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.