PHOTO GALLERY: The art of trap fishing
An old trap fishermen said pulling up to a trap is akin to waking up on Christmas morning as a kid: You didn’t know what was going to be there, but you knew it was going to be good.
Nowadays, weir fishermen, such as Captain Kurt Martin, feel a similar sense of anticipation, but without the assurance that there will be anything in the nets at all. Martin is now fishing only two of close to a dozen nets in an industry that used to help employ thousands not all that long ago.
But in the spring he still goes out every day to see what Mother Nature has in store for him, and in doing so extends a fishing industry that is almost as old as fishing itself and the chance for us to eat what swims right by our shore.
This gallery captures a beautiful, sustainable tradition and the hope it outlives us all. Photos by Doreen Leggett and Seth Rolbein.
Captain Kurt Martin left trap fishing for several years, but now he is back.
Trap, or weir fishing, is an ancient fishery and relies on nets strung between more than a hundred poles.
Zach Buckley heads out in a skiff in front of the Nancy S. to begin untying the lines.
The main reason Kurt Martin doesn't put in his traps by Chatham anymore is because much of the catch is eaten by seals.
After the fish swim into the bowl, Jared Perry and Ben Bergquist slowly bring the net up.
Bit by bit, the bowl-shaped net is brought up and secured to the gunnels of the Nancy S.
A net full of fish.
The killdevil, the dip net, swings aboard with the catch.
Menhaden, or pogies, are mostly used for bait - oftentimes for the lobster industry. One can buy scup through Red's Best, local markets and sometimes at Stop and Shop. Ask if it's from Cape Cod. Good day on the water.
Red's Best came down to Hyannis Harbor to pick up the catch, this spring the company sold Martin's squid.