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Thread: Can You Solve the Mystery of the Vanishing Crustaceans?

  1. #1
    Member AK_Kid's Avatar
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    Default Can You Solve the Mystery of the Vanishing Crustaceans?

    Last weekend, the wife and I dropped a five-pot string in about 400 feet near a favorite anchorage in Port Nellie Juan. Because there was a pretty strong current, we simply released the anchored line slowly, allowing no slack to gather, until the entire 600 feet of line was paid out. The bottom was mud and pebbles, and we were approximately 200 yards from a ledge plunging into deeper water. Despite the odd conditions, we have done well at that spot in the past.

    We observed another boat approximately 300 yards distant, apparently trolling for silvers near shore. They appeared preoccupied, so we ignored them, dropping our set and heading into our nearby anchorage for the night. Perhaps an hour later, we were joined by that vessel and then one other boat.

    Morning came, and the vessel we had seen trolling the evening before headed out of the anchorage. Ten minutes later, the second boat pulled anchor and headed out. Twenty minutes after that, our anchor was up, and the wife and I were headed toward our set, expecting a gallon to a gallon and a half per pot.

    As we approached our drop location, we observed each of the two other boats nearby. The trollers appeared to be back at it, but they were only 150 yards away from our pots. The other vessel was drift fishing for rockfish about 300 yards away. Someone had dropped a string of pots about 75 yards away from ours.

    We retrieved our buoy and began to take up line. Up came the first pot, containing about a gallon of good looking four spots. Relief! This was going to be a decent haul.

    Then up came the second pot – completely empty. Eh? My initial assumption was that the line must somehow have tangled, keeping this pot off of bottom.

    Up came the third pot – another gallon of four spots. My theory seemed to be confirmed, until…

    Up came the fourth pot – completely empty. I mean, not one shrimp, snail, sea star, or sculpin. Absolutely empty.

    Up came the fifth pot – one final gallon of four spots.

    Needless to say, I am a bit perplexed. Is it possible that the manner in which I set the pots resulted in every other pot getting tangled and coming up completely empty? Is it more likely that while I was sipping a beer and taking in the views, some other mariner went to the trouble to pull my entire set, empty pots two and four, and then reset it? Would they not have had to do it in the a.m., since the pots were totally empty when I retrieved them? I am baffled.

    Who can help me solve the Mystery of the Vanishing Crustaceans?

  2. #2

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    Octopus. ___--

  3. #3
    Member Rod in Wasilla's Avatar
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    Could be an octopus. But I typically see some evidence that they were there, like empty shells... Don't know what else it could be though. Maybe Steve (Potbuilder) or others with more experience than me will chime in.
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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    According to the AlGore theory, massive quantities of CO2 produced by man is being absorbed into the ocean creating acidic conditions that is killing off the critters with shells. They claim that about 1/3 of the CO2 is going into the water. You were short about 40% of your take. Coincidence? I think not. Clearly you've been a victim of global warming.

    Back to reality... It's easy to be suspicious of other people pulling and emptying your pots. However, theives are pretty much an all or nothing mentality. No one would pull your string and empty every other pot, then put it back. That leaves either a mechanical failure, natural obstruction on the bottom, or one of a trillion other sea creatures cleaned you out.
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    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    Definately Black Oil Aliens!!!!!
    Or it could be a localized time dilation in the space time continuum.

  6. #6
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    Default Pot Spacing - Sometimes You Win - Sometimes You Lose

    I have a spot where you can get over 100 per pot - but 40 feet off target
    and you get ZIP - I have seen it happen a few times. I would say the area
    your pots dropped might be like that. Thats why I don't like putting to many pots on one string. 2ea - strings and one single exploring pot has always worked best for me. Sometimes that one single exploration pot finds a gold mine. Besides if you place all your pots on one string - there are very few people out there that have a puller capable of pulling them all at once.
    How stupid is it to be wasting tons of salmon and halibut as bycatch in the Bering Sea and then have the coastal villages hollaring they have no food? It's got to stop!

  7. #7
    Member 2dawgs's Avatar
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    Well I think you mentioned a strong current, which could (maybe) wash out any small shell remnants left by some friendly ocopi. Add to that the Al Gore theory (acid) + the 40' rule, and there's yer answer. I doubt it was the black oil aliens sneakin through the worm hole thingy, they usually just empty the (I just know I filled the tanks) fuel tanks.

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    Sponsor potbuilder's Avatar
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    How far apart do you have your pots spaced? My bet would be the bottom your fishing on is "streaky" mud & gravel combo so i'd say your some of your pots landed on the "meat" while other were on dead bottom.

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    Member AK_Kid's Avatar
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    That makes sense, Potbuilder. We space our pots about 30 feet apart.

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    Default Just happens

    Yes it just happens that way. Sometimes in a string 2-4 pots do well and one appears with very few. Where I am, it just might have landed on a rock and be up several feet off the actual bottom. For some reason, certain pots in a string usually of fish the others.

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    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    I was scuba diving that day and got really hungry and needed a snack


    Sorry guys i dont scuba nor do i have any idea about how to shrimp. I just wanted to through a laugh out there. I do know spoiledone from here hooked me up with about 20lbs of spots while my mom was in the hospital and when she got out we sure enjoyed snarfing on them
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK_Kid View Post
    That makes sense, Potbuilder. We space our pots about 30 feet apart.
    with your pots that close together your fishing on top of yourself, by the time they land on the bottom i'd bet they are more like 15' apart, at least double the space between pots you might be suprised by the results

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  13. #13
    Member AK_Kid's Avatar
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    Thanks for the good advice.

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