Thursday, July 2, 2015

Prawn Chasers

If you will remember, one of the things on the boat bucket list is to go and catch some spot prawns. It had actually been on the list since the beginning of my boating adventures, but it was something that always seemed to take a back seat to other more pressing Nautical tasks.

This all changed earlier this year when I attended the Vancouver Boat Show. I was not going to leave without a Prawn Trap. After walking around BC place and finding a vender with traps, I arrived to find that they had sold their last one. But I did get a deal on 400 ft of trap line, so all was not lost. A few days later I got myself a trap at the boat show price and all I needed now was the proper licence and I would become a Prawn slayer.

The prawn season opens in my area on April 1 and I of course was anxious to get the trap in the water and fish me some of those sweet tasting bottom dwellers. 
Not so fast young skipper. 

I had never fished or hauled a trap in my life, so I thought I should seek out some solid information on just how this delicious past time could be successful for a first timer. 

Of course the Nautical Yoda Richard, our boat neighbour at the Marina, had some great tips and a couple of suggestions on where to set the trap. I felt I had a good foundation. But some great advice came from an unlikely source, at the Helicopter hangar, from two of our pilots. Both were born and raised BC boys and spent a good deal of their respective youths on and around the coastal waters of the province. One of the lads had a buddy whom was a commercial prawn fishermen. He gave me tips on what bait was best. Strangely it was a particular brand of cat food and not fish heads or prawn bait pellets. The other bit of advice came in the form of potential hot spots to set my traps. 

So armed with this bit of information, I set out to score some prawns. Rigging the trap was a bit messy the first time, I ended up getting smelly bait juice all over me and the dingy. But I felt I was setting it in deep enough water, 230ft or there about I figured. I had marked the 400 feet of line with a series of red and green tape markers to indicate 10 foot increments with special marks of the 50's and the 100's. I dropped the trap into the water with great anticipation and with the hope I would at least catch a few. Only time would tell.

According to my "pilot" experts, the trap should soak for at least 4 hours and ideally be set on a rising tide. I started the little 3.5 outboard and headed back to Horseshoe bay. Back at the dock there were many boat chores that needed to be done, not the least of which was a good deck cleaning. Surprisingly the cleaning and some other minor chores melted those four hours away. In the meantime, Charlene joined me at the dock. I think she was worried about me being out on the dingy haulin' a trap without anyone with me.

The first haul
With a wave of anticipation and excitement, we shoved off from the dock to check our trap. Before long we were alongside my marker buoy and I began the task of hauling in the 400 ft line, hoping not to tangle and create a massive rats nest of the rigging.

Hand over hand. Heave ho, the task seemed great. I counted the taped markers down in my head to make the chore seem more tolerable. As the markers counted down, our excitement grew. God I hoped there would be at least two in the trap so we each could have a taste. Finally one of the clip weights came to the surface.

"Only twenty feet left" I said.

By now Charlene was peering over the side as if to use her magic powers to will a decent catch. Then all at once we could make out the frame of the trap beneath the surface. As it drew closer, we could make out that wonderful orange colour and movement of those little critters.


The first Catch!

I could not wipe the smile off my face. We ended up with 18! All a good size. Not too bad for a first timer.
A little garlic butter

There would be Spot Prawns on the menu at Chez Murman tonight.

Hey save some for me Charlene!
We have been out several times since this first catch. Some soaks successful, some,,,,, well,,,, not so much. But Prawn Chasing does add to the joy of our boating adventure and we can hardly wait to go and fish some more.

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