If you’re looking for the best Maine Lobster Fishing, you’ll want to take an excursion with Lucky Catch Lobster Cruises. Lucky Catch cruises from Portland Maine, where you’ll set and pull up lobster traps in beautiful Casco Bay. In this hands-on cruise, you’ll learn all about lobsters, lobstering, and more while enjoying a fun-filled adventure. One might even say it’s one of the quintessential Maine experience!
Along the way, you’ll also take in picturesque views of historic forts, lovely lighthouses, and southern Maine’s rugged coast. Ready to come aboard? Keep reading to find out all you need to know about lobster fishing in Maine with Lucky Catch Lobster Cruises.
CONTENTS – In this article, you will learn all you need to do when booking a tour on Lucky Catch Lobster Cruises in Portland ME, as well as what to expect, including:
- Where Does Lucky Catch Cruises Leave From?
- Best Lobster Cruise Options
- Special Excursions & Private Charters with Lucky Cath Cruises
- What to Wear (and Not to Wear) Lobster Fishing
- Getting Suited Up for Lobster Fishing
- Portland Lobstering Excursion – Portland Headlight
- Final Thoughts on Lucky Catch Lobster Tours
Point of Departure for Lobster Tour | Portland Maine
Lucky Catch Lobster Cruise tours depart from Long Wharf in Portland Maine. That’s 170 Commercial Street, which you’ll find in the Old Port District, right on the harbor beside Portland Lobster Company. Note that departure is NOT from the Portland ferry terminal, which is a few blocks away.
You’ll want to arrive at Long Wharf and check in at the ticket booth about 20 minutes before your tour departs. If you’re looking for parking, be sure you allow some extra time because it can be hard to find parking in the Old Port.
If you want to stay in Portland, the pier is just a short walk from the award-winning Portland Harbor Hotel.
Cruise Options for Best Lobster Cruises from Portland Maine
Lucky Catch Lobster Cruises offers several options when it comes to cruising out of Portland Maine.
Tours each last about an hour-and-a-half and run from the first weekend of May through the last weekend in October. Each vessel has limited occupancy to make sure everyone gets an up-close, hands on experience lobster fishing in Maine!
The most popular lobster boat cruise options offered by Lucky Catch Lobster Cruises include:
Portland Headlight Lobstering Cruise
The Portland Headlight Lobstering Cruise showcases the most scenic points of the lobster tours in Casco Bay, including:
- Fort Gorges
- Fort Scammel
- Portland Headlight
- Six other lighthouses
This is the tour we took and you’ll find more details about our experience later in this article.
Seal Watch Lobstering Cruise
The Seal Watch Lobstering Cruise offers beautiful views of lighthouses, forts, and islands, plus a trap stop at Seal Rock, which is also known as Halfway Rock. You’ll likely see the colony of (adorable) seals basking in the sun or playing in the water on this cruise.
White Head Passage Lobstering Cruise
White Head Passage Lobstering Cruise weaves around three rocky islands in Casco Bay, then proceeds to White Head Cliff. You’ll see Ram Island Ledge Lighthouse, several other lighthouses and forts, and the stony rock formation of Chief White Head over the water.
In addition to the regularly scheduled tours, you can chose from Special Excursions below, or even charter a private cruise for a group or special occasion with Lucky Catch Lobster Cruises. Here are some options:
Traps and Apps
Traps and Apps is a special excursion that includes a stop at an oyster farm. You’ll learn about oysters and aquaculture, as well get a chance to shuck your own oysters!
Enjoy sampling fresh oysters and two other delicacies from the sea (usually seaweed and mussels), then end this tasty culinary tour with a delicious lobster roll. You’ll want to bring your own beverages to wash it down.
This tour runs on Saturday afternoons in June, July, and August.
Fort Gorges Excursion
Explore this stunning granite-walled Civil War battery in the middle of Portland Harbor that was built in the mid-1800s. One Lucky Catch’s Fort Gorges Excursion, you’ll discover this unique public park owned by the City of Portland – provided the tide is right.
That’s why this tour takes place on limited Sundays in July and August.
Any one of these Lucky Catch Cruises is sure to please. Keep reading below for more detailed insight. Click here if you’re ready to book a tour.
What to Wear (and Not to Wear) Lobster Fishing
So, what does one wear when lobster fishing?
Well, as you might imagine, lobster fishing is an affair suited to practical attire. That’s especially true if you want to participate. Everyone who wants a turn will get the chance to:
- Stuff nets with bait (fish)
- Help empty the catch from the traps
- Throw lobster traps off the boat
- Measure lobsters
- Apply bands to the lobster claws
- And other hands-on tasks
Therefore, you will want to dress comfortably including your shoes. Dress for fun and don’t wear anything you’d be afraid to get dirty.
It can also get cold and a bit windy out on the water, about 10-15 degrees cooler than on shore. For that reason, you will want to dress warmly with some extra layers, like a sweatshirt and windbreaker or a coat and hat in the late season. A hat will keep the sun at bay, too.
Lobster tours go out in rain or shine, so if it’s rainy, you’ll want to wear appropriate gear for the weather. Most of the boat is open to the elements, although there is some cover by the front of the boat. If there’s a thunderstorm, your tour will be canceled or sent back to dock for safety. (Don’t worry, you’ll get a refund if no traps were pulled.)
What not to bring? You should leave the pearls and heels behind–it’s not really a fancy kind of experience. The same goes for any expensive items that might slip off the boat or get damaged.
However, if you have a backpack or bag in tow, you are welcome to store them up at the front of the boat where they will be somewhat protected from the elements.
Getting Suited Up for Lobster Fishing
Once you’re onboard and you head out on the harbor to go lobster fishing in Maine with Lucky Catch Lobster Tours, you’ll be given everything you need for the experience. That includes:
- A pair of sturdy rubber gloves
- A rubber apron that slips over your head and ties easily
These things will allow you to take part in the fun without worrying about getting too dirty.
If you don’t feel comfortable participating, no problem. It’s 100% optional.
Portland Lobstering Excursion – Portland Headlight
Our tour, which we took toward the end of the season in October, was the Portland Head Light Tour. It was so much fun!
About a dozen of us took part on board in some degree or another.
First, we filled up the small nets with a few fish. That way, we’d be ready to replace the nets in the lobster traps when we pulled them up.
The crew members and the Captain took the time to tell us interesting history and anecdotes about the landmarks we passed by. This included various forts and lighthouses. We cruised around toward the lobster buoys. Each trap has a special marking, so we knew which ones were ours.
Bringing Up Traps
Then, we hoisted the traps up with a pulley near the front of the boat. This was the exciting part!
Even though it was late in the season and the lobsters are not as easy to catch when the waters get cool, we got to see some very cool sea life. Our haul included different types of crabs and Crustacean. We learned a lot about each type of wildlife!
For example, did you know that there are non-native crabs, or exotic crabs in Maine waters, like the Green Crab? Or that you’ll find hermit crabs out in the Maine ocean?
With each haul, we (cautiously) picked out the crabs and any other catch, re-baited the trap, and tossed it back into the water.
We learned a lot about lobsters, too, of course. The boat had some lobsters on board just in case we came up empty, but we finally did catch some!
Lobster Fishing Regulation in Maine (Can We Keep It?)
There are some important regulations about whether you can keep the lobster caught in the lobster trap.
For instance, the size of the lobster matters. To harvest, a lobster’s body must measure between 3.25″ – 5″ long. This measurement is from the eye socket along the back to the point where the tail joins the body (carapace).
This measurement is important because lobsters than the minimum need to do more growing, and larger lobsters are “breeders” that help the gene pool.
Another interesting tidbit we learned is that lobster fishermen must throw back any female lobsters carrying eggs (“berried”). In fact, lobster fisherman mark the reproductive female’s tail (right middle flipper) with a v-notch to let others know they cannot harvest this lobster.
She is protected for about 2 molting cycles, or about 2 years, until she outgrows the notch. This gives her more time to safely produce more young lobsters.
Additionally, you are not permitted to pull up lobster traps during certain times of day and year. Harvesting lobster is prohibited after 4 PM on Saturdays and all Sundays in June, July, or August per the State Conservation Laws.
Handling the Lobster
On the tour, we learned how to measure a lobster using a lobster gauge, and how to put the rubber bands on the lobsters’ claws with a lobster banding tool.
We also discovered how to tell the difference between a male and a female lobster:
- A female’s top set of feelers (called ‘swimmerets’) are soft, translucent, and have crossed tips; Her tail is also broader to carry eggs (roe).
- The male’s top feelers are bony, more opaque, and point upward to his body.
This was a very interactive part of the tour, and the crew made sure anyone who wanted to have a turn or see a demonstration close up had the opportunity.
Baiting the Lobster Traps
Once we’d pulled up the traps and re-baited it, they went back into the water. First, we’d put three fish into the net. Then, we secured the net inside of the trap again. Finally, we tossed the whole thing overboard. It was fun to toss the traps back into the ocean!
Click the video below to see what that was like:
Lobster To-Go for Dinner
After we were through with all the lobster fishing fun, it was time to head back to Portland. But not without first picking out a lobster to take home.
If you’d like to dine on a fresh lobster, you may select from the lobsters onboard at below market price.
The crew will package your live lobster up for you and you can take it home and cook it up yourself. Or, if you’d like to bring it to Portland Harbor Lobster. They will steam it up for you and add sides for a very affordable price.
This is a great finish to your Maine lobster fishing adventure—and it couldn’t be tastier.
Final Thoughts on Lucky Catch Lobster Tours
Taking a tour with Lucky Catch Cruises is a fantastic way to spend a few hours if you’re near Portland, Maine or planning a day trip. Not only is it fun, interesting, and offers the opportunity of lobster for dinner, it’s a great day out on the water exploring the scenic beauty of the waterfront.
If you’re looking for more day trips from Portland, you’ll also want to check out one or more of the islands off the Maine Coast. One of favorites is Peaks Island, where you can rent a golf cart to explore this charming little island in just a few hours.
Another darling island on the Casco Bay ferry route is Bailey Island in Harpswell – but you can also get here by car.
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