Introduction to Hoopnetting

February, 2003 One night, every year, fisherman and divers in Southern California scramble to get their boats and gear to a special fishing area on the water, usually not too far from the harbor. Once there, they ready all their gear and then the waiting game begins. At midnight the Lobster season opens and the race will be on to get a limit of the biggest Lobster out there. Why all of the excitement? Lobster populations are healthy in California waters and rank among the finest eating and priciest seafoods in all of the oceans. In this article, I will try to give an overview of this fast growing sport and the methods used in local Southern California waters to catch these fine eating creatures.

HOOP NETS

Hoop nets are manufactured by several companies and most are 32 inches across. A steel hoop supports the nets round shape and a smaller 12 inch steel hoop is woven into the center of the net. Bait is attached to the inner hoop. A rope bridle is attached in 3 spots around the outer hoop and connects to the main rope. The bridle helps keep the net level when pulling it up from the ocean floor. A float is attached between the mainline and the bridle to support the bridle above the net. Perhaps you have seen fisherman using a hoop net to help land a big “hook and line” caught fish from a pier. These are the same nets used to target Lobster and Crab by California fisherman. Hoop nets will cost you from about $10-$40 each depending on size, quality, features, what’s included, and where you buy them. Remember to abide by the laws or you may need criminal defense!One of the most valued features you can find on a hoop net is a double (two layered) bottom. More on this later.

By Frank Nielsen