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1. WO2004100655 - CONTENANT D'APPAT

Note: Texte fondé sur des processus automatiques de reconnaissance optique de caractères. Seule la version PDF a une valeur juridique

[ EN ]

BAIT CONTAINER

The present invention relates generally to the field of fishing, particularly crustacean fishing. When fishing for crustaceans, a trap is generally used into which crustaceans enter and become entangled or trapped therein. Bait is placed within the trap to attract the crustaceans.

The present invention generally provides a bait container having sections for holding bait, which are separated by biodegradable material. The bait container is lowered into the water, and has at least one section of the bait accessible to the catch. The biodegradable material then degrades over a period of time thereby permitting at least another section of bait to become accessible to the catch. The invention therefore provides a means to prolong the useful life of the bait, particularly bait for crustaceans such as lobsters and crabs.

The problem of providing a bait container made of biodegradable materials which can optionally provide for both the slow release of bait, for long-term fishing, or provide immediate release of the bait is one of long standing, which has hitherto yet been satisfactorily solved. For example, United States Patent No.4,823,499 describes a bait container which can be used for the slow release of bait, and which is particularly suited for use in traps such as lobster pots. Bait for Crustacea or fish is supported in an elastic casing having orifices therein, to allow bait to be accessed by the catch. It is preferred that the bait be combined with water to form blocks of ice. These blocks of ice are then inserted into the container and melt, thereby gradually exposing and releasing bait through the holes of the container. However, such a bait container does not describe nor suggest a bait container possessing separate sections housing bait, each of which are separated from one another by a biodegradable material. There is also no mention of a bait container having a peel back flap, which allows for the immediate release of the bait.

United States Patent No. 2,607,155 teaches a bait container which allows for the slow release of bait. A net is filed with bait and is lowered into the water. The configuration of the net is such that, when the bait is filled and the net is lowered into the water, bait near the bottom of the net is "milked out" slowly. However, there is no recognition nor discussion of a bait container which possess separate sections for housing bait, each of which are separated from one another by a biodegradable material.

Accordingly, there is a need for a bait container made of biodegradable material between the bait, which can optionally provide for a slow release of the bait for long term fishing, by immersing the bait container in water to degrade slowly, or immediate release of the bait, through removal of a peel back flap on the bait container.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Thus, a primary object of the present invention is to provide a bait container for fishing which provides for a gradual time release of the bait for long term fishing. Another object of the present invention is to provide convenience for the fisherman, whereby the fisherman can optionally select between a slow release of the bait for long term fishing, or immediate release of the bait.

According to one aspect of the present invention there is provided a bait container comprising a housing having an opening thereto covered by a flap; a bait section inside the housing; and an inner layer of biodegradable material restricting access to the bait section, wherein the housing houses the bait section and the inner layer of biodegradable material therein, whereby, prior to immersion of the bait container in water, the flap is torn open to expose the opening and allow access to the inner layer of biodegradable material in the bait container, and whereby, following deployment of the bait container by immersion in the water, the inner layer of biodegradable material later degrades under the effect of the water to expose the bait section to Crustacea or fish.

According to a further aspect of the present invention, there is provided a bait container comprising a housing having an opening thereto covered by a flap; a bait section inside the housing adapted to hold bait; and an inner layer of biodegradable material restricting access to the bait section, wherein the housing houses the bait section and the inner layer of biodegradable material therein, whereby, prior to immersion of the bait container in water, the flap is torn open to expose the opening and allow access to the inner layer of biodegradable material in the bait container, and whereby, following deployment of the bait container by immersion in the water, the inner layer of biodegradable material later degrades under the effect of the water to expose the bait section to Crustacea or fish.

According to another aspect of the present invention there is provided a bait container comprising a housing having an opening thereto covered by a flap; a first bait section adapted to hold bait, the first bait section having a first inner layer of biodegradable material restricting access to the first bait section; a second bait section adapted to hold bait, the second bait section having a second inner layer of biodegradable material restricting access to the second bait section; and a partition to separate the first bait section and the second bait section, wherein the housing houses the bait sections and the inner layers of biodegradable material therein, whereby, prior to immersion of the bait container in water, the flap is torn open to expose the opening and allow access to the inner layers of biodegradable material in the bait container, and whereby, following deployment of the bait container by immersion in the water, the inner layers of biodegradable material later degrade under the effect of the water to expose the bait sections to Crustacea or fish.

According to a further aspect of the present invention there is provided a bait container comprising a housing having an opening thereto covered by an outer layer of biodegradable material; a bait section inside the housing; an inner layer of biodegradable material restricting access to the bait section, wherein the housing houses the bait section and the inner layer of biodegradable material therein, whereby the outer layer of biodegradable material slowly degrades following deployment of the bait container by immersion in water to expose the opening and allow access to the inner layer of biodegradable material in the bait container, and whereby the inner layer of biodegradable material progressively degrades under the effect of the water to expose the bait in the bait section to Crustacea or fish.

According to a still further aspect of the present invention there is provided a bait container comprising a housing having an opening thereto covered by an outer layer of biodegradable material; a bait section inside the housing which is adapted to hold bait; and an inner layer of biodegradable material restricting access to the bait section, wherein the housing houses the bait section and the inner layer of biodegradable material therein, whereby the outer layer of biodegradable material slowly degrades following deployment of the bait container by immersion in water to expose the opening and allow access to the inner layer of biodegradable material in the bait container, and whereby the inner layer of biodegradable material progressively degrades under the effect of the water to expose the bait in the bait section to Crustacea or fish.

According to a still further aspect of the present invention there is provided a bait container comprising a housing having an opening thereto covered by an outer layer of biodegradable material; a first bait section adapted to hold bait, the first bait section having a first inner layer of biodegradable material restricting access to the first bait section; a second bait section adapted to hold bait, the second bait section having a second inner layer of biodegradable material restricting access to the second bait section; and a partition to separate the first bait section and the second bait section, wherein the housing houses the bait sections and the inner layers of biodegradable material therein, whereby the outer layer of biodegradable material slowly degrades following deployment of the bait container by immersion in water to expose the opening and allow access to the inner layers of biodegradable material in the bait container, and whereby the inner layers of biodegradable material progressively degrade under the effect of the water to expose the bait in the bait sections to Crustacea or fish.

The bait container may be of any suitable size and shape in order to be used as desired, though preferably the bait container is self-contained. Exemplary dimensions of a preferred embodiment of the bait container of the present invention are as follows: widths at the base of the bait container 3 Vz in. by 3 ΛA in., height 10 in. to the top of the container including the triangular top section. For deep off shore fishing, it is conceivable that a larger size of bait container be used, should the need arise for larger portions of bait to be used in the bait container. Preferably, the bait container of the present invention is positioned within a fishing trap, for example, by being placed on the spike of a lobster trap, and is lowered and immersed into the water when the weight of the trap allows the trap (and bait container positioned therein) to descend in the water.

In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, a flap is provided on the exterior of the bait container which may be peeled off the bait container before lowering into the water. The flap may comprise, in a preferred embodiment, serrated perforations formed on an exterior surface of the container, and which outline an opening to the interior thereof. The flap may be grabbed by a user and torn along the perforations, thus revealing the opening to the interior bait sections of the bait container. By providing a flap for the container, the contents within the bait container are protected prior to use. When the flap is removed, at least one section of bait is immediately accessible to the catch, and the bait container is ready for lowering into the water.

Should there be more than one bait section in the bait container, then, overtime, the additional biodegradable material within the bait container, which restricts access to the additional bait sections therein, will degrade in the water, for instance over a period of approximately twelve hours, thereby permitting the additional sections of bait to progressively become accessible to the catch.

The bait container of the present invention also comprises at least one bait section inside the container adapted to hold bait, and the bait sections may be of various configurations within the bait container. The bait used in the bait sections may be, for example, salt bait, fresh bait or frozen bait. Several bait sections may also be provided in the bait container, these being separated from one another inside the container by, for example, cardboard dividers, so as to separate the bait sections into layers (levels) within the bait container. In such a configuration, preferably the flap may be torn enough along the exterior of the container to reveal each bait section layered within the container, though individual bait sections (and the bait therein) are separated from immediate exposure to the water surrounding the container by the biodegradable material which forms a temporary seal between the bait and the water allowed into contact with the biodegradable material when the flap is torn. This biodegradable material then degrades, over time, in the water, eventually allowing access to the bait. Preferably however, there is at least one bait section wherein bait is immediately exposed to the potential catch upon tearing of the flap.

In another embodiment of the present invention, an opening on the exterior surface of the bait container is provided, and an outer layer of biodegradable material is also provided so as to outline and cover the immediate area around this opening allowing access to the interior of the bait container. In this way, the bait container and its contents therein are protected prior to use, and upon initial immersion in the water. When the bait container is placed in the water, the biodegradable material covering the opening degrades in the water over a period of time, revealing the opening to the interior of the bait container and thus exposing the bait sections within the bait container to the potential catch.

In another embodiment of the present invention, a single layer of biodegradable material is provided between two sections of bait. This configuration is useful for initially exposing one section of the bait to the potential catch (when water has breached the opening to the container), while protecting the second section of bait prior to use. In time, the biodegradable material protecting the second section of bait continues to degrade, thus exposing the second section of bait to the potential catch.

In another embodiment, three or more sections of bait are provided wherein the third and subsequent sections of bait are each hidden by sections of biodegradable material which each have different degrees of degradation time due to, for instance, variations in the composition, density or thickness of the biodegradable material. For example, a first bait section may have a sufficient amount of biodegradable material so that the first bait section is exposed after 1 hour in water. A 2nd bait section may possess slightly more biodegradable material, and hence is exposed 3 hours after immersion. In this manner, separate bait sections within the bait container may have progressively varying exposure rates.

Additionally, degradation times of the biodegradable material may be influenced by the temperature of the water in which the bait container is placed. Upon immersion in warmer water, the biodegradable material will degrade at a faster rate than if immersed in colder water. Accordingly, it is possible to vary degradation rates by increasing or decreasing the amount of biodegradable material used as a seal. For example, in warmer water, and when a slower release of the bait is desired, a thicker seal of biodegradable material may be used. Conversely, if a faster release of the bait is desired in colder water, a thinner seal of biodegradable may be used.

The biodegradable material may be formed of any biodegradable material, but preferably, the biodegradable material of the present invention comprises a mixture of marshmallow, corn syrup and molasses, which is boiled to remove excess liquid. The sticky residue remaining after the boiling process thus forms the biodegradable seal which can be used in the bait container of the present invention. The mixture may be made thicker by boiling it for a longer period of time, so as to remove more liquid therefrom.

The bait container may further have, for example, a removable or openable top portion, whereby the top portion may be temporarily removed or opened so as to allow for the insertion of bait and biodegradable material into the interior of the container. Further, the bait container of the present invention can be immersed in the water for up to 3 days until retrieval, depending upon the temperature of the water, as noted above, and the amount of biodegradable being used to form the seal, but generally the bait container is to be immersed for 1 or 2 days until retrieval.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Embodiments of the invention will now be described, byway of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

Figure 1 is a diagrammatic perspective view of a bait container according to an embodiment of the present invention;

Figure 2 is a cut away view of an embodiment of a bait container of the present invention, illustrating the bait sections positioned within the bait container;

Figure 3 is a cut away view of a bait container of the present invention, illustrating another embodiment of the bait sections positioned within the bait container; and

Figure 4 is a diagrammatic perspective view of a bait container according to a further embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Referring to Figure 1 , a bait container (1) comprises a housing (1a) which houses bait sections and biodegradable material therein, and which possesses a top portion (3), which may be removable or openable to allow for the insertion of bait and/or biodegradable material.

Positioned on an outer surface of the bait container (1 ) is a peel back flap (5), defined by perforations (4), on the exterior surface of the container (1 ), which can be torn at a top portion thereof, such as with the aid of a tab portion (6), by the user of the bait container so as to allow immediate access to one or more bait sections therein. The bait container (1) may be of any suitable size and shape in order to be used as desired. In Figure 1 , an embodiment of the bait container of the present invention illustrates the top of the bait container (1) as including a triangular top section (3).

Referring to Figure 2, there is illustrated an embodiment of a bait container of the present invention, wherein the bait container (1) comprises a housing (1a) having a triangular top section (3) which houses a first bait section (7), a second bait section (9) and a third bait section (11 ) therein, the bait sections being superposed one on top of another. The top section

(3) is surmounted by lips (3a) which can be opened to supply live bait to the first bait section (7) shortly before deployment on the bait container (1). In this embodiment, the bait sections are separated vertically from one another by cardboard dividers (19, 21) positioned within the bait container, however, other configurations to divide the bait sections are conceivable. Each of these respective bait sections (7,9,11) holds bait (13,15,17) therein. In this embodiment of the present invention, the first bait section (7) is not provided with a layer of biodegradab(e material, so that when the tab portion (6) of the flap (5) is torn by the user downwardly along a substantial portion of the outside length of the bait container (1), the first bait section (7), and the bait therein (13), is exposed for immediate fishing. The second bait section (9) possesses an inner layer of biodegradable material (23), which degrades slowly after the flap (5) has been pulled downwardly to gradually expose the bait section (9) to the water. The third bait section (11) possesses an inner layer of biodegradable material (25), which is thicker than the layer of biodegradable material (23) positioned in the second bait section (9), and which, by virtue of being thicker, will take longer to gradually degrade and expose the third bait section (11) to Crustacea or fish, thus providing for longer term fishing.

Referring to Figure 3, there is illustrated another embodiment of the bait container of

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the present invention, wherein the bait container possesses only two bait sections (7,9). The bait container (1 ) comprises a housing having a triangular top section (3) which houses a first bait section (7) and a second bait section (9) therein, the bait sections being layered on top of one another, and separated vertically from one another by a cardboard divider (19) positioned with the bait container. Each of these respective bait sections (7,9) holds bait (13,15) therein.

In this embodiment of the present invention, the first bait section (7) is not provided with a layer of biodegradable material, so that when the tab portion (6) of the flap (5) is torn by the user downwardly along a substantial portion of the outside length of the bait container (1), the first bait section (7), and the bait therein (13) is exposed for immediate fishing. The second bait section (9) possesses an inner layer of biodegradable material (23), which degrades slowly after the flap (5) is pulled downwardly to expose the bait section (9) to the water.

Referring to Figure 4, the bait container (1 ) comprises a housing (1a) which houses the bait sections and the biodegradable material (not shown) therein, and which possesses a top portion (3), which by lips (3a) can be opened to supply live bait to the first bait section (7) shortly before deployment of the bait container (1). The top portion (3) may also be removable so as to allow for the insertion of bait or biodegradable material. Positioned on an outer surface of the bait container (1), the container possesses an opening (2) (in this embodiment, illustrated as being oval in shape) covered by an outer layer of biodegradable material (8). Once the bait container is placed in the water, the outer layer of biodegradable material (8) degrades gradually to allow access to the bait sections therein.

INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY
The present invention provides a useful bait container which allows for a gradual time release of bait during long-term fishing. The bait container is convenient, since the fisherman can optionally select between slow release of the bait for long term fishing, or immediate release of the bait, and provides a means to prolong the useful life of the bait during long-term fishing, ie. when fishing for crustaceans such as lobsters and crabs.