Hooping – more specifically, hooping from a bigger boat. I have been hooping on all kinds of boats – from yak size to 75′ yachts. And while I love to hoop, and will do it from just about any boat, I have to say I like doing it from the big boats most of all.

Hooping from a larger boat demands that you have a good spotlight on board. It is critical to be able to see the lines (ropes) in and under the water – perhaps more important, even, than seeing the buoys. I do prefer it when there is reflective tape on the buoys, as it is very easy to pick them up with the spotlight.

When I am going hooping from a big boat it is important that we have the hoops, lines and buoys rigged correctly before we start. When rigging for the night’s fishing, I’ll take the first set of gear, put the large buoy on the deck, coil the line and stack it on the buoy, and then set the net on top of the coiled rope and buoy. I take the large buoy from the next set of gear, place it into the net of the first set of gear, coil the rope and stack the next hoop as per previous. I do it like this until all ten hoops are done the same way. On the larger boats we have more deck space and often I will go with two stacks of five hoops (a stack on either side of the boat) so that we can throw off of both sides of the boat when we are on the right kind of structure.

Now that all my hoops are rigged, baited and stacked and we are heading out to our spot, we need to make sure that out light sticks are ready. You can put them in the large floats as you are stacking them or as you toss the nets for the first set. Battery operated light sticks or snap and shake glow sticks – doesn’t matter to me as long as they are bright enough to be seen, particularly by other boats.

As I look for the spots, both visually and with the fathometer, that I would like to set the hoops, its like a lot of other kinds of fishing; I like to set the hoops on the sides of the rocks, wrecks or wherever I think they are hiding.

With the nets all set, I like to wait about half an hour to an hour, depending on how they are crawling that night, before pulling. When it’s time to pull, this is where boat handling and the spotlight really come into play. I approach the buoys from my stern (that’s right, I’m backing down on the buoys). As I approach the buoy, I am working hard (with the spotlight from the bridge) to pick up (see) the rope and how its laying. Make certain that you are on the downhill side so as not to get any of the rope hung up in the propellers. Have one of the guys/gals on the boat grab the buoy with a gaff or boat hook and hand the line to whoever is pulling the hoop. When he or she has the line in hand, kick the boat ahead so there is an angle to the rope (not pulling straight up and down) going off the stern. Never let them get on and have to pull from the sides of the boat (too risky with the props). When the hoop clears the water, you need to get that hoop on the boat! Never look at the hoop in or over the water to see what you caught. That way if the fall out they fall in the boat. While the person is pulling have someone keeping the rope stacked on the buoy the way we talk about before you started. If you caught bugs in the hoop that has just been pulled then you need to get it back in the water.

Guys, it sure isn’t the only way to hoop, but I have to say it’s a lot of fun to show guys how to hoop off their yacht. There is a lot to be said about the fun of hooping on smaller, more efficient vessels, but it’s hard to beat watching TV, hanging out in a warm salon, eating freshly caught lobsters and just basically being comfortable between sets. Check the pics that were taken this weekend on a 60’ Viking and a 44’ Pacfica. We had just a little over 2 dozen this last weekend.

There are still plenty of season left and bugs to catch. So if you would like to see how I do it, give me a call and lets get something set up.

Captain Dave Hansen

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Captain Dave Hansen

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