Maine lobsterman creates revolutionary product with simple tweak

Lobstering in the Gulf of Maine is tough work.

There are a multitude of tasks that cause never ending wear and tear on just about every body part that you could think of, especially in areas like the shoulders, lower back, elbows, and knees.

Now, thanks to David Hiltz Jr., of Deer Isle, there’s a new product on the line that could help lobstermen haul their traps more safely and efficiently.


Hiltz is the creator of “EZ Block.


Here’s Hiltz demonstrating how EZ Block works:

As you can see the block allows him to easily bring the traps aboard on his own, it’s a subtle difference from a normal block, but it could truly be a game-changer for lobstermen.

For a contrast, watch this other video, posted by Avery Locke. Skip to 1:15 to see a good shot of a trap being pulled aboard:

According to Hiltz, the idea was born out of trying to make things easier on his fellow lobstermen.

“I have been lobstering since 1990, and that many years take a toll on your body,” said Hiltz. “I just want other fishermen to be able to have a product that is better for their health.”

Regular style block.

Regular style block.

Hiltz and his friend, Rock Wilson crafted the final design through trial and error.  They came up with a product made out of high-quality aluminum and stainless steel.

Said Hiltz, “It’s made with the highest quality materials, and at the lowest cost.”

He continued:

“What the block does is, as you haul trap lines the “teeth” on the block will flip the rope to that trap out of the block as you continue to haul. With a regular block you need to stop the hauler and grab the trap with one hand and use the other arm to pull the rope up and out of the block which is hard on your shoulder.”

Two lobstermen wrestle a trap aboard with a regular style block.

Two lobstermen wrestle a trap aboard with a regular style block.

“It’s like taking one step out of the hauling process, which is way easier on your body.

All this has happened so quick and there has been way more interest than I thought there would be.

I just want to help fishermen, especially the younger guys, save on wear and tear on their bodies!”

Chris Shorr

About Chris Shorr

Chris is a sixth generation Portlander who loves all things Maine. He has worked with mentally ill and marginalized adults at a Portland non-profit, on a lobster boat in Casco Bay, at several high-end Portland restaurants, and at a local meat packing plant. He also ran for Portland City Council in 2013, wrote a weekly column in the now defunct Portland Daily Sun, and currently writes a weekly column in The Portland Phoenix.