Gone are the days of mahi-mahi and tuna, welcome salmon (if we ever catch one) and prawns. Now, these tasty little devils live in the deep deep waters around here, and can be tempted into a trap. We have a nice net trap, with funnels to lead the prawns in and, hopefully, make it hard for them to get out again. Local knowledge tells us to bait it with a tin of cheap cat food, lower it two or three hundred feet and wait a few hours.
Down at Gibson's Landing, we pick our spot, drop it over the side and watch as the line snakes down, down into the deep cold waters. Eventually the line stops sinking and we know the trap is on the bottom. Over goes the marker float and a weight to keep it all straight up and down over the trap. At last we are properly using Max's lobster trap float, all the way from Maine.
The next morning Max and I get up early and head out in anticipation. We haul up the trap, hand over hand, coiling hundreds of feet of line into the big five gallon bucket we have for the purpose. Finally the trap appears through the gloomy water. Excitement mounts, hope swells in our hearts and then reality swiftly intervenes. Nothing. Darn it. Back to the boat, where an expectant crew makes quiet comments about 'all that effort'. We think about it and decide that puncturing our tin of cat food with a screwdriver wasn't good enough, we need to open the tin a fair bit further.
Next day, we are at a beautiful spot called Smuggler's Cove. Just outside the anchorage the water drops away rapidly, so we try again. The following morning we go out and haul, haul away. Bingo. We have prawns. Well, three at least. One of them is pretty big and chunky, the others are small little things but edible none the less. On the water we meet some other sailors who have a lot more experience at this, they suggest a different type of cat food - they kindly give us a few tins - and that an hour is enough if you find the right spot. So we drop the trap again.
A couple of hours later we go out once more and hey presto - four prawns! At least we are improving, this is going in the right direction. We eat them as part of dinner tonight, not exactly a full meal but a good start. Right now it's working out at about $10 a prawn but hopefully that average will drop soon.....
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