1. Let there be light!
A good light is a must have because seeing the prawns is half the battle. There seem to be two schools of thought though, those that use the waterproof “light on a stick” that goes under the water and those that use a headlamp. At times I’ve used both at the same time but I find that i prefer the headlamp. I will say this though, if you don’t have either, spend the money and get a good headlamp rather than the stick type. They will set you back a few bucks but there is way more uses for a good headlamp than just prawning. I shelled out for a LED Lenser a few years back and thats probably why I prefer a headlamp to see the little buggers.
2. You don’t want to mesh things up and lose good prawns!
Yes its a bad pun but when I first started prawning I was amazed at how many flicked out of the bottom of the net. Obviously the dream is that the prawns are all so huge they could never fit though but that is hardly ever the case. The tip I did get was to replace the standard net with a cotton replacement one as the more “furry” nature of cotton fibre over synthetic seemed to hold the prawns a bit better. I’ve found that once you get a few in the bottom to start they don’t come out from there but having 8-10 good prawns slip out at first can be annoying
3. Time and tide wait for no man
In other words you need to wait for it. They definitely have a window of when they really run and while it’s possible to get a few before and after that, to be worth it, being there when they really start is something you just have to wait for sometimes. A perfect example is one trip I did with Nick Reay last summer where we got very little for the first 3 hours or so and checked a few different systems. Then it just started and we stood side by side in a little choke point and got about 6kg of prawns in the next hour and a half. My arms haven’t been that sore in years. If you work out exactly when they run you can turn up just before and start then if you don’t it’s worth putting in the time to find out and then adjusting with the tide over the next few nights when you do.