More lobster fishermen in eastern P.E.I. are taking the opportunity to save themselves thousands of dollars catching their own mackerel to use as bait in their traps in the next lobster season.

North Lake fisherman Peter Bortien is out on the water for the second year fishing mackerel, catching 7,000 pounds (3,200 kg) in just three days. He said the mackerel run has changed in recent years.

pe-hi-mackerel-bait-4col

Lobster fishermen after their own bait can catch thousands of pounds of mackerel in just a few days. (CBC)

"Seems like the mackerel are here earlier," said Bortien.

"Traditionally, you'd go out and catch mackerel in September. In September now, they're after moving on. They're in the cooler waters off Newfoundland."

In past years many fishermen would buy their bait but now they're catching it themselves. This year it saved Bortien $5,000.

"You save money and you're always sure of having bait, because a lot of times you'd come in and you're buyer would go, oh I'm sorry there's no bait on the go today," he said.

pe-si-peterbortein

The mackerel are running earlier in recent years, says North Lake lobster fisherman Peter Bortein. (CBC)

The early arrival of the mackerel is particularly welcome. With prices dropping to historic lows this year fishermen don't have any extra cash for buying bait.

"Every cent you can save is money in our pockets and catching your own bait is one of them," said fisherman David Bruce.

Fishermen in Kings County can now also take advantage of a large freezer in Souris, where they can store their bait over the winter.