The engine of the traditional wooden fishing boat pounds softly, waves glitter and excitement mounts as you close in on the floats gently bobbing above the lobster traps. You can experience the life of a lobster fisherman through a magic trip on board the wooden vessel Tuffa. Slowly heading out from the harbour the anticipation mounts and you will soon experience the thrill of catching the precious red gold of the ocean.
The fishing trip starts at “Everts sjöbod” – the old boat house that doubles as a rustic pub and lobster pot. It is situated on the Swedish West coast in the region of Bohuslän by the small fishing port of Grebbestad. The 20th of September is the premiere for lobster fishing and it is quite a spectacle to see as the small armada of ships move out of harbor and scatter to ‘secret’ lobster hot spots passed down through generations of fishermen. 70 % of all Swedish lobsters are caught off-shore from Grebbestad. Brothers Lars and Per Karlsson operators of Tuffa and Everts Sjöbod are born and bred here and will be your local guides. The Karlsson brothers are not commercial fishermen so they are restricted to 14 lobster traps, 7 distributed in the open sea and 7 closer to land. This way they are sure to be able take guests out regardless of weather conditions.
Your hosts provide warm float suits before you board the vessel and brief you on safety procedures and what to expect. “Tuffa” was built in 1952 and is licensed to carry 12 people. While you choose a nice place to sit the skipper stacks away bait to resupply the lobster traps.
Your lips will taste the salty spray as your body is rocked gently by the waves. Tuffa will carefully navigate through a maze of granite islands that are characteristic of Bohuslän. When the sun sinks low on the horizon the rocks have a reddish glow that makes it appear that the islands and main land are glowing like a dying fire.
If you wish you can take an active part in the work to harvest the lobster. Just watch out for the lobster claws, they are quite strong fellows. Tasty crabs will also be there as well as star fish and some small fish.
Lobsters are inspected and females with eggs are returned to the sea as well as the undersized ones. Sustainable fishing is the basis for fishing lobster in the region. This company has sustainability as part of their company policy and work method. And why shouldn’t they, it is a matter of survival with nature for them.
To place the lobster traps is a work of precision. They look for rocky bottoms and have to make sure the trap lands and settles in the right way. These days sonar is used to help find the hot spots. Soft drinks and coffee are served with locally produced hard bread made of kelp. But, when you get back to the boathouse a cold stout, grilled lobster and exquisite oysters can be your well deserved treat.