Fishing with traditional pots
Fishermen using fish traps or pots made in the traditional way are rare around
the coast of the UK. Only a handful of fishermen prefer to work handmade
or 'withy' pots as they are known locally.
Each pot, made from locally grown
willow is a day's work. The wood is cut when it is green enough to withstand
the harsh bending and shaping. The space between the staves is designed to allow
smaller, undersize fish to escape.
The pots are baited with fresh or salted fish to attract brown crab and hopefully
lobster. Occasionally, the pots will receive the attention of conger eels which
frequent the rocky ground that the pots are worked over.
Tel 01736 361700
Pot or trap fishing is probably the oldest form of fishing carried out all
over the world. Few fishermen in the UK continue to work these traditional withy
pots close to the shore which have to be moved to deeper water or brought ashore
if gales are forecast
The method of fishing allows fish to be taken alive, any undersize fish are
thrown back to be caught another day. For many years pot fishermen in the south
west have put back pregnant or 'berried' females in order to further increase
In Padstow, North Cornwall the National
Lobster Hatchery has been working for over
twenty years to cultivate stocks of lobsters. Tiny juvenile lobsters are grown
in tanks from eggs taken from berried females. The tiny lobsters are
then released into the waters around Cornwall at key times of the year.