Last weeks report is still holding true. The Coho and Chums are still at the fingers, and they’re still biting on the lures I mentioned last week.
What I forgot to mention is that wild Coho are open. So get your Coho while you can.
Prawning is really picking up as well. It’s been along time since the commercial fleet was out, so the stocks are building up again. Drop your prawn traps and then go for a nice troll in the sun for a nice silver Coho.
A Prawn trap or two. You can put two on one prawn line. Put enough weight in each trap to keep them from drifting or bouncing with the waves.
Some form of sinking rope . Either lead line, float line with a lead clip weight, or best of all a 100 ft. of lead line spliced to a longer float line. Length of line is determined by the location you will be prawning in. 450-500 ft. is standard for most parts of the coast.
Bait Holders. Make sure you attach the bait holder to the middle of trap. If it drifts to the edge of trap the prawns will eat through the mesh of the trap and not find the tunnel into the trap.
Prawn bait. Either prawn pellets, Carlyle cat food or a mix of the two. Don’t forget to soak pellets overnight in herring oil or commercial prawn attractant. Don’t fill the bait holder more than 2/3s full, as the pellets will swell and you want some water flow through the bait holder to spread the scent out.
Attach the traps 30-50 ft. apart on the line using the prawn line clips. Make sure to tie a knot or loop at the end of the line so if the traps hang up they can’t slide off the end of the rope.
Now you have to choose a spot to drop them. Your best option is to get directions from successful prawners, or identify locations by noting where you see other peoples Scotchmens.
If you have to choose your own spot take some time to examine you chart. Depth varies from region to region. Around Nanaimo most prawning takes place in 350-400 ft. of water. Around Ladysmith and Chemainus the water is generally shallower than most other regions so prawning is done in only 200-250 ft.
Make sure to have at least 100 ft. more line than the depth of the water you are in. Don’t be like the women that dropped her 100 ft. crab line in 100 ft. of water...at low tide. Then came back to the store and blamed me for the tide coming in.
Look for a flat mud or sand bottom at the edge of a drop off. Try to land your traps at the lip of the drop-off. Be careful that they are on the bottom, and not over the drop off. Use a large Scotchman to float the entire rig in case you do drop it in too deep of water.
I like my traps to sit upright on the bottom, so I don’t just toss them overboard and let them drift to the bottom. I lower them down in a controlled way.
Once I have set my traps, I watch them for a little while to make sure the current isn’t going to drag them away. I also keep them insight while fishing. Twice I’ve had to quickly pull mine when log booms where going to run it down. While some traps do get stolen, I think the majority of lost traps are due to high currents, and getting run over. Also dropping them in the ferries lanes is a good way to lose them.
Once they have soaked for a few hours it’s time to haul them in. While an electric hauler is preferred, most people start out pulling by hand. Personally I never minded pulling mine by hand, until I tried using a line hauler. Now pulling by hand seems too much like work.
However you do it, make sure to pull consistently without stopping. While pulling the prawns are pinned to the bottom of the trap, when you stop they can swim back and forth and some may get out.
It can take many attempts to dial in a good location. Sometimes it can take years, but a good spot can produce hundreds per trap. Once you find a productive spot, mark it on your chart plotter. Remember to not go over your limit. Count each prawn as you clean them, and please release the berried (ones with eggs) ones. I take the heads off (the heads are great crab bait) on the water, and freeze them shell on in tap water filled tupperware. Frozen in a block of ice like this they will last many months in the freezer. I find they last longer than vacuum packed salmon, with little to no degradation in quality.
And remember if you catch too many, you can always drop off the excess here at the Chandler. Ask for Steve V ask for from the tackle department.