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May 2000 Speaker at South Sound chapter

Shrimping in Hood Canal

Bob & Rick Caughie, owners of Hood Canal's Discount tackle 

This month South Sound Chapter of Puget Sound Anglers had the pleasure of having Bob & Rick Caughie, owners of Hood Canal's Discount tackle at 14640 E. Hiway 106 Belfair WA as our speakers. Their phone is 360-275-2284,  their e-mail is portcahe@hctc.com    The subject covered was shrimping in Hood Canal.

Bob has kept records of shrimping success/ failure for 15 years, and has made some decisions as to pot configuration, set depth & bait that he passed on to us. It may be a important factor for new scrimpers to thoroughly read the current fishing regulations as to requirements.

POT  A round pot is preferable & seems to be a factor in attracting shrimp. He indicated that the hexagonal would be his second choice, with the square one being the last. He did note that with today's limits, that the square would probably still if in the right place, limit you out. Entry cone angles also seem to make a difference.

It was this writers observance that their pots are very well made, well thought out, & obviously made by shrimp fishermen. It would be very hard to describe them with words, so I suggest you make a drive to Hood Canal & take a look yourself if you have more than a passing interest in shrimping.

FLOAT & LINE  Floats for shrimp are required to be yellow in color. Bob has settled on a float design that consists of the float on a steel shaft threw it's center, protruding about 3' above & 2' below the actual float. The float should be attached with the square or non-rounded end down for more floatation. The top section can be used to tie your identifying personal flag. It also has a small arm about 6" long protruding out & up right at the top of the float for winding the line onto. The bottom section also has a similar arm protruding out & down for the same purpose. There is a ring in the bottom for attaching the line.

The line usually is 1/4" yellow nylon, with enough footage to be long enough for your expected deepest water plus 100'. This line could be from 400' plus, depending where you scrimp & the water conditions.

With this float system, you can wind all of your line onto these arms on the float system. Then when you drop your pot, you do not need to throw all the excess line in the water, just don't unwind any more than you need off the float unit, tie it off on the bottom, and your excess line is attached to your float.

LINE WEIGHT  A snap on line weight is required by the WDFWL to keep the excess line from floating & endangering other boaters props. It also serves a shock absorber for the pot. When letting the pot down, do not just throw the whole thing in the water, as the line surely will tangle on it's way down, & you will have lost the pot. Pay it out rapidly until you feel it hit the bottom, then if in a calm day & not to much run-off add another 6 to 7 arm lengths (36'-42') before you attach the line weight of 12 oz. This 12 oz would be a minimum for a calm day. For a windier & or higher run-off day add another 4 to 5 arm length pulls before you put on the line weight of up to maybe a preferable 32 oz weight.

What this line weight does, again, it acts as a shock absorber between the float & the pot. If the pot is jerked around by the float, which is moved by the waves, the shrimp may be discouraged from entering the pot.

BAIT  Bait can be almost anything that has a fish smell to it. He however suggests when you search for bait, that you try not to find anything that has shrimp in it, as shrimp apparently are not cannibalistic.

The most commonly used bait is fish flavored cat food in cans. However any fish offcast will work, as any oily fish, salmon roe, even fish fertilizer. His suggestion is to freeze the bait, then take it out of the freezer & place it in a cooler so that it will only be slightly thawed at the time the pot enters the water. His theory here is that the scent trail should be released on the bottom & not wasted in the water column going down.

If using cans of cat food, there should be many large holes punched in the sides of the cans for the scent to escape from. You can make a punch out of 3/4" steel or if any of you happen to have the old can & bottle opener that pierces a triangle in the can, this would probably work also.

DEPTH  In a new area to you, it may be best to set your pots out in different water depths, depending on the number you have, starting at maybe 120' and out to 300'. In about an hour pull them & then reset at the depth that you caught the most at on the first pull. Get to know your area's bottom structure & when you find a good area, mark it by bearings off shore locations or GPS.

PULLING  If you pull many pots, you will soon realize the benefits of a power pot puller. You can buy commercially made ones either electric or gas driven, or homemade if you are handy & inventive. When using a puller, there should be a pivoting boom mounted to the boat, using a roller type block on the outer end. Pullers will have a low speed caspian spool which you will wrap the line a couple of wraps on. By pulling & tightening up slightly on the line over this spool, with the puller under power, the line will be pulled in.

The secret of pulling is to pull in a slow steady motion, which seems to use the force of the water to hold the scrimp against the pot's bottom, otherwise the shrimp if given a pull & stop motion, will sneak out thru the holes in the mesh.

Again Bob & Rick Caughie suggest you record your shrimping success, areas & depths, even days & tides.

Copyright 2004-2005 LeeRoy Wisner  All Rights Reserved

Last Updated 06-09-2000
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