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Thread: What makes a good shrimp pot?

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    Default What makes a good shrimp pot?

    With the season soon upon us, I thought I'd share my opinions about "what makes a good shrimp pot"? Now bear in mind, this is only one guys thoughts, maybe you have your own observations you'd like to kick in? Having been a machinist for the last 38 years, I've developed an eye for quality and how things are built. That's the part I want to share.

    At this point my total experience is with the wire versions but over the last 5 years I've had new gear built each year in an effort to find the "perfect pot".

    Right off the bat, let me say they all work, there's not any real secrets to the technology. For sure your shrimping locations are the real key but this stuff has been gone over and over, over the years.

    Starting with the basic cage body itself. The wire is the first thing to look at. Is the guage heavy enough to keep it's shape yet light enough to be reformed once it's drug thru a bad spot? Some wire will rust thru quicker than others due to the manafacturing process. If you trust the builder, he can give you the skinny on what went into yours. While studying the overall pot, pick it up and see how it feels. Once weighted oversized pots become unwieldly and difficult to handle!

    Look at the features such as entrance tunnels, bait jar holders and dump doors. Here is where you start getting into user friendly issues. Look at the cut edges where the entrances are fastened, and inside the bait container area and around the inside of your dump door. Are the cuts sharp to your hands? Did the maker clean them up and re-coat them to prevent the saltwater from starting in on that raw surface? Some do and some don't! I always take the time to deburr these areas with a file or die grinder then apply either a tool dip or epoxy coating to protect myself from these sharp edges. Gloves help but I prefer to just clean up the ragged edges and don't care for having to wear gloves while working the gear.

    What about the doors them selves. Is your dump door in a good location and big enough to make it "user friendly"? Some are like working a crossword puzzle when trying to get them shrimp out.

    As previously mentioned, my sole experience is with wire pots which have served me well from a "catching standpoint". In the up coming years I intend to give the mesh pots an equal look, after all; many of the custom upgrades that went into my previous gear were efforts to emulate a feature I found appealing from mesh gear! I'm sure some of you have your own observations and I'd hope to hear of them.

    Still looking,
    Mike

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Without question the best shrimp pot is a WET shrimp pot!

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    I think the best shrimp pot is the string that is not in everyones way. Navigation (I've seen the ferry and love boats drive over gear) , trolling, gillnetting and seining. Remember if you cherish your pots make sure when you deploy them you're not in an area where theres gillnetters drifting. The current grabs that net and moves it pretty fast, when it comes in contact w/ a shrimp pot buoy, the shrimp pot buoy line gets cut, its the only way the fishermen can recover his net. I always put my pots where other pots are fishing to keep them grouped up. Some people think I'm corking them but I simply tell them its for the safety of our pots. If theres a lot of buoys in one spot people will avoid the area

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    Quote Originally Posted by fullbush View Post
    I think the best shrimp pot is the string that is not in everyones way. Navigation (I've seen the ferry and love boats drive over gear) , trolling, gillnetting and seining. Remember if you cherish your pots make sure when you deploy them you're not in an area where theres gillnetters drifting. The current grabs that net and moves it pretty fast, when it comes in contact w/ a shrimp pot buoy, the shrimp pot buoy line gets cut, its the only way the fishermen can recover his net. I always put my pots where other pots are fishing to keep them grouped up. Some people think I'm corking them but I simply tell them its for the safety of our pots. If theres a lot of buoys in one spot people will avoid the area
    So if i stick like a 100 buoys in front of ester or inside main bay you guys will stay away right !!!

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    I've been thinking about this very question. We were thinking about replacing our old commercial pots this year, but the price is a bit steep for us to take the plunge. Our pots work reasonably well, but I can't shake the feeling that they could be better. We've got rigid mesh on the outside very similar to what you'd find on commercially available rigid pots, a rebar frame, and soft mesh tunnels. I'm wondering about the tunnels in particular. We have one lightweight rigid pot (similar to what one might buy), and that pot consistently outfishes our older pots by 10-25%. The question is why? The most significant difference is that the tunnels are made of a rigid material with a very small mesh size, whereas our other tunnels are soft and have a fairly large mesh size. Maybe the shrimp find it easier to get into the pot? I need to take another look at the laws, but assuming a change in my tunnels like what I'm envisioning is legal, I think I'm going to tear out the tunnels on a third of our pots and see if replacing them with a smaller mesh makes a difference in allowing the shrimp to crawl in.

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    GAWL DANGIT! Me and my big mouth!!! Wow you just gave me a heckuva idea Steve! it has to do w/ set net gear.... I may have said to much already

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    I've been thinking about this very question. We were thinking about replacing our old commercial pots this year, but the price is a bit steep for us to take the plunge. Our pots work reasonably well, but I can't shake the feeling that they could be better. We've got rigid mesh on the outside very similar to what you'd find on commercially available rigid pots, a rebar frame, and soft mesh tunnels. I'm wondering about the tunnels in particular. We have one lightweight rigid pot (similar to what one might buy), and that pot consistently outfishes our older pots by 10-25%. The question is why? The most significant difference is that the tunnels are made of a rigid material with a very small mesh size, whereas our other tunnels are soft and have a fairly large mesh size. Maybe the shrimp find it easier to get into the pot? I need to take another look at the laws, but assuming a change in my tunnels like what I'm envisioning is legal, I think I'm going to tear out the tunnels on a third of our pots and see if replacing them with a smaller mesh makes a difference in allowing the shrimp to crawl in.
    More than likely Brian, you're spilling them when you're pulling the gear, would be my guess...

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    You may be right FB. I was used a couple pots with fine mesh tunnels but the openings were a good 2 1/2 - 3 inches in diameter. The first time I pulled them, I got the first pot boat side, turned off the hauler to bring the pot in and when I looked overboard, there were 4 or 5 shrimp swimming away. Those were the ones I saw, who knows how many I really lost. I replaced the mesh tunnels with rigid tunnels with 1 1/2 inch openings. My catch rates went up overall, and I've never seen another shrimp swimming away. Also, I haven't caught another octopus since I made the change.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fullbush View Post
    More than likely Brian, you're spilling them when you're pulling the gear, would be my guess...
    Yep, that could be part of the issue. Our bridles are attached on the side where there is a tunnel, making the two tunnels on the top and the bottom when they're being pulled. I'm not doing a good job describing it...it's not right at the very bottom where they pour out of the pot like a funnel...but they are in such a way that it might be more likely for them to fall out than if the bridles were across the top. I might have to play with that as well. Ah...so many variables and things to play with!

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    Customer to Steve at show "Don't you think they can get out of the pots?"
    Steve to customer "I don't think they know they are in!"
    case closed

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    Quote Originally Posted by potbuilder View Post
    Customer to Steve at show "Don't you think they can get out of the pots?"
    Steve to customer "I don't think they know they are in!"
    case closed
    hahaha You're not gonna believe this but every time I pull my pots and re-deploy a few hours go by and I start thinking to myself did you close the doors and bungy em? Guess what? If I wonder that, then the answer is generally no, I'm usually so tickled about my pull all I can think about is the shrimp flopping around in the cooler...Okay fine I admitted it and I feel awesome after getting that off my chest on a public venue

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    Quote Originally Posted by fullbush View Post
    did you close the doors and bungy em?
    It's the same when you toss 5 pots over and on your way fishing when you realize there is bait jar rolling around in the boat. Hmmmm?

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    Still not as bad as a friend.
    He was deploying the pots for his friend (who was driving the boat)
    He chucked the first pot over then reached down and snapped the second pot to the end


    Only to watch the first pot sink away forever
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    Quote Originally Posted by fullbush View Post
    hahaha You're not gonna believe this but every time I pull my pots and re-deploy a few hours go by and I start thinking to myself did you close the doors and bungy em? Guess what? If I wonder that, then the answer is generally no, I'm usually so tickled about my pull all I can think about is the shrimp flopping around in the cooler...Okay fine I admitted it and I feel awesome after getting that off my chest on a public venue
    I think with what you've told me about your history of shrimping its a good day when you remember to tie on a buoy on the end!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    I've been thinking about this very question. We were thinking about replacing our old commercial pots this year, but the price is a bit steep for us to take the plunge. Our pots work reasonably well, but I can't shake the feeling that they could be better. We've got rigid mesh on the outside very similar to what you'd find on commercially available rigid pots, a rebar frame, and soft mesh tunnels. I'm wondering about the tunnels in particular. We have one lightweight rigid pot (similar to what one might buy), and that pot consistently outfishes our older pots by 10-25%. The question is why? The most significant difference is that the tunnels are made of a rigid material with a very small mesh size, whereas our other tunnels are soft and have a fairly large mesh size. Maybe the shrimp find it easier to get into the pot? I need to take another look at the laws, but assuming a change in my tunnels like what I'm envisioning is legal, I think I'm going to tear out the tunnels on a third of our pots and see if replacing them with a smaller mesh makes a difference in allowing the shrimp to crawl in.
    Brian,
    I've tried all size meshes for the tunnels, it don't matter, its the design of the tunnel that matters. Sort of like cutting out a set of stairs, if they ain't right you'll trip every time.

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    Well, in less than 24 hrs we got a lot of stuff in our pot, most of it off topic.
    Getting back to them tunnels now, my experience tells me to a point smaller mesh will make a difference. Maybe I should refrase that. Giving the shrimp something more "user friendly" to walk on will make a difference. On last year's gear I covered the walking surface and out the front with net webbing. I'm convinced they liked having the nicer walkway versus 1 inch mesh made of skinny guage wire. My catch rate is what I'm basing this on, the shrimp I'm catching aren't all that conversant!

    On this years gear, I was unable to get what I wanted for wire on my entrance tunnels, so I will improvise by weaving in fine stainless tig rod between each of them 1 inch squares then dip the entire tunnel bottom several times in a liquid vynil to "Build up" the wire diameter and create a soft, easy to walk on surface. Time will tell, but I'm going into this convinced it will work well.

    I've often thought the Ladner type pots would be sweet with a good mesh entrance, like those used on the ridgid wire pots. When you compare the surface area of the mesh tunnels to the wide tunnels found on wire pots, it seems like a no brainer. The Ladners would be easy to fit with the wire set up too.

    I don't get to carried away if I see a few shrimp floating away at the surface, there's always plenty in the pot anyway! No matter who's pot your fishing if there are a few over an entrance when the momentum of pulling stops, there's a good chance some will drift away.

    Brian, if you have a picture of your older commercial pot's it might be interesting to look at!

    We must be getting close to the start of the season, last year we had one commercial guy threatining to slash buoy lines if we got near his stuff. Now already this year there are two! Go back and re-read that stuff from last year, no one had any issues! All Blow.
    Mike

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    Unless you'e an industrial commercial shrimper I can't believe anyone would lose sleep on their shrimp pot design for recreational shrimping. I can only eat so many spot prawns and I'm sick of em. Don't get me wrong, shrimp are tasty but these guys knocking back several hundred pounds (one guys brags he put up 750 lbs) for their home pack, is just ridiculous and borderline criminal IMO. I'd say a 50lb per season limit would be sufficient. I mean really....

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    FB,
    this isn't any different than discussions on lures, reels,rods,depths,speeds for fishing. However, I'd like to ask those that haul in hundreds of pounds of tails, WHY?

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    There's no argument FB when it comes to "design", as pot fishery's have been around for hundreds of years. Re-read the title "What makes a Good Shrimp Pot". This seemed like a great way to bring out others ideas or thoughts on the subject either from a design standpoint or concerning user friendly issues etc. Read emphasis on Good Shrimp Pot.

    Let me give you an example. If your fishing wire pots, have you ever wondered why manafacturers make the dump door so small? Or in a contorted location that causes you extra effort to get the bugs out? Some folks have a bent toward improvement and constantly go about seeking improvement while others simply go with the flow. I guess that's what makes us such a great nation! Speaking of improvement, some sides on that kitchen table would give you more hauling capacity!

    I'd especially like to hear what users of mesh gear think.
    Mike

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    I agree with fullbush these guys shrimp all summer to fill a freezer are a problem. In one weekend I get enough for all year.

    All the shrimp pots out on the market work good. Some may be better, but by just a few more shrimp. I also thought about a smaller mesh wire for the ramps and will try it this summer, may help load the pot faster?? Alasgun have you tried to cover any pots just leaving the wire ramps open ( with fabric ) was also going to try that. As always trying to improve everything. Then maybe all I need is one day to shrimp.

    One more thing I think I'll start a new thread on Octopus Traps can we drop them down with a shrimp pot????

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