One of my favorite times of the year is the late Spring up at the Hood Canal. We have some friends up there that have been generous enough to be patient with us Oregonians and teach us about shrimping. When Trevor and I think we know exactly what we are doing, we learn a little more. Like for example, how to stick a boat into a very narrow and tight boat slip that is designed for 12 ft. boats.
Then the pots have to be prepared, and the “Chode” has to be made. This is basically the nastiest thing on the planet. Basically cat food, and shrimp pellets with a bunch of old greasy fish.
The chode is what extracts the spotted prawns to the pot.
Once you have the chode put into a bucket you have to mix it up. This is when “Ricky Choder” comes to work.
Then you let the chode marinade itself all night before you put it into the bait tubes.
Trevor works the back of the boat with his new best deck hand Jan Hester. She is one person that could actually do a tour no problem on the Deadliest Catch. I also think she could easily win Naked and Afraid.
The season is only fours long. So once 9 am hits, the pots go over and soak for 45 minutes. The pots are down 300 feet, so you have to make sure you watch the drift and put the pots out without tangling your lines. Then the rains came, and they brought a nasty beat down of epic proportions. Jan, Trevor, and Steph worked the back of the boat during that storm. Mike and Ben got their limits and went back to the house to make room for the kids. They were enjoying music, and fresh sauté shrimp we later found out. My job though it was dry, was to keep us from drifting into all the other boats and their pots, and keep an eye on ours.
I also have to keep a wary eye out for local pirates.
Though the rain would hammer us, we would get some short breaks in the weather. Jason had to row out to his boat above at midnight to pump water out of his boat so it didn’t sink. We all mustered through the weather and caught each of our limits which was 80 per person. The kids had fun too. How many kids can say they pulled shrimp pots and ate fresh shrimp from the Hood Canal in the Olympic Peninsula.
Our friends in California got to experience the Hood Canal as well, but did not get to see the mighty Olympics.
There is over 700 shrimp that need to be cleaned and prepared for the freezer.
This is tedious work, but if you do it right it really makes the product better. We take their heads and legs off so there is just a tail. Then put the tails on a cookie sheet and freeze them before you bag them so they do not stick together. That way you do not have a lump of frozen shrimp in a bag.
That part of the day is over, the best is yet to come….the BBQ oyster competition.
Something to be said about walking out 40 feet and picking the best fresh oysters on the planet right off the beach.
One of my favorite places to visit. It is a lot of work, and a busy four hours on the water. However, our dinners and time together were spectacular. I hope you get the opportunity to visit.
The Hunting Chef