Jes Pullin a Few Pots Off Portsmouth Haba
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Written by SeacoastNH Archive

Lobster in hand Presents 
Historic Portsmouth #440

Today’s photographic essay is tomorrow’s historic document. In the early 1950s, Kittery photographer Douglas Armsden spent a winter’s day capturing the rugged routine of an average lobster fisherman. The photo essay (18 images total) begins and ends at Lacava Lobster Pound in Portsmouth. (Continued below)


Here we see the one-man one-boat operation of Louis Pento as he pulls wooden pots from Portsmouth Harbor near the modern Commercial Pier out to Fort Constitution in New Castle. Pento wears a couple of heavy flannel shirts over hip boots and a rubberized apron. He is using tarred rope, wooden buoys, and his bait is stored in wooden barrels. Today most boats are made of fiberglass, traps are four-feet long instead of three and now made of plastic and wire, not wood. Winter clothing is warmer and modern boats are enhanced with an array of electronic equipment, while the shifting gear has been relocated to the bulkhead. But ultimately, it is the same hard, cold, rugged work seen in these 60-year old images, artfully recorded by one of the region’s best photographers. (Courtesy Portsmouth Athenaeum with thanks to David Kaselauskas)

Lobsterman off Portsmouth Harbor in 1953 / Portsmouth Athenaeum

Lobster in hand in Portsmouth, NH 1953 (c) Portsmouth Atheneum


Lobster fisherman Louis Pento in 1953 by Doug Armsden on

Photo (c) Portsmouth Athenaeum on