Lobster - Cages versus tubes, tubes versus cages?

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FloMar

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I've been thinking about something for 5 weeks now, since the lobster opener.
Cages versus tubes, tubes versus cages.
I use cages, always have, and it's likely I always will. Why?
Cages give lobster a more accessible opportunity to get a meal.
Lobster eat once a week, yes it's a fact. How do I know?
I've recently saw a video over weeks where lobster are watched for their eating habits.
Even in a smaller environment, let's say an aquarium, no not an aquarium in someones house.
That's all I can say about it, and no I'm not scheduling a group to watch the video.
Anyway, once lobster hit the cage inside your net(s) they have an actual opportunity for a meal.
Once a lobster is full it crawls out and moves on.
The same is to be said if a lobster encounters the bait in a tube.
The lobster is frustrated it can't eat and hops out 8 out of 10 times.
I get the fact cages are more accessible to seals/sea-lions, other fish, eels, crabs, etc., along with
seals/sea-lions having the strength to do significant damage to your cages, that's few and far in-between IMO.
You're going to have to weigh the options yourself.

Are cages less expensive to buy versus tubes and/or making your own tubes? Yes.
Do cages give you a better opportunity attracting lobster? Yes.
Does fish-smell (oil and blood) enter the environment quicker from a cage versus tube? Yes.
In theory, do you have to supplement the bait more frequently in a cage versus a tube? Yes.
Do tubes protect your bait better versus cages? Yes.
Are tubes easier to attach to your hoop nets. Yes.
Do you have to enhance your cages once a seal/sea-lion compromises them. Yes.
Are cages and tubes equal as it relates to a whole sardine/mackerel exploding to the point it oozes oil and blood? Yes.

My take is:
You have to attract lobster enough to take a look see = hop in the net(s).
You have to want lobster to stay in the nets longer versus a shorter period of time.
You want other lobster hopping in your net(s) while other lobster are already in your net(s).
The goal is putting legal lobster on the boat, with the hope of catching a limit.

Please make your own choice.
I'm not stating use cages versus tubes.
I'm only telling you what I've observed over time, and what continues to work for me.
That said, good luck hooping, be safe, and go gettum as they're still shallow for now.

Why did I post this?
This week I've had a larger than usual request for information.
Most know I'm usually fairly generous with information.
I'd like more lobster fisherman to be self-sufficient, and IMO this will expedite your information learning curve.
ENJOY!

TIP: If you currently know of an area that has eel grass in shallow 8-14 or 15 feet, yep, they're in there too right now.
 
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Robdog1

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I get where you’re going here, but imo, the ‘few and far between’ seal issue isn’t so ‘few and far between.’ At least not where I am. Every time we go out, we have sea lions following us. I have teeth marks in most of my bait tubes from them, and the last couple times I used cages, 2 came up totally mangled, one came up with a broken crossbar, and one got ripped totally out and was hanging by a zip tie (I only used 2 so probably my fault.) cages are cheaper, yes, that’s for sure, but if the seals keep mangling your cages, then eventually the $18/$20 for tubes will be more cost effective than the $7-$10 cages that you have to keep buying.just my 2 cents and an argument from the other end of the spectrum.
 
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RodRage

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    Great post Imgoing to pick up some of the plastic cages, my buddy uses them and is very successful I have been using homemade tubes the last three years And do OK but I’m going to do a little test five and five and see how it goes

    2723EBD4-A8D1-43FA-B17E-BF2C3C1FF829.jpeg 0627629C-3640-49E0-B9AC-7C66CAD614D0.jpeg
     
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    Phat Boat

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    I prefer cages but often have to use tubes due to sealions. I have both available. My buddy went last week, threw the traps in and the sealion broke open each cage and ate the bait. They went home. I have had this happen as well. When you are in the bays, the sealions are a real issue.
     
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    Jul 24, 2017
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    Good info and ideas gents! I have only used PVC tubes (white) and not had any seal problems yet, in SD bay. I have cages too. We did have one hanging around by the opening to the sporties (actually by Tom hams lighthouse, I think) but no damage.Would like to see the results of the 5/5 study. Super flat yesterday-
     
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    FloMar

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    I wrap my cages in chicken wire. Seals will go down and check it out but as soon as they cut their face they won’t be back.

    That's what I'm talking about Ryan.
    My cages are also wrapped in smaller squared wire.
    There's a few other bells and whistles to further get the point across that it's not worth looking for a meal in any of my cages.

    When Seals/Sea-Lions are looking to invade nets for food it's usually because there's not enough food for them to eat in their vicinity (where they live and/or hang out). When the bait boats have trouble making finbait you can bet the Seal/Sea-Lions start looking for any/all options to get a meal.
     
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    Lundalakan

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    I get a 3’ wide roll of 1/2” hardware cloth. Cut it into 10-11” wide by 3’ strips. Fold it in half and hog ring the edges leaving the end open. Zip tie it to my nets, bait it and zip tie the open end closed. Cheap, good scent dispersion. They also lay fairly flat and don’t take up much room in the net.

    803654D7-8AFD-4308-9C24-A10829234EA3.jpeg
     
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    Reel hip

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    I do the 5\ 5 test always. I haven't had less lobsters from tubes but I have had less seals which do equal more lobsters vs cages.
    I respectfuly disagree about seals eating because they don't have ample food. I believe they are opportunistic and find it much easier following a boat with cages than hunting on their own. You know the smart ones follows a boat all night. That's when the tubes pay off
     
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    hawkplayer32

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    I’ve done very well with my home made tubes, but I am going to try cages in some of my nets in my regular spots and see if I see a difference. Will let you guys know.
     
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    vincentek9

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    we have used cages, tubes, home made tubes, and now we use very specialized custom made jars. below are things i've seen...

    cages: easily accessible to lobsters. great for big items like half macs and salmon heads. gets torn up by seals. can be a huge pain to re-bait if you ziptie the doors shut.
    tubes/homemade tubes: keeps bait in. less likely for seals to mess with you. still catches bugs where we fish. not too bad to rebait, but you dont know how your bait looks if you dont open it up.
    specialized jars: its very new to seals. it usually freaks them out. its clear so i can see if i need to re-bait or not. they are twist jars so its very fast and easy to re-bait. has caught many bugs.

    another side note: we've tracked bugs in before in shallow water. if our net falls within 5ft of a bug and its hungry, it'll be in the net in less than 5 minutes. hence why we pull every 30min. another crazy thing is usually after 10/11pm... no matter what tide status or how much current... the bugs just stop eating we'll spot dozens and dozens of bugs in shallow. throw nets near them and they just sit there doing nothing. Hope this helps.
     
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    Hooops

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    I'm not sure if they are still around - but there was a company called King of the crawl that made the perfect cages - smaller size but thicker rubber coated metal.

    I'd have to agree that whatever you use - PVC or cages - you better jam enough shit in them that meat sicks out to keep bugs in net.
     
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    RodRage

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    Great thread, just got an idea on how to modify my tubes. I noticed also that after 11 things seem to shut down
     
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    eat'm_raw

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    About the third or fourth time that I went solo, I had a sea lion destroy my all of my cages within minutes of me getting my last net down. Completely ruined that trip. Got home, ordered tubes from a guy here who used to make them, have never looked back...
     
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    embo

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    What I've found that works for me is a short piece of what they call pigeon spike. It's sold in plastic and stainless(SS being the obvious choice). Works better than Frank's Red Hot Sauce at keepin seals away. Sorry I don't have a pic.
     
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    FloMar

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    specialized jars: its very new to seals. it usually freaks them out. its clear so i can see if i need to re-bait or not. they are twist jars so its very fast and easy to re-bait. has caught many bugs.

    Whether here, or offline, would love to see them Vince!

    another crazy thing is usually after 10/11pm... no matter what tide status or how much current... the bugs just stop eating we'll spot dozens and dozens of bugs in shallow. throw nets near them and they just sit there doing nothing. Hope this helps.

    It's not that they're not hungry, rather they're resting after gorging so they can make the walk back from whence they came.

    Loved all your feedback Vince, thank you!
     
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    FloMar

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    I'd have to agree that whatever you use - PVC or cages - you better jam enough shit in them that meat sicks out to keep bugs in net.

    Agree fully, thank you HOOPS!
     
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    FloMar

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    What I've found that works for me is a short piece of what they call pigeon spike. It's sold in plastic and stainless(SS being the obvious choice). Works better than Frank's Red Hot Sauce at keepin seals away. Sorry I don't have a pic.

    Can you manufacture a PIC embo?
     
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    embo

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    005.JPG
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    Here we go. It's been so long but I think I got this stuff at Dixieline, I believe it comes in a 4' strip. I think it would be precious to see the look on a seals face the first time he dives on it.
     
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