the Tailout July 2020 - Page 19

to avoid when females are carrying eggs. The spawning of spot shrimp is something unique as well as they are “hermaphrodites” which means they are born males and at about two years of age they transform to females. Living usually four or five years, they grow to 9 inches in length not including tentacles. Spot shrimp seek deep areas and are often fished in waters deeper than 200 feet and down to over 400 feet. They stay close to the bottom and feed on just about anything that is rotting. This helps keep the ocean clean with shrimp being the “garbage can” of the ocean and yet somehow they taste so wonderful. Some of the most popular baits are canned cat food mixed with chub mackerel and “shrimp pellets” which are usually fish meal byproducts. Mix in some shrimp attractant which again is usually the byproduct of a bait company’s products such as salmon egg “juice”, ground baitfish oils and such. Mixed all of the ingredients in a large bucket to the consistency of peanut butter. You know you have a good bait if you let it soak in a container and it’s half gone in an hour. Bait is truly the key to packing your pots with spot shrimp. A few years ago I was just learning how to catch shrimp and used the old standby of canned cat food with holes punched in the cans. Catching a few shrimp, it felt good to know I had it figured out, until the boat next to mine pulled up a nearly full trap. The research began and soon I confirmed you need a “leaching” bait that spreads out with the tides and attracts the shrimp. They really do like nasty, smelly, and rotten baits as long as you keep the pots well baited. Most let the pot soak for up to an hour and then pull it to collect what is inside and then re-bait. Depending on where you shrimp the pot dimensions might alter but most require a 1-inch mesh. This means that smaller shrimp, which are often the males, can come and go freely. One “tip” that increases your catch is to never stop pulling up on the pot when you are retrieving it. If you Caring, Cooking Your Shrimp One of the best ways to keep your shrimp fresh until you get home is to make an ice water slush. This works if you want to keep the heads on for a few hours or if you have a long wait to get home, such as going clamming afterwards and just keeping the shrimp tails fresh. Simply take a bag of ice, break it apart and add seawater. This is an extremely cold solution and keeps the shrimp fresh for hours. When you get home package them in dinner size portions and freeze them. They freeze well with the shell on and will keep for months in the freezer. INGREDIENTS 1 cup Panko crumbs 1/2 cup coconut flakes 2 tbs coconut oil 12 peeled spot shrimp (tails on) DIRECTIONS Mix Panko and coconut flakes in a one gallon resealable bag. Rinse shrimp and place in bag while wet. Toss to coat shrimp in Panko and coconut flakes. Pan fry in coconut oil about 3 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy! JASON BROOKS 17