It was a beautiful day to be on the Sound. We took the Current Obsession on its maiden fishing trip and loaded up on shrimp with the aid of a very civilized Brutus Plus 40 pot-puller—a technological advancement on my previous experiences pulling in 400 feet of line hand over hand.
pan-pan distress call.
As in all fishing, a certain amount of patience is required. The goopy bait of ground fish heads, cat food, and other smelly products needs to do its work, oozing from the pot in an intoxicating cloud that the shrimp just can't resist. We couldn't exactly keep our grubby paws off the pot either. After barely 45 minutes of soaking we pulled the first one to see if this maiden voyage would be properly christened: a couple dozen spot shrimp scrambled around in the cage, several of which became ebi within minutes.
Spot shrimp are the largest shrimp on the West Coast, and many restaurants, fish markets, and anglers refuse to call them shrimp at all, using prawn instead. One key point to keep in mind when harvesting spot shrimp is that the head contains an enzyme that can turn the meat to mush. Prevent such a catastrophe by immediately decapitating and rinsing. And don't toss those heads! They make a phenomenal stock or bisque.
Seemingly sane individuals are known to lose all common sense in the presence of fresh spot shrimp. One bite and you might be commandeering the nearest canoe too!