Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Wild Foods, Recipes, and Foraging




Being a lobsterman is a wonderful job. You’re on the water, you get to see sea life and meet people who are interested in what you do. The fishing industry is a wonderful career that also pays really well. This is the perfect job If you love getting appreciated for all you do while seeing what you’ve accomplished at day’s end.

Although lobstering is rewarding, it is also physically demanding. In state waters, you have 800 traps with 10 traps per trawl, each about a quarter mile long. They can be done in 3 minutes and 38 seconds, I know because I was timed. Each trap weighs about thirty five pounds and you have to lift them on the guided channels along the side and stern of the boat.

We usually do about 400 traps a day and our day lasts between 4 and 5 hours. We fish six days a week starting at 6 am. We start by getting two five-hundred pound barrels filled with bait set on the deck and we must maneuver them into six inch deep holding rings on deck so they don’t move on us. We also have to set into place a tank that holds our catch. Those weigh between fifty and two hundred and fifty pounds, depending on size. Now comes the hard part.

I have to physically move these thirty five pound traps, plus bait, around the boat as my deck boss handles hydraulics to lift them from the water. When traps come to the boat, they can weigh up to sixty pounds with the lobsters. Once emptied and re-baited, they are then carried to the rails. The rails have tracks so the traps slide off the boat with no damage to either boat or the traps. That does numbers on your wrists, along with having to band between one and fifty lobsters in two minutes between trawls.

Every day after work, new pain is found either in the muscles or new cuts from working the rails, getting pinched by lobsters or just rough seas banging you up. Those injuries include hurt backs and knees from heavy lifting and sore fingers from gripping awkward objects. In the end, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Each cut tells a new story, every new pain gives me strength, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

To stay safe, keep your head down, and don’t get caught in the ropes. Otherwise you’ll end up like me, almost getting pulled overboard. Be smooth and aware of everything. Smooth is fast, fast is smooth.

For anyone who wants to get into lobstering, I’d suggest that you get 10 traps, a license and gloves so you know what it’s like and if it’s for you. It’s a good way to know if it’s worth investing time into doing it commercially. I recreationally lobstered for friends at twelve and became obsessed. If I could suggest any job, lobstering would be it.

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