Wild Caught Octopus

Discussion in 'Sources for Cephalopods and Food' started by skywindsurfer, Oct 18, 2010.

  1. skywindsurfer

    skywindsurfer Architeuthis Registered

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    I'm starting this thread because every year I take several weekend trips to the Texas coast. Every time I make attempts to catch an octopus but with no success. I was wondering if anyone knows of any traps, methods, or places where I could use or go to increase my chances.
     
  2. Nancy

    Nancy Titanites Staff Member Moderator

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    Your problem is that most of them are not near the shore. I talked with the NRCC people about this a lot, because I too would have liked a Texas octopus.

    Did you actually see one in the Port Arthur area? You could place some pots around and try that method, but it would require a couple of trips.

    I've heard that they're found at the Flower Garden Reef, 80 miles out. A book about the reef by a diver came out a few years ago and you might check it out. I talked with the author and he said they saw an octopus once in a while. Some diving trips are available for this location, or at least used to be.

    You might start interviewing fishermen to see what they know! Do they ever catch them? Are they ever brought up with crab traps? The Texas coast has an abundant supply of crabs, so there's food for them.

    Nancy
     
  3. skywindsurfer

    skywindsurfer Architeuthis Registered

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    I always go to Port A.(Aransas), Corpus, and Rockport. I went to Indian Point Park a few timesam as well and I've both seen and or caught just about everything you can think of except cephs. I'm not sure if the fishermen get octopus but I know they squid. On one of my last trips one of my friends said they saw an octopus but I didn't. I know they are down there because I've found proof of people catching them. What kind of trap should I use to catch them?
     
  4. Joe-Ceph

    Joe-Ceph Haliphron Atlanticus Supporter

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    I learned how to catch octopus in California by doing what you are doing, looking online for people who know how and are willing to teach me. If you strike out on Tonmo, find sites that attract fishermen from the Texas gulf coast, search their archives for "octopus" and post questions about how/where to find them. If that doesn't work, call bait shops in the coastal areas. Somebody knows where they are.
     
  5. skywindsurfer

    skywindsurfer Architeuthis Registered

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    My problem is I know where they are. I just can't catch them. I was trying to catch them the way I did in Japan (I would free dive and catch them by hand) but water conditions didn't permit me to do so. So this next time I was thinking of setting traps the next time I go. I'm just looking for those who have experience catching them with traps will chime in with some tips of what traps to use, bait, et cetra. I did try the bait shop route last time I was down there but I kept getting the same we don't carry live octpus responses.
     
  6. SabrinaR

    SabrinaR Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Registered

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    I know it can be done. A guy from my reef club said he caught 3. I think he was just fishing though. Of course we would rather catch them with out the hook. I would love to be able to have a local caught octopus.
     
  7. Joe-Ceph

    Joe-Ceph Haliphron Atlanticus Supporter

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    The University of Texas has a "marine science institute" research facility in Port Aransas. I used to work at UCSB, which has a similar research facility, and they employed two full time divers to collect animals for the researchers. It's very likely that The MSI in Port Aransas has one or two full time staff divers who know where, how, and when, to collect a local octopus (or anything else). If you can find out how to contact them, and convince them that your purposes are legit, and not likely to damage the environment, then they might tell you how to go about catching an octopus.

    I was able to find this list of people and emails

    In my experience, people like these are all about protecting natural resources, and university employees generally don't like to do things that might get them in trouble, or make them look bad, so you'll probably need to overcome that hurdle before they tell you anything. If going there in person is possible, it will probably help. Maybe a Tonmo member who is associated with a marine research program can email them on your behalf? They're more likely to feel good about talking to insiders than the "general public".

    Here's a list of MSI staff. Click on their name to see their title.
     
  8. skywindsurfer

    skywindsurfer Architeuthis Registered

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    Thanks a lot for that info joe-ceph. I knew about the intuite. I pass it every time I go to Port A. I'll contact them and see what they say. As for all of you wanting local Texas caught octopus I'd be more than willing to collect more for anyone willing to do local pickup. Oh and I refuse to use a hook and l line to catch my animals. What are the best types live traps to use to catch them that won't hurt them?
     
  9. Joe-Ceph

    Joe-Ceph Haliphron Atlanticus Supporter

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    The classic "trap" is just a clay pot laid on the sand flats. In a place where good dens are scarce. The octopus finds it, stays inside, and stays inside while it's being hauled up. The ones I've seen pictures of had an opening that was a little smaller than the diameter of the inside space, which was sort of egg shaped[​IMG]
    In the mediteranian they aren't baited, but in japan they put a little crab inside. An advantage of this kind of trap is that if you don't check it for a while (or ever), the octopus can just leave, and not be trapped and die. I read about a modern version of this trap being made out of corrugated plastic drainage pipe with a concrete plug at one end (cheap, easy, and weighted). I would guess that the best time to pull it up would be dependent on when the species is the least active. The traps are all on a single long line, spaced apart (15'?), and pulled up onto a boat all at once. I wonder if small traps would catch small (young) octopus, or if the young ones don't venture onto the sand flats, but stay near cover where its' safer. Be sure to let us know what you learn, whatever you try.

    You'll also want to check the fishing laws where you are. In California only hook and line, or "with the hands" are legal methods of take - so no traps here, even passive ones.
     
  10. skywindsurfer

    skywindsurfer Architeuthis Registered

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    Traps are ok in Texas as far as I know. People use them all the time. My plan is to set a trap that the octopus can't escape from. I was going to arrive late in the evening around midnight or later, set a few traps, and check them in the morning. I would do this again the following night if the first trap were unsuccessful. I don't know if I should use a classic crab trap or if I would need something else. I plan to bait them as well.
     
  11. SabrinaR

    SabrinaR Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Registered

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    What octopus are you looking to catch?
     
  12. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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  13. skywindsurfer

    skywindsurfer Architeuthis Registered

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    Well the main species that I know is most common in that area is O. Vulgaris and since I have a 250 gallon aquarium that's just fine. But I'm looking for any and all species I can find. I want to compile a complete list of all species found in that area.
     
  14. SabrinaR

    SabrinaR Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Registered

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    I havent been following your threads but dont you have a Briarues in that one?
     
  15. skywindsurfer

    skywindsurfer Architeuthis Registered

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    Yes I do, but I'm talking about long term. I got the briareus because I was unable to catch another octopus in Port A. I will once again resume my search when Nereus passes.
     
  16. skywindsurfer

    skywindsurfer Architeuthis Registered

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    Thanks for the link cuttlegirl.
     
  17. skywindsurfer

    skywindsurfer Architeuthis Registered

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    Just sent an email to the MSI in Port A. I'll let you guys know what they say as soon as I get a response.
     
  18. skywindsurfer

    skywindsurfer Architeuthis Registered

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    So the lady that I contacted said that she is unable to help me because she doesn't know anything about octopus. I asked her if there was anyone that could help but I'm still waiting on a response.
     
  19. Joe-Ceph

    Joe-Ceph Haliphron Atlanticus Supporter

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    I think your best bet would be to contact the collection diver(s) directly. If a researcher says "I need an octopus" it is the diver's job to figure out how to catch one and catch it. They are probably the only ones there who might be able to help you. One of the links I posted was for a staff directory for MSI staff. One of those people had the job title "small boat captain". He's probably the diver, so you might want to approach him directly.

    If the MSI there is anything like the MSI at UCSB, the people who work there get lots of phone calls asking for random ocean related information, like surf reports, "do you have any dolphins I can visit?", etc. They don't want to be jerks (because they are publicly funded) but they aren't very motivated to do extra leg work researching such questions, so if you don't directly contact someone who knows your answer, you're likely to strike out. Maybe you could specifically ask the woman you contacted to give you the email addresses for the staff divers who do the collecting.

    Oh, and it's likely that the collection diver's biggest worries about helping you are:
    1) You might be a fisherman who wants to collect as many as you can, for bait, or even for sale, and since he needs to be able to easily find an octopus the next time he's asked, he doesn't want his source to be depleted, so he might not want to tell you exactly where to look.
    2) Anything he tells you is a risk to him. For example, you could break some law and say to the game warden, or the judge: "Bob Jones at MSI told me I could do this here".

    If you can get him to trust you, he'll help you. It's better to ask him to describe, in detail, what kind of habitat and conditions to look in (depth, temp, rocks or sand, time of day/year, high tide/low tide, etc.) There's no risk in telling you that stuff, and it's easier to trust a guy who just wants to learn, and is willing to do a lot of work on their own. Be humble, grateful, and have a reason for collecting an octopus that they can support. BTW, some people disapprove of traps, so unless he suggests it, you might not want to bring that up (some people don't check traps often enough, or they allow the floats to be a navigation hazard). It helps to ask questions like "is there anything I should be sure to avoid doing? I don't want to damage any habitat or inadvertently kill anything" or "I only want to take an octopus from a species with a large wild population. Are there any species of local octopus that I should be careful not to take?" Anything that makes it clear that you are not a Bozo or a loose canon will increase your chances of getting their help.

    Again, if you can get someone associated with marine research or education to do the asking for you, you're much more likely to get their cooperation.

    Good luck
     
  20. skywindsurfer

    skywindsurfer Architeuthis Registered

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    I contacted one of the Diving Program Coordinators, Tracy Villareal because I really wasn't sure which staff member would be best to ask. This is what I sent in the first email;

    "Dear Tracy Villareal;

    I am a professional diver at a public institute, and I'm trying to compile a complete list the of octopus species found along the Texas
    coast, as well as where each species can be found(i.e. habitat, depth, season, location, et cetra). I am not collecting for any buy,
    seller, or institute. I'm not sure if you do research on octopus or not, but I was wondering if your facility could offer any information on
    this. Thank you for your time."

    Her response was;

    "sorry, I don't know much about octopi around here.

    Regards, Tracy"
     

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