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Thread: New to Hooping...What are We Doing Wrong? Please HELP!

  1. #1

    Default New to Hooping...What are We Doing Wrong? Please HELP!

    Hello! My dad retired and got his lifelong dream...a boat! He has gotten all of the lobster hooping supplies and has the basic system down, except he is not able to get any lobsters. He is going out in Long Beach harbor, choosing spots close to rip rap or rocks, varying depths of 30-50 feet and working SO hard and not having success. My brother helps him and they have 10 nets and do at least 30-40 pulls, and nothing. Is this just common in Long Beach? Is there something else we are missing here? I went with them last week and it was so disheartening to watch them work so hard and have nothing...again!

    He has a bait tube/cage and is using a combination of squid and mackerel. Is there some other way to choose a spot? I know people are protective of their exact spots, and I completely get that, but if you can just help with tips that would be amazing. Also feel free to PM me if you don't want it public. They go out right at dusk, they try different locations around rock formations, and vary depths too. They stay until midnight, make sure they hit high tide, all of the things that are supposed to work. Based on what I read this seems like their system should be working better. I know it is like fishing where some nights are better than others, but they never have a good night! :(

    My husband's birthday is in a few weeks and my parents want to have a lobster dinner for his party (of the 6 of us) and out of six nights of hooping they have 2 lobsters total. I know we can buy lobster but it means so much to them if they can catch them. If anyone has suggestions I would really appreciate it. I felt so sad for them I wanted to go buy lobsters and stick them in the hoops just so they had something to show for all of their work! Thank you so much to anyone willing to help!!

  2. #2


    location is the key
    rock and sand bottoms
    tide change and water temp make a big difference
    and try taking a ice pick to a can of cat food a give it a dozen jabs and wire it to the center of your net
    i forgot to ask you fishing in the harbor or outside if its outside head up along the coast towards pedro or out towards the rigs and look for a good bottom reading

    if you have a trailable boat think about kings harbor better options
    Last edited by capoisok; 11-06-2020 at 03:39 PM.

  3. #3


    Thank you SO much for taking the time to respond! We have been in the harbor mostly. We have tried around the man-made oil rig “island” things (not sure what they are called), and the man made jetties near Nachos (both inside and outside). How can you tell if it is a good bottom reading? Are we looking for uneven ground? I think a big problem is we don’t know how to tell if it is a good bottom for lobster. We have just been finding areas where we can see rocks above the surface and going close with depth of 30-50 ft, but clearly that is not a good strategy. Thanks for letting us know about exploring King’s Harbor. We have never been there but will try to go!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    East Los, CA


    Swap out the squid with salmon heads. You want to use oily fish like salmon, mackerel and even bonito.

  5. #5


    if you don't have a bottom meter try looking for where the commercial guys are dropping their traps
    just don't get to close as they are making their livelihood fishing

    try dropping your net close to the breakwater on the oceanside , maybe 50 ft out
    or follow out one of the cattle boats and see where they are working again don't crowd them out but remember if you get to a spot first it's yours
    so try to do some recon and book it out early the next night
    most important thing to remember MAKE SURE YOU HAVE something to measure the lobsters
    shorts will cost a lot of money, maybe your boat and if the f&g are real pricks they can seize your car
    Last edited by capoisok; 11-07-2020 at 12:37 PM.

  6. #6


    Great point! My Dad is big on regulations, so we have a lobster gauge for each person on board and he knows how to properly measure. It will be nice when we actually get to use all of those gauges.
    Also, he does have a fish finder with sonar/radar so it shows the bottom of the ocean. Do we want to see an uneven bottom for lobster, like near a drop off? You mentioned sand/ rocks. Thanks for the tip on looking for the cattle boats. That is a smart idea for recon!

  7. #7


    Frankly, it can be tough. Unfortunately I don't know the area you are at well, I am more used to Dana Point. The jetties down there can be very productive BUT (and I suspect at this time in the year it is similar everywhere on the inshore side) lobsters get hit really hard the first few weeks of the season. At this time in previous seasons I have had 100 lobster nights - with all of them being 1/16" shy of being keepers. Still, if you can find little ones - you have a chance at big ones so first step is finding life.
    1. Oily, slimy, and partially decomposing baits that throw off a lot of scent - a plus. Any leftover sardines from our fishing trips get saved for just such a purpose, and then thawed and "aged" in a sealed bucket a few days before the trip.
    2. How long are you letting the nets soak? 30 minutes... we have found (this is three people with practice) that we can bait and set 10 traps,, circle back to the first one, and usually have time to relax, drift and grab a quick snack before it is time to start pulling the first one.
    3. Pulling traps seems easy, but there is a trick to it and if there is current it makes it trickier. In short, you need to snatch the trap off the bottom quickly and keep it moving all the way to the surface. Any hesitation, or if you have a lot of slack in your line and jostle the trap taking up the slack before pulling in earnest, and the bugs can escape quick as lightening.
    4. Again, I don't know the area you are in, but I suspect you may just be hitting areas that have been hit hard early in the year.
    Good luck!

  8. #8



    how many lobster dinner's has your dad had you over for since your post here

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