Mark Wadsworth was one of Rockport's herring weir fishermen in the 1950s. Here he is dipping herring into his peapod or double -ender (which he built) for transfer to the herring carrier. Penobscot Marine Museum has one of his peapods, built for a summer family, in its collection. Wadsworth also lobstered from his peapod using an outboard on a bracket to help tend his traps
Lobstering from an open boat with a gasoline engine and a torpedo stern. When this photograph was taken in 1949, this boat was obsolete. Square sterned boats were by then common, as were automobile-based gasoline engines and standing shelters to protect both engine and fisherman. Photograph from the Atlantic Fisherman collection.
This photo shows the great volume of lobstering activity in a small harbor like Friendship. A relatively modern lobster boat (for the 1950s) lies at the wharf. There are the usual piles of lobster traps and hanging buoys. A double-ender or peapod probably used as a tender lies at the ramp. In the anchorage are a number of open lobster boats, one with a canvas cover for the engine and what appears to be a Friendship sloop converted to power with a standing shelter where the cuddy once was forward.
Lobsterman getting traps ready in the spring. Traps have to be cleaned, dried, and repaired. This was especially hard work in the days of wooden traps, which rotted over time. Traps are being loaded onto a lobster boat that is just visible. A peapod is pulled out and set upside down on the nearby dock. Berry probaly took this photograph in New Harbor or Round Pond.
Each warp or line coming up from a pot or two on the bottom of the sea ends at a lobster pot buoy on the surface. Originally these buoys were cut with a hatchet from a small spruce trunk. Once laths became available, fishermen could turn buoys from larger pieces of wood. Small wood shops could make them in quantity for sale. Now buoys are hard foam.
Lobster measure, for measuring the carapace, or body shell, of the lobster. The shorter measure is 3 1/4", and that is the minimum allowable size of the carapace; the maximum is 5". If the lobster carapace is between these two lengths, and the lobster is not an egg-bearing female, it may be kept. Otherwise, the lobster must be thrown back. This measure has a float attached to it, so that it won't sink if dropped overboard.
Painting of two lobster fishermen in a dory, with sails set. The dory is sloop- rigged with a sprit mainsail, a typical inshore fishing dory of Maine and Massachsetts. The boat may have encountered a storm, tearing the sails, but the torn sail is more likely artistic license, or just an old one on its last legs. Both fishermen are wearing oilskin trousers to stay dry while hauling traps. There is a lobster pot in the boat and a small anchor in the bow.
The artist does not show up in any of the regular sources so may have been a talented amateur.
Small wide rubber bands are used hold the large claws of the lobster closed, in order to keep lobsters from hurting each other when stored or shipped together. Before rubber bands, lobster fisherman whittled plugs that could be inserted into a lobster's claw to prevent them from opening.
This photo shows something of the evolution of lobster boats in the mid 20th century, when some were open boats, like the one in the foreground, and some had spray hoods and deckhouses.
The open boat is a double ender, perhaps dating from the 1910-20 period and may have been hauled out to die. The spray hood visible on the second boat and several in the harbor became more common as boats got faster using converted automobile engines after World War II. By 1960, virtually all lobster boats had switched to a solid deckhouse.
Lobster boat in Bass Harbor, on the southwest corner of Mount Desert Island.
This photo shows an evolution in lobster boat design The boat at mooring on the right has only a canvas spray hood. The boat pulled up on shore has a combination spray hood and hard deckhouse, and the boat in the foreground has a more modern wooden deckhouse. The steadying sail keeps the boat from rolling in a sea while picking up traps. Today's lobster boats are much wider (beamier) so that they don't roll as much.