2018/2019 Lobster Season Recap

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Dhix43

Newbie
Jul 7, 2016
33
45
OC
Name
Derrick
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Your’s.
Hey, Guys. Longtime reader, occasional commenter, and first time poster.

With the Spiny Lobster season coming to a close, wanted to summarize our season. To preface, we are relatively new to the lobster game. This was our 3rd, and most productive season. Each season we have learned a lot more than the last, putting more lobster in the nets. My hopes is that this summary helps those who are getting into hooping, or others who just want to learn more.

Location: Without giving away our spots, location played a big role in a much more successful season this year. We really branched out and started exploring new spots, hooping anywhere from 20ft-60ft of water. Whereas the last couple seasons we had only a handful of spots that were reliable for a few lobster per trip. Finding new spots to hoop took a lot of trial and error on our end. Sure, it is easy to see where others are hooping when you are out there, but we also wanted to try and find areas that most would overlook. Good electronics were very important. Dave Hansen’s website was also a great help in finding some additional spots, but most of what we fished were things we found on our own.

Bait: I know a lot of guys swear by the salmon heads, but over the last 2 seasons, we have caught only a couple bugs on salmon heads. We have been using Macks almost exclusively to much success. Also, Gooch Juice, or any other fish oil spray has worked wonders for us on some nights.

Bait Cages: Seal Lions were a nightmare this season. Worst we have seen it. We upgraded to Roach Coaches and had them at half dispersal almost exclusively. Catch rates went up immediately, and we saved a ton of bait since it kept the sea lions from breaking our cages. Didn’t really keep the dogs entirely away though. They were constantly around in certain spots, even had one grab one of our nets and bring it to the surface and play tug-o-war with me. We also had them getting into the hoops as we would pull them up.

Moon/tides: Still have a lot to learn in this regard. One of our best trips was on a full moon, but we also got ‘em on the new moon and all other moon phases. Caught them on all tides, especially a little bit after a tide change. Now that we have our spots figured out, I plan to put more focus on learning more about the lunar and tidal impact on lobster this next season.

We didn’t always get limits, but this was our first season not getting skunked on a single trip. Had some bigger bugs mixed In. Threw back so many shorts as well. Good to see so many lobster out there. Looking forward to the next season, and hope you guys got ‘em too!

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May 13, 2004
511
622
74
Long Beach and points due west
Name
Bob Ballew
Boat
2520 Parker with twin 200 Yamahas
Nice story....often, by the end of the season, guys have stocked up and are off to bigger and better things, like getting ready for wsb and tuna season...Yesterday, my son and a buddy limited out within two sets at Catalina..There were only 3 other boats visible at the island working lobster...The bugs were larger than previous catches, so, don't ignore the last day thinking the bugs are all caught..The end is often the best...
 
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Dhix43

Newbie
Jul 7, 2016
33
45
OC
Name
Derrick
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Your’s.
Nice story....often, by the end of the season, guys have stocked up and are off to bigger and better things, like getting ready for wsb and tuna season...Yesterday, my son and a buddy limited out within two sets at Catalina..There were only 3 other boats visible at the island working lobster...The bugs were larger than previous catches, so, don't ignore the last day thinking the bugs are all caught..The end is often the best...

I agree! We notice the crowd thins out around the holidays. For us, that’s about when it starts getting good, and we too caught them up to the end of the season.
 
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hotrail20

Skiff Life
May 28, 2006
4,684
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Chino,Ca
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Leonard
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Mine
Was a good season for us as well, the tide moon thing is a hell of a job to figure out we recorded info like that for 2 seasons. And nothing added up. We stick with our Cat spots and local for years and so far we have been fortunate. This past season did seem to see less guys Hooping. Glad you guys had a successful Season . Time to fish now
 
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Blackfish

Marble collector.
Sep 20, 2005
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.
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toy
nice post. You are doing it right.
 
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Azarkon

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Aug 28, 2015
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Joe
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Thanks for the post, seems like you’ve got it figured out. One comment: mackerel and bonito attract sea lions like flies and that is one reason some people swear by salmon heads, but like you said it’s a trade off, because bugs like them more too.

Oh, and crowds thin out over the holidays not necessarily because people are done but because it gets freezing cold out there. This year especially. It takes a hardcore hooper or one with a big comfortable boat to keep doing it in below 50 temperatures. But that’s how you get rewarded, in hooping as in fishing: going the extra mile.
 
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Phat Boat

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Apr 18, 2004
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Jon
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It was a very good lobster season.
 
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soul troller

Mine bends where yours ends
Mar 14, 2004
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Murrieta Ca
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Lou
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Pursuit 2870 WA
Great post sharing your experiences and insights. Seems like you just have to go when you get the opportunity and you will be rewarded for putting in your time.
Sometimes its tough when they aren't crawling , but man are they tasty when they hit the plate.
 
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downtime

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Sep 12, 2006
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Ronson
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26 Skipjack "Reel Hard"
Nice work! Bugging is definitely fun!
Now it's time to mail in those report cards!
 
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ja73

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Sep 1, 2017
188
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Jay
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Arima SC16
Way to go man! We had a similar season but we didn't have to many issues with the seals and our go to was Macs and Benito in the bait tubes. Salmon heads didn't produce much for us, neither did the Gouch. Funny thing was we got better quality bugs in our 2 lay flats then the conical.
Next season is going to fun one!
 
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C_Parm

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Aug 8, 2016
42
17
Hacienda Heights
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Chris
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Kencraft Challenger 190
Great write up man! Went bugging for the first time ever this year and I think I'm gonna get some nets and try it myself in the coming years, especially after seeing this! Quick question, how long have you learned to leave your nets for? Is there a different duration for different areas or just leave them "a while"?
 
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Dhix43

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Jul 7, 2016
33
45
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Name
Derrick
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Your’s.
Great write up man! Went bugging for the first time ever this year and I think I'm gonna get some nets and try it myself in the coming years, especially after seeing this! Quick question, how long have you learned to leave your nets for? Is there a different duration for different areas or just leave them "a while"?

Seems to depend on the night. Sometimes they are in the nets within 30 minutes, sometimes it’s taken up to an hour for us. Usually, we check the nets every 30-45min.
 
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SPChamp1

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Oct 20, 2017
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San Pedro
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Cabel
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Non
Can’t say that we caught any as big as the ones in a few of your pics, but we had several nights with well above legal bugs.

This was my 3rd Full Season Hooping with a buddy as well, and we share a lot of your same experiences it seems. We found a few spots that were lively EVERY single time we hit it even if If was 5-6 shorts for every legal. Excited at the prospect of what that area will produce over the next couple of years if the bugs stay there.

Couple of things I noticed this year. Most of our luck came between the 40’-70’ range. Didn’t see them go deeper like they had as the season progressed in years before. I have no idea if there was any correlation, but if we found sand fleas, we found lobster. Meant we had to carry a little extra bait and top off the cups between sets, but worth it.

Seems like it was a great season. Can’t wait till the season starts again.
 
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