoid the extended inlet sand bars and surf. Between 1 and 5 miles you might see well spaced conch pot floats. They are generally in long lines parallel to shore spaced hundreds of yards apart. Around 15-20 miles off you will find seabass pot marker flags that are not dangerous.
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Old 10-06-2021, 04:15 PM   #11
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I appreciate all the replies, got to read them before we headed off. We ended up running from Rye NY down through the city and then down the NJ coast, made a brief pit stop in Cape May before running a few hours up the Delaware Bay to Fishing Creek. It was a pretty long run for a slow boat in moderately sloppy conditions but like many of you said, we didn't see hardly any trap buoys, so that worked out well.
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Old 10-15-2021, 05:59 PM   #12
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Capt reply

I have traversed these waters many times over several years. I have not encountered any pot buoys beyond 1 nm of the NJ Atlantic coastline.

The Delaware and Chesapeake Bay are another story. Come November they will be few and far between but worth a sharp lookout.
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Old 10-15-2021, 07:17 PM   #13
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In the summer months, it is not uncommon to see lines of fish pot buoys off NJ from right off the beach to several miles. Past that, in the reef and orrshore lump/ shoal areas, pota of AL, different kinds are possible, but not thick like N e England or the bays mentioned.

Having boated, fished and commercially worked the Jersey coast much of my life I am confident in my post info. Transient boaters of course may not see many.
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Old 10-15-2021, 09:01 PM   #14
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Iíve never seen any in my ten runs.
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Old 10-16-2021, 03:16 AM   #15
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Lobster pots and radar

Lobster pots are a problem in many parts of the world. When we had a boat in the Med we had to do multiple turns to avoid them. The along came broadband radar and all of a sudden we could see them with this long before you could with your eyes.

It also was an advantage on very bright sunny days to enable us to see the little grey, inflatables used by fishermen that merge into the sea on days like this.

Use your radar all the time (you'll understand how it works when it's dark and or foggy) but it is not an excuse not to use the Mk1 eyeball or for excess speed.
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Old 10-19-2021, 01:05 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by micksbuddy View Post
We're planning on doing an overnight from Sandy Hook to Cape May and I would like to know how far offshore you're likely to have to run in order to not have to worry about crab/lobster trap buoys? I see that it's pretty shallow off the New Jersey coast and I've seen lobster traps in 200' of water. How far out do the fishermen put them?

Thanks!
Another issue to be aware of, although I don't know if it still applies, but I have made several trips up the east coast, and twice (like idiots) we went through the old dumping grounds off NJ and within minutes were inundated with THOUSANDS of flies. Made the next few days MISERABLE. I haven't done that particular trip in several years, but I seem to recall the location being on the chart.
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Old 10-19-2021, 02:02 PM   #17
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Another issue to be aware of, although I don't know if it still applies, but I have made several trips up the east coast, and twice (like idiots) we went through the old dumping grounds off NJ and within minutes were inundated with THOUSANDS of flies. Made the next few days MISERABLE. I haven't done that particular trip in several years, but I seem to recall the location being on the chart.
Its not a dumping thing. Ocean dumping has been shut down for decades. The black flys come with no real pattern. Some say winds from the west. Others say from the south. I've been attacked from every compass point. Most days none at all. Other days is totally bizarre. The boat gets full of them. They can hang on up to 30 knots. They LOVE to bite through white socks! Maybe they like their blood filtered. LOL. The good news is most DEET based repellents work for at least an hour.
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Old 10-20-2021, 08:55 AM   #18
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Its not a dumping thing. Ocean dumping has been shut down for decades. The black flys come with no real pattern. Some say winds from the west. Others say from the south. I've been attacked from every compass point. Most days none at all. Other days is totally bizarre. The boat gets full of them. They can hang on up to 30 knots. They LOVE to bite through white socks! Maybe they like their blood filtered. LOL. The good news is most DEET based repellents work for at least an hour.
I am headed from RI to VA this Friday 10-22. Hopefully won't see them. Thanks for the info.
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