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Thread: This is how I shrimp. Help and Hints

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    Member Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default This is how I shrimp. Help and Hints

    Thought I'd start a place for people to post their hints, help and techniques.

    Hillary moved to NY and I moved out.


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    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    Not really a hint at how to find shrimp, but I believe its better to find a spot that isn’t in a high traffic area. Trying to retrieve pots while dealing with the wakes of a constant stream of boats going right past you is a real PITA.

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    Definitely not much traffic here! Haha.

    I have questions too. Is it better to have two strings of two or one string of four pots?
    How much weight is needed in the pots? Do you really need an anchor on the first pot?
    How do you drop? Do you try to adjust for current? How long do you soak the pots? Does this depend on depth or area?


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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by overtime View Post
    Definitely not much traffic here! Haha.

    I have questions too. Is it better to have two strings of two or one string of four pots?
    How much weight is needed in the pots? Do you really need an anchor on the first pot?
    How do you drop? Do you try to adjust for current? How long do you soak the pots? Does this depend on depth or area?


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    I run four pots on a single line, spaced out quite a ways from each other.

    I have ladner (round) pots and do not weight them - never an issue with drifting/etc. I don’t place an anchor at the end, either.

    I drop the pots under power at about a 2kt idle. I don’t give much thought to current. That said, I usually set uphill - deepest pot first, then towards shore with at least an extra 100’ of buoy line.

    I soak three to four hours at a minimum, but find that 8-12 hours is considerably better. I’ve soaked for a couple weeks before as well. My longest soak this summer was 10 days, and it was about comparable to a four hour soak as far as shrimp numbers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by overtime View Post
    Definitely not much traffic here! Haha.

    I have questions too. Is it better to have two strings of two or one string of four pots?
    How much weight is needed in the pots? Do you really need an anchor on the first pot?
    How do you drop? Do you try to adjust for current? How long do you soak the pots? Does this depend on depth or area?


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    Is it better to have two strings of two or one string of four pots?
    i'd say 90% of my customers are fishing 2 2pot strings

    How much weight is needed in the pots?
    can't make them to heavy ! more depends what you have to haul them back with, small hauler lighter weight, bigger hauler load'em up !

    Do you really need an anchor on the first pot
    anchors don't catch shrimp, put the weight in the pots

    How do you drop? Do you try to adjust for current?
    fast idle ahead and set up current enough so they don't sail to far and end up in the deep. Remember 20% more buoy line than depth.

    How long do you soak the pots?
    I'd say most of my customers are doing 4-6 hours. You only catch whats around the pot then it slows way down so why waste time and only gives the 8 leggers more time to find the lunch counter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daveinthebush View Post
    Thought I'd start a place for people to post their hints, help and techniques.
    Thanks for starting this Dave ! been up 3 weeks and i just saw it.

    Alaska Shrimp Pots

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    Member bkmail's Avatar
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    2 strings of 2.
    Railroad plate in each of Steve's folding pots along with 2 rebar all zip tied to the floor.
    No anchor
    Drop at deepest spot and set slowly motoring uphill, never paid much attention to current.
    Typically soak for 2 hours minimum, often best pots are pulled after an overnight soak.
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    Thanks for all the advice. Hopefully more people chime in and share their experience.
    I will be out this weekend finally!


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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    For the people running two strings of 2, why? Is that less strain on your puller? I'm on a slow vessel, but we've got strong hydraulics, so pulling up a long sets isn't an issue. I could see the advantage of running two strings if prospecting for new areas, but when I know I'm in a productive spot, I don't see a downside to running one longer line. I space them out quite a lot, and the pots in the middle catch just as many as those on the ends. Anyhow, just curious as to why you guys do that. Heck, in the one year I ran commercial gear (quite a long time ago), I would run strings of 10 pots - and my parents used to run 15-25 pots on a line back in the 70s.

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    Member KantishnaCabin's Avatar
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    If I had a stronger puller I would definitely only run one string of four pots. It's a whole lot less work to pull one set than two.

    Also, I have noticed a big difference in my catch rates when I pre-soak my pellets in a mixture of shrimp fuel and herring oil. I have a bucket that mix up my bait in to let it soak overnight before I head out. I have also tried chopping up old unused bait and adding it to the mix but that didn't have as large of an effect.

  11. #11
    Member Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Because I have a Honda pot puller, I start with a 4 pot string in the spring. I run from maybe 450' and head towards shore until I run out of line at about 250-300'. When I pull I see what depth had the most success, I then target that depth. I always suspend my bait canisters in the center of the pot. If the shrimp are going to get the food I want them to work for it. I use mainly pellets for bait. I find that a 2/3 full container works but expect the bait to work best after 24 hours and it starts to break down. So, for the first drop I add 1-2 cans of cat food, seafood dinner or salmon. Since I shrimp alone, I usually set what ever direction the boat is moving with the wind or the tide. I have even set straight down, lowering the set slowly until I think the first pot hits then moving slowly putting slight pressure on the string to lay it down.

    Round pots are nice to be able to stack them and I have had good success with them. I like square too but I modify them. I run the pull rope on the lead two corners so it pulls straight up instead of an angle. I also close off the far door so the shrimp can't fall out that end. 1/4" mesh across that end helps.

    My best producing square pot is 3'x3'x6" high. Only 3 doors on the front end, then a wall with 2 openings at the bottom leading to the feeding chamber. The removal door is on the end and I have an oversized bait chamber for 2 cans of bait. I have pulled 3 gallons out of this pot in a single pull.

    Soaking time: Around Port Valdez, 2 days is average. More and I think the shrimp get bored and start leaving. 70-90 per pull is average, best is 4 gallons. My secret spot: I pull at 8 a.m., 1-2 p.m. and just before I anchor up for the night. I usually leave with 700-900 shrimp for 2 days.

    More latter, the gear is already stored for the winter.

    Hillary moved to NY and I moved out.


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    Member bkmail's Avatar
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    Two strings cause we enjoy shriming and prospecting. Hate to "put all my eggs in one basket" sort of mentality I suppose.
    Pulling strings, setting gear, popping heads, is all part of the pws fun. I see no reason to pull faster or hurry through it, it's relaxing and enjoyable so why not stretch it out to 2 or even 4 strings.
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  13. #13

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    I see benefits of both strings. I have only done 4 at a time but I have no reason I can’t do two strings. I’ll try it out.

    What about sea lice? Are they usually in mud ? If you’re in the lice should you move? It seems if you do a long soak in a lice area they’d eat a lot of shrimp in the pots.




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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by overtime View Post
    What about sea lice? Are they usually in mud ? If you’re in the lice should you move? It seems if you do a long soak in a lice area they’d eat a lot of shrimp in the pots.
    If anything, lice seem to be helpful on relatively short sets, as they break up the bait and spread more scent in the water. I've never experienced lice eating the shrimp. Once the bait jar is empty, they seem to either remain in the jar or move on, causing no damage to the shrimp. I've usually aimed for rocky bottoms, but this year I did very well on a muddy bottom adjacent to a steep, rocky area, so I've changed my thinking on this. I still aim for steep and deep, but muddy, lice-ridden bottoms can certain produce.

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    Member Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Sea lice are interesting. There are times that the bait jars are full of them. Then again, deeper, I don't seem to get much of them at all. What I hate the most are octopus. They will clean out a whole pot. But on the other side of the coin, I love eating them. So kind of a love hate relationship. Interesting, I used to get a lot of red starfish. They seem to have disappeared all together and the octopus are getting bigger. It seems that the hairy snails have gone away too. I would love to see 500' down what really goes on down there.

    Hillary moved to NY and I moved out.


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    I am still waiting to catch an octopus!


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    Member KantishnaCabin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by overtime View Post
    I am still waiting to catch an octopus!


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    Haha, I wrestled two of them into submission this year. Both of them were on the small side, maybe 18' long. When I brought them home my wife became upset. She watched some documentary on Octopus that was all about their intelligence and how they like puzzles. I asked her if they were so smart and good with puzzles how did my dumb ass catch them. Man they were tasty though, in the end I had to promise the wife that future Octopi will be humanly returned to the sea... I'm pretty sure that putting them on my halibut hook will count. After all, they came from pretty far down there, I'm just helping them get back to the right depth.

  18. #18
    Member Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KantishnaCabin View Post
    Haha, I wrestled two of them into submission this year. Both of them were on the small side, maybe 18' long. When I brought them home my wife became upset. She watched some documentary on Octopus that was all about their intelligence and how they like puzzles. I asked her if they were so smart and good with puzzles how did my dumb ass catch them. Man they were tasty though, in the end I had to promise the wife that future Octopi will be humanly returned to the sea... I'm pretty sure that putting them on my halibut hook will count. After all, they came from pretty far down there, I'm just helping them get back to the right depth.
    Actually they are very intelligent. They change color if you put them in a white bucket or cooler. They can fit anywhere they can get their beak thru too so don't let them wander into places you will have to take apart latter to get too. And yes they are tasty.

    Hillary moved to NY and I moved out.


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    New to shrimping, but had a modicum of success while trolling for Silvers in Valdez. Set 4 strings (have an Ace line hauler and don't want to overload with the massive amounts of shrimp I'm pulling, haha) to cover more area, filled bait jars about half full after soaking it with shrimp fuel for 48 hours and put in center of Ladner round pots. Pulled first thing in the morning and last thing at night, set shallow at night and deeper in the morning. Caught one octopus (called them "tacos" in Hawaii) whose belly when cut open looked like a huge shrimp salad--it paid the ultimate price for its misdeeds and now resides in the freezer, waiting the appropriate day when I want some taco salad. A "trick" I learned while diving in Hawaii (I was stationed there my final 3 years) was to grab them around the "neck" and squeeze as hard as I could for as long as I could--that's how I kept them from getting in to places I didn't want them to go--of course, they tried to return the favor but my arms were longer. Question--what's the consensus on female shrimp with eggs? Keep, or release?

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by overtime View Post
    I am still waiting to catch an octopus!


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    Wish you had been with me last 2 days. Caught 2 in pots and 2 on rod and reel. Smallest was about like Kantishna's and the largest was 51"...other 2 were 30". The big one hit then grabbed hold of a rock or something solid. Ever try to pry one of those suckers off the bottom. Thought I was snagged but kept feeling some give. Gave it a rest and slack for 10 minutes..(good thing it was dead low tide with no drift component)..then hit it again and up she comes. Shrimping was pretty good...at least by my standards. After processing, 3 sets yielded a overflowing 5 gallon bucket of tails.

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