First time in the “Salt”
Well the time was fast approaching when the Puget Sound spot shrimp season opened and I had been hard at work building buoys, getting pots and leaded line, researching bait recipes and last but not least trying to find some productive shrimping grounds. On Tugnuts I found Dennis Carstensen, long time Hood Canal resident and seasoned shrimper and he graciously invited me to his place to share his knowledge and after that I felt that I had sufficient knowledge to attempt this adventure.
This was something that was high on the bucket list for both my best friend and I so needless to say he was invited, my friend Adam Timney a seasoned hunter, fisher and forager flew in from San Francisco Friday before the shrimp opener. We were also joined by my new Seattle friend Langdon Cook and off course no trip is complete without my Jr. Capt. (My 8 year old daughter Sofie)
The plan was for Sofie, Adam and I to depart Stimson Marina Friday afternoon ahead of the official boating season opening, head up to the port of Everett and spend the night and then meet up with Langdon in the AM and head out for the shrimping grounds.
Around 4:30AM I am awoken by a loud thumb and I get up, we moored for the night at Port of Everett’s guest moorage on the outside in the channel and a nice big 8 foot log carried by an ebbing tide drifted into the boat, my first experience with logs in the Puget Sound. I decided to stay up and witnessed hundreds upon hundreds of boaters leaving the port for the shrimping grounds.
At 6:30AM my friend Lang arrives and we load up everything and head out, the plan is to find a nice spot around the Mukilteo oil docks with a depth of ~275 to 300 feet to drop our gear, it takes us about 30 min to get there and we add the bait and drop our gear, everywhere around us boat drop gear with yellow buoys. We let our pots soak for one hour before we pull, having never tried this before we are super excited and when the first pot appear we see the fruits of our labor, big red Puget Sound spot shrimp.
For the remainder of the day we continue to fish and by the end we tally up ~160 shrimp total, some were consumed as sushi style “Ebi” with soy and wasabi and some steamed in Guinness, fresh shrimp is tasty and we are all enjoying the experience.
As we wrap up the day the wind has picked up a lot, its coming out of the north and the ride in is bumpy, we go back to Everett to drop of my friend Lang and I make an executive decision that since the weather seem marginal and Adam is prone to sea-sickness and I am mindful of not subjecting my 8 year old daughter to severe conditions and thus dampening her desire to go out on the boat, we decide that they get to ride home to Seattle with Lang in his car.
Initial thought was for me to stay the night and head out in the AM, but as I am studying weather forecasts it becomes evident that it likely will not improve. So I prepare to take off, in looking at the chart and wind direction I realize that I have a following sea and if done right it may not be that bumpy after all, I get out and find a speed around 16 knots that allow me to ride the waves and in 1 hour and 45 minutes I am back at the locks, I wait for about 15 min and is directed to the small lock, 10 min later I pull into Stimson, rinse down the boat and savor the fact that not only did I take Current Obsession into the sound for the first time, we got shrimp and I traversed the locks singlehanded.
All in all a great experience with my daughter and good friends.