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Thread: Dragging for lost gear

  1. #1

    Default Dragging for lost gear

    Anybody have experience dragging for lost gear? I made a set (shrimp) in PWS late Sunday night, commercial boys were all over the next morning ... funny how my buoy disappeared. I'm assuming they sank it, but I know exactly where it is.

    Anybody have experience dragging for lost gear? What set up did you use? I have a lot of line I can employ, but don't want to spend hundreds of $ in recovery gear on a chance I may get my hundreds of $ of shrimping gear back. Thanks.

  2. #2

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    Even in shallow water, dragging for anything is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Helping an oyster farmer friend grapple for lost nets in 25' of water, I've spent hours dragging back and forth trying to hook it. In deep water, the hook is never where you think it is on the bottom and running anything resembling a straight line is next to impossible.

    Hate to say it, but your gear is GONE. Only chance would be if you're using floating line, a diver might be able to spot a belly if the current hasn't laid it out flat on the bottom. But with shrimp gear, I assume we're talking 200-plus which is too deep for a diver. Sorry for your loss!

  3. #3
    Member jrogers's Avatar
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    Yea, I guess I can say I have experience. Just not success. I have lost gear over the years, and I have a grappling hook set up with some chain that I have dragged around for my gear. In both cases, I know with GPS coordinates where the gear is at, and in both cases I have not been able to recover it. The other way to try would be to drag your anchor through it instead of buying a grappling hook with a low chance of success.

    The only success I am aware of is a friend of mine was pulling his gear last year and brought up two extra pots that looked like they had been down there a couple of years. No marking on it, so he kept it, which seemed reasonable to me.
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    Sponsor potbuilder's Avatar
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    I used to grapple my "flat" lobster gear up all the time, i made a grapple out of a 3ft tall fire extingusher filled it with lead(2 guys to pick it up) and welded prongs all around the bottom of it to snag the rope. It worked in 600ft but when you caught a 40 pot line(1 mile of 5/8" rope) of lobster gear in the middle you needed a ballsy hauler to pull up that mess.
    The only way you might get your gear back is to set another line of pots across the line you think is down there, in other words if you originally set your gear north south set east west this time and maybe with a lot of luck you'll snag it, but you still have to have enough hauler to get it back up to the surface.
    Oh by the way they didn't sink your buoy they just cut it off.

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  5. #5
    Member Alaskanmutt's Avatar
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    Default Sounds like a lot of people

    lost gear last week. A friend lost gear in the south side of Dangerous passage.

    But in his case I think he set too deep and floated it.
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    Member breausaw's Avatar
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    Funny you should ask because we lost 3 pots on a string two weeks ago. We made the mistake of setting along a steep slope instead of uphill; the pots must have drifted off into the abyss. Made a 20# grappling hook from 5/8 rebar and tried to hook it from different angels with 1000 feet of line attach, no luck. The slope dropped down to about 1400 feet so know telling were they ended up.
    Good luck, and if you want to try my grappling hook itís yours.
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  7. #7
    Member jrogers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by potbuilder View Post
    ...Oh by the way they didn't sink your buoy they just cut it off.

    Steve,

    Can you expand on this a bit? I was getting ready to come to the defense of commercial fishermen, as I have several friends that fish commercially, and they sport fish as well, so it is not like they all hate all sport fishermen. Why would they cut off gear, is it because it is in the area that there is a commercial opener? How can we find out where this is, or how to avoid this situation. To me, this would mean it would not be a good idea to set around Ester, or later in the year down by Main Bay. Can you give us some general direction so that we can avoid this?

    Thanks
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    Sponsor potbuilder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrogers View Post
    Steve,

    Can you expand on this a bit? I was getting ready to come to the defense of commercial fishermen, as I have several friends that fish commercially, and they sport fish as well, so it is not like they all hate all sport fishermen. Why would they cut off gear, is it because it is in the area that there is a commercial opener? How can we find out where this is, or how to avoid this situation. To me, this would mean it would not be a good idea to set around Ester, or later in the year down by Main Bay. Can you give us some general direction so that we can avoid this?

    Thanks
    J,
    powder money posted this link in another thread
    Announcements can be found here http://csfish.adfg.state.ak.us/newsr...t.php?dist=CDV
    You can also pick up a copy of the gillnet openings at the whittier harbor masters office, just ask and they will give you a printed copy.
    I've been on both sides of the fishing fence for like 40 years, same thing back east with the sport fishing guys blaming the gillnetters for catching all the fish but when the sports were offshore tuna fishing they sure liked to hang on lobster buoys all night instead of anchoring or drifting.
    When a gillnet wraps a buoy (of any kind, set net, crab pot shrimp pot) the net will fold up around the buoy, the buoy sinks from the strain, and then it hangs up on the leadline of the net so when we try to pull our net back up all it does is tear the netting from the leadline from being hung around the buoy, it causes lots of damage to the net in fact the fisherman may be out of business till he can get another net. When we have lots of boats inside of main bay any buoy in the way has no chance of being there after the opener. We can tow our nets a bit but not enough to avoid a pot buoy and even if we can get it out of the way their are so many boat in there that there is no room to tow because then you will be towing your net in front of a few other guys so not only is the tower not catching any fish so are the guys he's towing in front of, sort of like a guy fishing in the same hole your trying to fish on a river.If anybody wants more of a explaination on this just stop over at the potbarn and i'll try to explain it better.

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  9. #9

    Thumbs down Back to dragging for Gear LOL

    I set 600' of rope in 675 feet of water, my buddy who was reading off the depth finder didn't tell me it was blinking. Hit MOB
    Well tryed 3 different times, one with pot grabble weighted down and trolling, once with the anchor both for over 2 hours each and tryed to set my new pots as close as I thought I could get. With 800' of line.
    And nothing.
    So with a great amount of luck and some fancy gear chances range from nope to 1 in a million.
    LOL
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  10. #10
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    Default BP may be able to help

    I really am sorry you guys lost your pots... I lost one this season and one last season.

    I heard BP has some pros that may be able to help recover your pots from the deep. Maybe after they are done with their robots they can send them up here to help us all get our pots back... done meaning sometime next year.

  11. #11
    Supporting Member bullbuster's Avatar
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    I have helped grapple lost gear with success. I think the secret is not to drag straight lines, but to circle repeatedly.
    Everytime this worked, there was a float still attached to the line, holding it up.
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  12. #12
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default Long post on the "Chain Drag"

    We have had some success dragging for lost gear of all kinds over the years but, it can cost some time and patience to pull it off. I should also say that when you get down to depths of 100 fathoms it gets pretty tough to pull off, so is this Shrimp gear, down that deep, and is it just a few pots with light line between them?

    You might be able to get it with a Chain Drag, this is the recipe for a heavy duty one but down deep like that it is "The Way", go lighter at risk of just rinsing your drag for a few hours before giving up on your gear.

    Try this if you have some scraps around and a welder or welding buddy:
    The key is getting something that will stay on the bottom and keep digging into the bottom vs. bouncing along while you drag for something laying hard on bottom. It's harder than you might think with all the currents etc.
    Take a length, about six feet long of real heavy chain, like old fishing vessel anchor chain found around shipyards or canneries in piles somewhere in the old metal pile it should be free, (the kind where each link is 4-6 inch long or so)
    then have 6 inch spikes (old rebar or something similar) welded onto both sides (the outside) of the oval of each link leaning forward at a steep angle. Those are to grab the line or pots if you can visualize "making a heavy piece of chain into a very grabby gear drag." As the chain lays on the bottom and rolls side to side it has a spike digging into the bottom every foot or so.

    Hope that makes some sense, then go up current from the area the lost gear is laying, drop the chain with at least 3-4 times the depth in line so that chain is on the bottom for sure, (maybe even attach a cannon ball to the front end of the chain to keep it down, then either let yourself drift down over where the gear is or drive it Very Slowly over the gear, then pull it up, go back up current of the spot, and try again !!! or maybe

    Hoping you are only pulling a few Shrimp pots up so it may come easy if you get it but if you are trying for a long string with anchors on each end you need to have a good hauler and be ready to buoy off one end of what you bring up, haul the other half then come back for the buoyed off end.

    Hope that's not too crazy for what you have to haul with but you could try lighter chain and spikes if your gear and boat are smaller. Even with a little dungy hauler you could pull that off but the lighter you go it is way hard to get it to stay on bottom as you drag. This is a gear drag sized for stuff in 80 fathoms or more.

    Good luck, this really does work I promise but it takes some patience and if deep it can be tough to get on the bottom if towing, helps if you have a gps tracking device so you know when you are drifting over the lost gear, etc.

    Hope you get it, let us know if you give it a try.
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

  13. #13
    Sponsor potbuilder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kodiakrain View Post
    We have had some success dragging for lost gear of all kinds over the years but, it can cost some time and patience to pull it off. I should also say that when you get down to depths of 100 fathoms it gets pretty tough to pull off, so is this Shrimp gear, down that deep, and is it just a few pots with light line between them?

    You might be able to get it with a Chain Drag, this is the recipe for a heavy duty one but down deep like that it is "The Way", go lighter at risk of just rinsing your drag for a few hours before giving up on your gear.

    Try this if you have some scraps around and a welder or welding buddy:
    The key is getting something that will stay on the bottom and keep digging into the bottom vs. bouncing along while you drag for something laying hard on bottom. It's harder than you might think with all the currents etc.
    Take a length, about six feet long of real heavy chain, like old fishing vessel anchor chain found around shipyards or canneries in piles somewhere in the old metal pile it should be free, (the kind where each link is 4-6 inch long or so)
    then have 6 inch spikes (old rebar or something similar) welded onto both sides (the outside) of the oval of each link leaning forward at a steep angle. Those are to grab the line or pots if you can visualize "making a heavy piece of chain into a very grabby gear drag." As the chain lays on the bottom and rolls side to side it has a spike digging into the bottom every foot or so.

    Hope that makes some sense, then go up current from the area the lost gear is laying, drop the chain with at least 3-4 times the depth in line so that chain is on the bottom for sure, (maybe even attach a cannon ball to the front end of the chain to keep it down, then either let yourself drift down over where the gear is or drive it Very Slowly over the gear, then pull it up, go back up current of the spot, and try again !!! or maybe

    Hoping you are only pulling a few Shrimp pots up so it may come easy if you get it but if you are trying for a long string with anchors on each end you need to have a good hauler and be ready to buoy off one end of what you bring up, haul the other half then come back for the buoyed off end.

    Hope that's not too crazy for what you have to haul with but you could try lighter chain and spikes if your gear and boat are smaller. Even with a little dungy hauler you could pull that off but the lighter you go it is way hard to get it to stay on bottom as you drag. This is a gear drag sized for stuff in 80 fathoms or more.

    Good luck, this really does work I promise but it takes some patience and if deep it can be tough to get on the bottom if towing, helps if you have a gps tracking device so you know when you are drifting over the lost gear, etc.

    Hope you get it, let us know if you give it a try.
    Sounds like what i used to use for grappling flat lobster gear, worked ok down to about 200' but needed LOTS of rope to make it tend bottom, used poly-dac rope because it didn't stretch as much as nylon. The one problem i can see coming is that 99% of the guys in the sound don't have enough hauler to pick up a ball of pots. Drifting around hoping to stick some gear will take more than forever so they have to try and tow is around and for it to tend the bottom we both know what it needs LOTS OF IRON.
    If i ever get the right boat to do it with i'll be rigging a small deck winch with wire and i bet i'll bring home deckloads of gear.

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  14. #14
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default New Business Opp

    That's funny I was thinking the same, reading this thread, wondering,
    "how much and for how long, has this been going on anyway?"

    Rig up a good gear drag and start dragging the shrimping edge and you might have a stack of 200 pots for sale on Alaskalist in a week?

    Probably get arrested by somebody for "Possession of Pot(s)"
    that someone else has claim to???

    Steve's right tho on the hauler thing, I should say you need at least a normal Dungie Pot size hauler and hydraulics to pull this off. Heck, it might be worth the price of a better hauler tho, eh?

    PS Don't go throwing a drag like that into an area you know has a ton of lost gear, or you will be donating your new drag to the pile down there.
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

  15. #15
    Member AKBassking's Avatar
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    I have seen in Main Bay shrimp pots sitting on the beach or on one of the rocks. It appeared that a commercial pulled the pot and set it aside. Nice thing to do, but the pot owner should have known of the opener and removed his/her pot.

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  16. #16

    Default Bottom Dragging

    There are areas in the Sound where there are piles of abandoned communication cable that was dumped and have drag nets from commercial shrimping tangled up with it. You may get more than you planned if you hook into one of these piles of mess.

  17. #17
    Member GOT TOYS's Avatar
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    Default Fished up pots

    Last Saturday as I was hooking my bouy with my boat hook, the swivel I had below my bouy broke. Yup, my 1/4" floating line sunk, both with the weight of the swivel half, and the weight I clipped on at 300' to keep my line sunk. Had the wife hit the MOB button, and sat dejected for a while. It was a rainy day, so I thought I would try to be that guy that's # 1 million. I attached 3 snagging hooks followed by a 24 oz weight on my halibut rod. I actually had a good feeling it would work. I hooked it once, brought it part way up, until I tried to get both pots and weight off the ground. Something let loose, and I lost it. About 2 hours later, the wife was overcome with excitement, and took a nap. I put the rod in the rod holder and bumped the motor in gear every 30 seconds, in 550' of water. I hooked the rope, near the swivel. Woke up the wife, I put on my fighting belt and fighting harness, and winched my trusty Penn International until the rope surfaced. Then I pulled my bounty with my pot puller.
    Moral of the story, the less crap you put on your line, be it for fishing or for shrimping, the less chance you will have an equipment failure.
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  18. #18
    Member AK NIMROD's Avatar
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    wtg - got toys you should go buy a lotto ticket
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  19. #19
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default Impressive for sure

    Yep, GT that is one IMPRESSIVE STORY of Fishing and Thinking at the same time, made my evening
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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