Tips for Hooping at Night



  • A gauge to measure your lobsters or crabs.  This is a DFG requirement.
  • Warm clothes and rain gear.  A pair of rain pants and a water proof jacket can keep the puller from getting soaked by the end of the night.
  • A Headlamp, which provides a light just like from a small flashlight, but can free up your hands to work.  Promar recently started selling an LED with low-light red bulbs and regular incandescent bulb combo.  With the LED lights you really stretch the life of the batteries.
  • A spotlight is a great tool to help you locate your floats, especially if you've spread them out with a little distance between them or you're out in open water working the rock piles or reefs.  It also helps to keep an eye on the proximity of the breakwall.
  • A bucket or game bag is the perfect place to keep your legal bugs or crabs.  If you have a storage hatch in your boat you can drop them in there, or your bait tank filled with water can make a great livewell.
  • A fishfinder and a GPS help give you that edge finding the structure or your nets in the dark, but they aren't necessary, especially if you're hoping along the breakwalls, although it does help to know how deep the water is and where the drop offs are.
  • A pair of gloves for reaching into your nets and measuring your bugs.  The antenna and the tail are filled with sharp spikes.
  • Some zip-ties or bailing wire to seal the bait picket, and a pair of side cutters, to cut the zip-ties off the bait pocket for rebaiting out on the water or for cleaning out your nets at the end of the night.  After hooping, at the end of the night, I usually save all the used bait in an extra bucket and bring it home and then pour it all into a big plastic trash bag and freeze it for the next trip.  Lately I've been using Promar's bait cages on my nets.  They work great.  I've caught lots of legal bugs and lots of crabs with them and the seals can't steal your bait.  You just attach them to the top of the bait pocket with a couple of zip-ties.
  • The cages fit perfectly in a 1-gallon Ziploc baggie and they stack great in the freezer.  I also use removable zip ties and put them in the baggie with the bait so the whole package is ready to go on the next trip.  The first time you fill the bait cages, you should fill them as full as you can, so that the critters have something to grab on to and eat.  It will seem like a lot of bait to fill them, but it's worth it in the time you save rebaiting and cleaning up.  On your next trip, you don't even have to thaw your bait out and refill the bait pouch.  All you have to do is attach the frozen cage to the top of the bait pocket and let it thaw out on your way to your spot or it will thaw out within minutes once you toss the next into the water.
  • A sharp fillet knife to cut up the larger pieces of bait to fit the bait pocket or to score the sides of the Macks or other fish before you put them in.
  • Light sticks and or reflective DOT type tape seem to be the most common ways to light up your floats.  When it's really crowded out there, it's the safest to light up your floats in order to keep others from catching a prop on your ropes.
  • A gaff can really help you pull in the ropes or floats if you're on a boat, especially on one with high sides.  The Promar gaff is telescopic and stores easily on a boat.  A pool cleaning pole is also a good purchase, allowing you to extend out to get the rope from a hoop in a tight, shallow spot.

Copyright 2005-2011 - Jim Salazar - all rights reserved

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