How to Start Lobster Fishing

Lobster fishing is not particularly difficult with the proper equipment, although it can be difficult to obtain the necessary licensing in certain fisheries, particularly those with low lobster populations. Once you have obtained a license, it is a simple matter of using a lobster trap and a fishing boat. A full-size lobster pot can be unwieldy to raise onto the deck of a small motor boat, so consider looking for a recreational boat that isn't too small.

Telephone the appropriate wildlife and fisheries agency in your destination area and ensure that it is legal to fish for lobster in the area, and whether permits are necessary. If necessary, obtain these permits as per the contact's instructions.

Drive the boat out to the location where you intend to set a trap. Make sure that this location is close enough to the docks that you do not exhaust more than one third to half of your outboard motor's fuel, which will prevent most stranding situations.

Check the mechanical condition of the lobster pot trap to ensure that it is in sturdy working order. Use the lobster pot's manual to verify its condition until you are fully familiar with the design specifications. Take particular care to ensure that the marker buoy and the lifting cable are in good condition.

Bait the lobster pot using any type of locally caught bait fish.

Set the lobster trap by carefully turning the pot overboard, followed by the attached marker buoy.

Wait one to five days for lobsters to take interest in the bait and become trapped. Boat back out to the pot, locating it via the marker buoy, and haul it back onto the deck of the boat by the lifting cable or chain. A boat mounted winch may be helpful for this process, particularly with heavier pots.


When boating in unfamiliar waters, a GPS location device can be helpful for remembering where you placed the pot. Bringing a ruler and learning to identify breeding females is a mandatory part of some lobster fisheries such as the ones in Atlantic Canada. Even in lobster fisheries where releasing females and juveniles isn't mandatory, it's good fishery stewardship that ensures a healthy population. Make sure to match the size of your lobster catching pot to the size of your boat so that you can easily haul it back to the surface without risk of capsizing.


Before setting out on a fishing trip, always ensure that someone else knows that you have left, what your route will be, and when you plan to return; in the event of engine trouble or other problems, rescuers will know where to look immediately. Accidents happen, so never boat without a life jacket. Even strong swimmers can be rendered helpless in the chilly Atlantic or if knocked unconscious before falling into the water, so do not take the unnecessary risk.

Things You'll Need

  • Lobster fishing license where applicable
  • Boat with outboard motor
  • Bait fish
  • Lobster pot with lifting cable and marker buoy
  • Life jacket
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About the Author

Daniel R. Mueller is a Canadian who has been writing professionally since 2003. Mueller's writing draws on his extensive experience in the private security field. He also has a professional background in the information-technology industry as a support technician. Much of Mueller's writing has focused on the subjects of business and economics.