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Old 08-16-2017, 06:34 PM   #1
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City: Saltspring Island
Country: BC, canada
Vessel Name: Retreat
Vessel Model: C&L 44
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Prawn fishing in Pendrell Sound

Actually, this is about almost losing a set of traps yesterday, but only because I was setting them in Pendrell Sound.

According to the chart, bottom is steep, but regular. In fact it is anything but regular.
I usually try for about 350 ft. I use over 500 feet of line. The first set, where my sounder told me it was 375 ft deep, I put out a pair of traps, 50 ft apart, and the rest of my 500' line. The floats were resting at a level that matched holding the weight of both traps, so "no bottom". I pulled them and moved 1/4 mile to a spot I had marked from previous years, in 375' and reset. This time the floats rode high, indicating the were only supporting the weight of 375' of line. I set the second pair nearby, same indication on the floats.
Later, 4 or 5 hours, I was out in the dinghy and drove by, where I found the first set floating at the "no bottom" height once more and the second pair not to be seen. Before hauling the pair I could find, I went to the exact spot marked on the chart from before, and began a search pattern, looking for the floats to be below the surface in the clear, calm water. within a couple of passes, there was the second set, the top of the pair of floats showing about 6' down. I could touch the float with the handle of the paddle, but hooking it would require at least a boathook, perhaps a swim. I marked the location on the chart and returned to Retreat for a boathook and some line. I returned to the mark and the floats were still visible, but too deep for me to reach with the boathook so in I went with some line, dove and put the line through the loop where the floats were attached to the trap line and pulled them up. It turned out that the lower trap was in fact fishing, as it had a few prawns in it, but the other one was well off the bottom, as were both on the other set of floats.
I added a third float to the sinking pair, reset, in much shallower water, 300' or so, and on hauling this morning, had no issues and lots of prawns.

Moral of the story: those nice, even contour lines are complete fiction. There are cliffs here, 100s of feet of vertical bottom, despite what the contour lines try to tell you.
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Old 08-16-2017, 10:33 PM   #2
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City: Kenmore
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Use Polyform LD-2 buoy's for these type of conditions. They have enough flotation to float a Ladner trap. You end up chasing them as they drift in the current, but it is better than having them pull under water. Also, if they do get pulled under somehow, they don't crush like the foam ones will, and will come back up when the current slows down.
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