Jeff and I have the same affliction. We both like look at other people’s stuff and buying other people’s stuff. With no garage sales and the thrift store closed due to the virus, we made a plan- to cruise the beaches where people set their crab pots and see if we could find any derelict pots ghost fishing. I’ve happened along pots a few times when I would just happen to be out at a minus tide. The pots are not hard to spot – buoys and the crab pot line are covered with mussels and seaweed. Sometimes you can’t even see the buoy, but the clump of seaweed growing on it doesn’t look quite natural.
As we launched the boat, I could hear a hooter up the hill. I thought I’d go try to find him when we got back. We’re in for a stretch of beautiful May weather – in the 60’s and sun for several days.
The first pot we found was a commercial dungy pot. It had been there so long most of the framing had dissolved so it was just a circle of stainless steel mesh. We cut out the escape rings for use on other pots, and took the line and buoys.
The next pot we found was a jackpot, really. It was clearly a commercial pot because it had a special tab required by law for these pots. The buoy was covered with algae, but not seaweed or shellfish, so I figured it was not too long lost – probably from the most recent commercial opening last fall. We could read the numbers on the buoy. When I looked them up, I was happy to see I knew the boat. It was the same boat that saved Bob and I several years ago when my skiff capsized at anchor while we were out deer hunting. Talk about karma.
Jeff and I continued our tour, and saw a big shiny black bear on the beach, then a sea lion, a humpback whale, but no more pots. Nobody was out and about except for a few local kayakers. Fishing is closed for king salmon and the cruiseship season is cancelled.
As soon as I got home, I called the crab boat skipper. Turns out he lives just out the road from us a couple miles, so delivered his pot to him. He wanted to give me the pot, but I refused- this was great partial payback for me.