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Thread: Looking for suggestions for hung pot string

  1. #1
    Member jrogers's Avatar
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    Default Looking for suggestions for hung pot string

    I have a friend that called me this weekend about a hung up pot string. It is a set of Potbuilders gear with two pots on it. I first suggested that he let it go slack and try pulling it from different directions, and he had no luck. I went there myself and tried pulling it, and since he had tried all directions, I dried pulling it like a stuck anchor, and got all of the slack out of the line and got right over it, but it would not give. I cleated it to my front cleat and tried pulling it back backing away about as hard as I thought the rope would take, and it would not give.

    My guess is that it is not a stuck pot because I would have broke the pot with the amount of force I put on it, but that the sinking line got wrapped around something on the bottom. The pots are set at 450' depth. Rather than breaking it off, I tried to wrap up the spare line near the top and left the gear in the water for the week. I am hoping the tides will work it loose without much extra line on the bottom.

    Any suggestions on how to recover this gear, or techniques to get it free?
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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Yea been there and done that. Pulling from all directions may help but it is a crap shoot. Sometimes you can get them loose and sometimes not. I have lost 2 sets hung up and could do nothing but cut them loose. Two buoys are best, one on each end. But even then I still lose one set that way too. I tell people to look at the terrain on shore and imagine that upside down. Only thing I can think of is to grapple the other end of the set if you can and pull from there.

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    Try wide circles if you can, once in each direction. When you give up, lash it off to a cleat try pulling towards deep water.

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    Member Rob B's Avatar
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    I have a big grapple that I made to find my lost pots if ya want to try and snag the pots or line in between. Might work before you end up breaking the lead line. I'm in Eagle River but come into Anchorage each afternoon for work at the airport.
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    if its hung down good i doubt the grapple will do you any good even if you are lucky enough to catch the floating line(if there is any) and if you do then you might lose the grapple too by not being able to haul the whole mess up. I got into a big rockpile once, towed pulled from all sides, it was a 10 pot line hung in 800'(never should of set there) finally was able to get to the offshore buoy and hauled it all up till i had both lines in the hauler banjo tight. I didn't want to tear the davit off the boat so i tied it off to the stern cleat and gave the 300hp john deere the throttle and towed hard on it, rope didn't part and after a few tries it popped loose without parting the rope. I got lucky and got it all back, by the way the spot sucked for shrimp.
    I've had luck getting them loose by hauling till i'm straight up & down on the gear, then pulling with the hauler till the boat is leaning way over, then stand back make sure all is clear and pop the rope out of the hauler letting it kinda spring back, sometimes it works. (your results may vary if you don't have a hydraulic hauler to get it real tight)
    If anything maybe try making a stout grapple and clip it into the buoy line let it slide down to the hang(hopefully) and with a stronger line on the grapple maybe power it all out. Be careful when towing hard on the rope cause it stretches a lot and gets kinda spooky when you let off the throttle and the boat goes backwards with the stern 1/2 under water. FYI if its my floating rope it tests out at about 2700lbs.

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    Member Rob B's Avatar
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    Yeah I figured might work to catch the floating line then pull from that end instead of the buoy end. I've stuck a few lines before but never this bad.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob B View Post
    Yeah I figured might work to catch the floating line then pull from that end instead of the buoy end. I've stuck a few lines before but never this bad.
    especially tough to catch with only 50-100' of rope between pots in the deep water.

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    Member jrogers's Avatar
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    Good ideas, thanks. I have a grapple, but I agree that it will be easy to just lose my grapple doing this. Thanks for offer for your grapple Rob, but I don't want to risk anyone else's gear too and it sounds like I have a similar setup. I don't think I will try grappling with my lighter line. I have some old anchor rode, maybe I will use this on the grapple if I can find enough to string together (current 350' length is not enough). Any hard pulling I do will be from the front anchor cleat. I have heard enough stories about people swamping their boat not to try anything from the rear. I might try working it again from the top with more force, and if the gear breaks, then try the grapple after marking the spot right on top of the gear with the line tight. I was assuming that the floating line was much lower strength than the sinking, so maybe this will work.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrogers View Post
    Good ideas, thanks. I have a grapple, but I agree that it will be easy to just lose my grapple doing this. Thanks for offer for your grapple Rob, but I don't want to risk anyone else's gear too and it sounds like I have a similar setup. I don't think I will try grappling with my lighter line. I have some old anchor rode, maybe I will use this on the grapple if I can find enough to string together (current 350' length is not enough). Any hard pulling I do will be from the front anchor cleat. I have heard enough stories about people swamping their boat not to try anything from the rear. I might try working it again from the top with more force, and if the gear breaks, then try the grapple after marking the spot right on top of the gear with the line tight. I was assuming that the floating line was much lower strength than the sinking, so maybe this will work.
    If its a floating line i made the dropper line is 1/4" instead of the 5/16" main line but who really knows what part is hung ?? Could be where the sink line ties into the float line.

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    Member jrogers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by potbuilder View Post
    If its a floating line i made the dropper line is 1/4" instead of the 5/16" main line but who really knows what part is hung ?? Could be where the sink line ties into the float line.

    Just to clarify, it is a gearset you sold this spring. He originally bought a 2 pot and 3 pot string from you, and exchanged the three for a two pot string when the 4 pot reg came out. I am not sure what you mean by the 'dropper' line, maybe the line from the mainline to the pot? I am pretty sure it is not a pot hung up, because I would have broken it at this point.
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    Member JR2's Avatar
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    Tie it off to your anchor cleat and spend the weekend tied to it.. The tide action might just work it loose.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JR2 View Post
    Tie it off to your anchor cleat and spend the weekend tied to it.. The tide action might just work it loose.
    Interesting idea. A variant of this would be to pull as much slack line as possible and put a secondary buoy on it at low tide, which should keep upward pressure on it during the tide cycles. What do you think? Any better ideas as to how to work it free?
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrogers View Post
    Just to clarify, it is a gearset you sold this spring. He originally bought a 2 pot and 3 pot string from you, and exchanged the three for a two pot string when the 4 pot reg came out. I am not sure what you mean by the 'dropper' line, maybe the line from the mainline to the pot? I am pretty sure it is not a pot hung up, because I would have broken it at this point.
    yes dropper is the 1/4" line spliced into the mainline to the pot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jrogers View Post
    Interesting idea. A variant of this would be to pull as much slack line as possible and put a secondary buoy on it at low tide, which should keep upward pressure on it during the tide cycles. What do you think? Any better ideas as to how to work it free?
    Good idea !! I'd put 3 or 4 buoys spaced out on the line at low tide then you'll have pressure on the line at all stages of the tide. you can use a alpine butterfly knot to put loops the the buoyline, they should come out easily once your done with all the buoys.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jrogers View Post
    Interesting idea. A variant of this would be to pull as much slack line as possible and put a secondary buoy on it at low tide, which should keep upward pressure on it during the tide cycles.
    That is what I did last summer and it worked.

  16. #16
    Member jrogers's Avatar
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    The pot owner was directed to this thread by me and appreciated all of the advice. He could not take it any longer, and hit the 5:30 tunnel tonight to try again. I just spoke with him and he was successful at retrieving them by trying and pulling them from different directions, and eventually pulled them out into the deep water and retrieved all of his gear unharmed, returning on the 10:00 tunnel. I am really glad I did not heave on them hard this weekend. Sometimes a little persistence pays off. Thanks for all of the advice and suggestions.
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    Member Rob B's Avatar
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    Great News
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    Very good !!! if the pots got damaged tell him i can usually repair/fix them up.

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  19. #19
    Member jrogers's Avatar
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    I will let him know, but it sounded like all of the gear was fine once the line popped free.
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