A Maine lobster is one of the most delicious delicacies that you will ever have on your plate. However, most people have little idea how much hard work it takes to get that tasty lobster from the ocean to their plates. If you have ever wondered how this delicious crustacean is harvested for your dinner, here is a look at a day in the life of a Maine lobsterman.
Only Morning People Need Apply
To catch a Maine lobster, you have to be comfortable with early mornings. Most Maine lobstermen already have their boats on the water by 4 am. This allows them the pleasure of seeing the sunrise over the gorgeous Atlantic Ocean. By 6 am, the lobstermen are already well on their daily rounds.
The lobstermen move from trap to trap, always keeping an eye out for the many-colored buoys they see as they move along. They have to dodge the colors that are not their own buoys while keeping an eagle eye out for the color that signifies the presence of their own buoys, which alert them that their traps are underneath.
A Coat of Arms
Many experts have compared the buoys of Maine lobstermen to the coat of arms that medieval knights used. Each lobsterman’s buoys have their own distinctive colors and appearance so that they are instantly recognizable. These iconic buoys have given rise to a whole art subculture that looks to upcycle used buoys as well as collect gorgeous pictures and books about the buoys.
Knowing the Ocean
The key to success as a Maine lobsterman is knowing the ocean. While each lobsterman is able to set up to 800 traps a day, no lobsterman has the time to tend to that many traps. The key to success in lobstering is to know which area each day has the highest chances of yielding a mighty haul of lobsters. This is based on many factors, including the time of year and the weather.
The bulk of the work of the lobsterman is baiting, setting and checking his traps. Lobstermen typically work in two-man teams. Each captain usually has either an apprentice or a sternman whose job it is to handle the traps while the captain handles the boat. The lobster traps are loaded with bait like redfish and porgies to entice the lobsters. Lobster traps have changed little over the last 200 years. They are made of plastic-coated metal rather than wood these days, but their design has remained unchanged for two centuries.
An Uncertain Life
The life of a lobsterman is one filled with constant uncertainty. While the bulk of the lobsters are caught between June and December, lobstermen have no idea what each particular day will bring. Sometimes they come home with a huge haul that has them on top of the world, and sometimes they don’t catch enough to pay their operating expenses. The uncertainty of the lobstering life makes it a job that only the emotionally strong can handle. It is a tough business that brings the delicious Maine lobster to diners’ plates.