September 30th, 2013 – Lobster Hooping

We got out for the first lobster hooping trip of the season.  Weather was perfect, the tides were not but the bugs played a little anyway.

Summary

Fall hooping is one of my favorite things to do.  San Diego is beautiful from the water (day and night) and fall can be our warmest time of the year.  Normally Fall is also the least crowded time of the year, but hooping has gotten so popular that it can be a bit crazy.  I like to go during Monday Night Football since many will watch that instead.  Still, it was busy out on the water.

With daylight savings still on (not used to that yet in lobster season), we had some light to kill, so we decided to head out of the bay.  Warm water means the bugs are typically in shalow, but we had a chance to get outside before the commercial guys start their thing.  I’m not sure if their traps are baited yet, but they were set.  Off the OB pier, we pulled lots and lots of shorts.  We got one good legal in all of those pulls.  Most of the shorts were close.  Some had barnacles which makes me thing the water was a bit cold for the additional mold this season.  A good sign for next year. I had some personal confusion about where all of the hoops were, but we figured it out and got all 10 back.

Once slack tide set in and the current died, the crawl slowed and the water turned green.  We decided to head into the bay.  The weather warmed up and humidity dropped which was nice.  The windows were fogging up outside, but cleared up nicely in the bay.  The bay was crowded and my normally secret spot was partially occupied.

We set the hoops near my favorite fall spot and a decent area oriented on depth changes.  I made sure the first boat there had space and I’m glad we played close to each other without incident. The first pull had two legals.  We did two more sets of pulls and ended up with 7 legal lobsters.  Our smart on-the-spot math was at 8, but I’m guessing we just got it wrong because there were only 7 on the boat that I transferred to the cooler.  They can be hard to count in the bait tank.

On the second to last pull we got the biggest of the night.  I think the ebb was just starting to get going, but it was 11pm and a “School” night, so we cleaned the gear and headed to the dock.

It was not a crazy start to the season, but a very nice start and a good night to be on the water.  The new “pet lobsters” even made it to school for show and tell.

Catch

We started out in the OB pier area and pulled over 100 shorts and one legal.  Many were very close and I’ll be happy to revisit them next fall.  We then turned into the bay an picked one my favorite spots for another 6 legals.  The second to last pull had the biggest bug of the night.

Over 120 shorts and 7 legals.  A mix of big and huge salmon heads for bait.

8 conical nets and two flat ones.  My experiment with a bait suspender didn’t work, but I may have it figured out now.

2013-09-30 Lobster hooping

Conditions

Water

Temps in the bay went as high as 72 and outside were closer to 69.  The water was nice and clear until the tide changed.  I’ll call it pleasant.

Tide

The tides were about as undesirable as you can get; slack to a slow ebb.  There was some current for our first sets and we got some shorts.  Then it went slack and dirty with no bugs.  Things improved a bit as the ebb began, but it was not strong.

2013-09-30 tides

Weather

This is why I love fall hooping in San Diego.  Shorts and flip flops.  You may want a jacket to keep dry.

We enjoyed a spectacular sunset with a green flash.  The sky stayed fire red and orange for a long time and then yielded to a clear starry night.

Notes

With my back injury, I decided to get a davit to help with pulling.  It enables me to pull down, not up.  I didn’t end up doing any pulls, but I got one shaky video of Dale trying it.  It was only his second ever pull and was still figuring out the cadence in somewhat rolly conditions.

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