Useful for halibut bait and occasionally desired as an ethnic food, Octopuses are sometime sought for their own merits. Generally, however, they are accidentally caught in cod fish traps and harvested along with the intended species. Octopuses are best caught with a trap method, rather than bait and hook.
Research locations for octopus hunting. Ask at local fishing docks and consult with your state's Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for accurate information.
Learn octopus-fishing strategies. An excellent reference is "Fishing for Octopus, a Guide for Commercial Fishermen" by Brian C. Paust. His handbook discusses octopus species, fishing techniques and gear suggestions.
Sciencing Video Vault
Acquire a standard ground fish pot trap/cage. The company E-Z Traps makes several models, but you may also be able to purchase them used in fishing towns or even make your own.
Bait and set the fish trap. Fresh raw fish is standard bait that seems to attract octopus.
Sink the trap in a strategic area, allowing it enough rope to rest on the bottom of the ocean. Octopuses live in den-like habitats in reefs and rocky substrate. Octopuses are usually found towards the shore from May to July and November to January. They tend to be offshore from February to March and August to October.
Check the trap by bringing it to the surface of the water. This is done more easily during low tide, so consult a tide chart. Traps should be checked after 24 hours.
Remove octopus with a net. If more octopuses are desired, re-bait and sink the trap.