Using a shrimp pot, also called shrimp trap, is a effective style of shrimp catching. Small pots are often used by recreational anglers. Shrimp pots work by attaching a trap to a long rope, and the rope to a buoy. Bait is placed in the trap and the trap is thrown overboard. Once the trap settles to the bottom of the body of water, anglers note the location of their buoys and return to retrieve them later. Meanwhile, underwater, shrimp are attracted to the bait and enter the trap -- traps are designed to let shrimp in but not out.
Tie or attach one end of your rope to your pot or trap, either with a knot or locking clip similar to a carabiner. Rope length will vary depending on water depth, so knowing the distance between surface and sea bed in crucial. Anglers recommend at least 25 to 40 percent more line that water depth at high tide. There are two options, floating and leaded, for rope choice. Floating line will need weights attached down the length of the rope to sink it, while leaded line sinks without weights. Sinking your line is important because boat props may destroy floating lines.
Attach a buoy to your line. Shrimpers recommend using buoys designed for shrimping and crabbing because they provide the proper floatation for your line and pots. Bottles and other makeshift buoys may float too much and cause gear to drift in rougher seas. Paint your buoys a distinct color and attach an identification card to them to help separate your buoys and pots from the crowd.
Add bait to your trap using a meat or fish product. Shrimp pots will have hooks or rings anglers can attach or tie their bait to. Many states regulate baits so only choose products approved for your fishing grounds. Chicken is an effective option and is allowed in most fishing grounds. Some anglers use canned dog and cat food for bait. Poke holes in the top of a can to allow the food's scent and small pieces to float out, but still hold the majority of the product in the can.
Tips & Warnings
- Add weight to your pots, if they are lightweight. Add lead tape or heavy sinkers around the perimeter of your pot in an even fashion to help the pot sink to and stay at the bottom of the sea floor. Roughly 10 lbs. of weight will help keep your pot in place.
- Use shrimp pots only when the crustacean is in season and only take daily limits allowed by fish and wildlife regulations. Fines and jail-time may be levied against anglers who over-fish or fish out of season.
- Fishing Journal: Information for the Serious Angler: Puget Sound San Juan Islands Area 6 Spot Shrimp
- FishyFish: How to Catch Shrimp, and How to Catch Prawns: How to Rig Your Shrimp Pot
- South Carolina Department of Natural Resources: 2010-2011 Saltwater Fishing Regulations - Shrimp: Crustacean & Shellfish Methods & Devices
- Texas A&M University: Invertebrates: The Other Food Source
- South Carolina Department of Natural Resources: Shrimp in SC
- Washington Departmen of Fish and Wildlife: Recreational Shrimp Fishing: How to Harvest Shrimp
- Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images