the Tailout July 2020 - Page 20

The author’s son Ryan with a handful of spot shrimp. Below, spot shrimp are the largest shrimp species in the north Pacific and their bodies can grow as large as nine inches. pause or stop then the shrimp can swim out but if you keep a steady pull then they are pinned to the bottom of the trap and can’t get out. It is well worth the money to use a long lead core rope and a pot puller. Some pot pullers are electric while others utilize a small gas engine. Regardless of which one you choose it only takes one time pulling up 300-feet of line with a 20-pound square shrimp trap by hand to realize that the pot puller is the most valuable part of shrimping. Again, if you stop pulling even for a second, the shrimp can easily escape and that is almost impossible not to do if pulling by hand. You don’t need a big boat to go shrimping but you do need a boat of some kind. Shrimp are found in deeper waters in bays and canals or sounds. A lifejacket is recommended, as you are leaning over the edge of the boat and reaching down to grab the pot. It always amazes me to see small boats overloaded with people while out shrimping. This is because most limits are “per person” so the more people you have on the boat the more limits that can be kept. The daily seasons are often small windows of time. One shrimp area that is popular in Washington is Hood Canal and when there is an open day you are allowed to drop pots between 9:00 AM and 1 p.m. All gear must be out of the water outside of those times. This means it is much like a “derby” style fishery where those that can drop the pots first get the most shrimp. Boat ramps are crowded for hours before the start time and then congested again after it closes. Most of the shrimp areas also offer beaches nearby that offer clamming and oysters and it’s well worth it to pull the gear, head for the local beach and collect some steamer clams or oysters while waiting for the boat ramp to clear out. When it comes to shrimp you need to realize they are fairly delicate and you need to take care of them properly. If the shrimp die with their heads on they can emit a toxin. Most agencies don’t require the head and you can pull the meaty tail off as you keep them and discard the heads. If you like to suck the juices out of the heads then fill a bucket with seawater and use an aerator pump. 18 SALMON THE TAILOUT & STEELHEAD JOURNAL 38