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Fish, Fur, Fowl: Notes from a novice shrimper
Once again we have come to a time where there is just so much going on fishing-wise it is hard to pick and choose. With shrimp, ling cod and halibut seasons open, an angler can have quite a full day of fishing.
I have been concentrating on shrimping the last few times we have been on the boat. This is the first year that I have gone out for them and now I wonder why I waited so long. Spot shrimp are huge.
Shrimping is something you should do some research on before heading out as it could get costly. Here are some things that I learned from more seasoned shrimp anglers.
First of all, we have some currents to deal with so make sure to weight your pots. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 to 35 pounds per pot. I use four red bricks in each corner and it has worked great.
Next you are going to want to make sure you have enough floatation on your lines. I used two standard shrimp buoys and found they got swept under during a big tide shift, so I added a third buoy.
A lot of the markers I saw out on the water were the big yellow bumpers used to protect boats at the dock.
The line you choose should be of sufficient length, around 300 to 400 feet, and sufficient in strength to retrieve your traps.
Be sure to have line weights to keep your rope out of fellow boaters ways and be sure to check your depth before dropping your pots.
One thing I learned about the line is to have it spooled up on a hose reel. Using this tactic keeps the lines out of the way and makes it easier to set your traps.
Be sure to connect your lines end-to-end so you never forget to attach your float before the end goes into the water.
Now that you have some good-to-have information, where do you go? There are a couple of areas that are close by.
Biz Point, just north of Deception Pass, is a very popular spot. Look to set your pots in 250 feet or more of water.
Rocky Point off Camano Island is another hot spot and offers some very protected water when the weather elsewhere does not want to cooperate.
When the weather is real good you can head to the south end of Lopez Island for another hot spot.
I will say this, being new to the whole thing, I was amazed at how big the shrimp are. There are smaller species but these spot shrimp are huge and great eating. Just boil or steam them for about 3 to 5 minutes. They are also fine on the barbecue.
One thing that is a great to have but not a requirement is a pot puller. If you are the only one in the boat pulling a pair of weighted 250 to 300 foot lines, you are going to get tired quickly. There are numerous versions out there and prices vary just as much. I did see a few home-made versions of pot pullers that worked pretty well, too.
Now that I have the general techniques down I think the next time out I will combine a shrimp and either ling cod or halibut trip so I can catch a very nice dinner for the family.
Until next time be sure to send me your comments pictures and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.