The lobster season is underway in Digby.
Twenty-three boats pulled out of the Digby marina on Sunday morning, Oct. 14 at 9:23 a.m., a few minutes early.
“For some guys, this is better than Christmas morning,” said Glen Oliver, one of the fishermen on board the Randi & Brianne.
Captained by Ralph Cummings, the boat is one of the smallest on the water.
There are about 95 licenses in LFA 35 which covers from Burns Point near Digby, to Cobequid Bay on the Nova Scotia side, and from Alma to Goose River on the New Brunswick side.
Each boat is allowed to set 300 traps.
That means there aree 30,000 traps in the water, waiting to lure lobsters with the scent of fresh fish bait.
The excitement is clear.
“The first few halls are always the best,” says Cummings.
He has been fishing for 23 years.
All of the boats left the shore at the same time. Some raced to the horizon and right out of the Digby Gut.
Others, like the Randi & Brianne, twisted and turned up and down the Bay, setting individual traps, and trawls with up to 15 traps per line.
“A lot of the bigger boats stream right out of the Basin,” says Ralph. “They might not set their first trap for two or three hours.”
One hour and 16 minutes was all it took for Cumming’s three-man crew to set 160 in the Basin.
“That last 15 minutes waiting for 9:30 felt longer than that whole morning,” says Doug Oliver, after they dropped the last trap.
The crew returned to the marina to load up the remaining 140 traps.
Judging by the four piles of traps still on the wharf at 11:30 a.m., only four boats are too small to carry all of their traps at once.
On the second trip, they leave the Basin and head out for about an hour, setting traps towards the outer limit of the LFA.
“There’s a big orange rock painted on the shore line that tells us how far we are allowed to go,” says Cummings.
They expected to be finished by three o’clock.
“We’ll probably haul a few traps on the way in, just to make sure everything is working good for tomorrow.”
Tomorrow starts bright and early at two or three a.m.
For the next three weeks, they will be out on the water everyday says Cummings.
When the lobster catches start to drop, they will go out every other day.
Glen Oliver says setting the traps is a lot easier than hauling them back in.
“It’s exciting getting them set. Once they’re in the water, that’s when the real fun starts.”