How to Use Lobster Pots

Updated April 17, 2017

Lobster pots, also known as lobster traps, have been used since their invention in 1808. Lobsters walk across the ocean floor at depths of 20 to 100 feet. The pots lay on the ocean floor and are constructed so that the lobster can walk right into them. The area of the trap they walk into is referred to as the "kitchen" and is funnel-shaped. Once they enter this area the design of the trap keeps them from escaping.

Fill a mesh bait bag with dried haddock or herring. Hang the bait bag in the lobster trap on the small hook provided.

Tie the trap to your trawl. A trawl is a series of up to eight traps strung together. Weight the trawl down with three or four bricks so it will sink to the bottom. Connect the trawl to a buoy and lower it into the water.

Retrieve the traps by pulling the trawl out of the water. You can do this manually or use the pulley on the boat if it is equipped with one. Take care not to get tangled in the line or you could end up getting dragged into the water by several hundred pounds of gear.

Open the trap and remove the lobster. Grab it by the carapace where it joins the tail to prevent being pinched.


Purchase a license and know the regulations for legal size in the area where you are trapping lobsters.

Things You'll Need

  • Lobster pots
  • Trawl
  • Dried herring or haddock
  • Rope
  • Boat
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About the Author

Annabelle Lee has been working in the journalism field since 1990. She was a teacher and yearbook adviser for four years and holds two associate degrees from her local community college where she currently teaches computer classes. Lee also writes for a local newspaper and was a proofreader for McGraw-Hill.