A photo a day from Oriental, NC, the surrounding Pamlico County area, and nearby rivers, creeks, bays and other waterways of coastal North Carolina.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

7.21- Amazing Grace, She Needs a Fix, To Save a Wrecked Port-Pole

"Amazing Grace" isn't out shrimping today... she is tied up at Point Pride Seafood with a maimed port-side outrigger.

Shrimp trawlers suspend nets, attached with cables, from the boat's two outriggers, which are lowered into horizontal positions for trawling... The boats are rigged so that the nets sweep along just above the bottom of the river or sea, while bottom-crawling cables called "ticklers" prompt the bottom-dwelling shrimp to swim up into the paths of the nets.

The vessels also tow large wooden "doors" that act as underwater wings to spread the two ends of the net wide apart to increase the catch area (they do indeed look like doors, from cottage-sized doors to cathedral-sized doors... you can see one hanging from the rigging above the aft deck on the starboard side of this trawler).

The outriggers also provide stability to the vessel the same way a tightrope walker uses a balancing pole. They lower the outriggers into horizontal positions once the vessel is underway, even when they are not trawling with the nets.

I understand that essentially identical commercial vessels can also "troll" for fish by using such outriggers to suspend numerous fishing lines with baited hooks as the boat pulls them through the water... Such boats are called "trollers" rather than "trawlers," and their outriggers are known as "troll poles"... slowly traveling with baited lines is called, not surprisingly, "trolling."

Most of the commercial trawlers operating out of slips at Oriental harbor's two fish-houses ("Fulcher Seafood" and "Point Pride Seafood") are shrimp trawlers, at least at this time of year.

However it works, this shrimping season so-far promises to be a huge one, from what I hear on the street.

By evening, the damaged outrigger had been removed.


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