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Shrimp Trawl

I need some help on how to put a Tickle Chain on my 16' trawl, in hopes that it would improve my catch a little. If someone could tell me how long the chain should be, and how many inches hanging from the bottom? Also, what size chain should I use? Any info would help. Thanks.
Tickle Chain
Tickle chain should be 18 inches shorter than lead line.
Tickle chain
Use 1/8' chain on sixteen foot. Make sure you get galvanized chain from marine hardware/shrimp net supply and not zinc from Home Depot so it doesn't rust all over your boat. With net tied to boards stretch boards as wide as they'll go. Chain should be about 18' shorter than lead line if hooked to back bottom eye of board so allow enough chain if you need to go through hole. Best to use closed eyes to connect as net will get hung on shackles and get torn. If you hook to link closest to board of bottom back leg of chain bridal about same length as lead line up to 6' shorter. You might try experimenting letting out 4' either way on different drags. If you don't want to experiment my recommendations have worked extremely well for me fo a long time. I hook to back on small trawls and below bridal on big trawls as shrimp may jump over wings if hooked to bridal area on small trawls.
get a 25ft net
when the trawl is stretched open the chain should be 6-8 inches ahead of the lead line at the center and only an inch or two at the wings.

do NOT hook the tickle chain to the same spot as the lead line or they will twist and roll over each other. the tickle chain is the first thing brought in before the net and last to go out after you let out the ropes so nothing is crossed over. put an eye about 3 inches straight forward from the lead line eye, if its a loop chain then figure it out but something in the 3-4 inches forward is what you are looking to get.

the tickle chain tears up the ground in front of the trawl so it ''digs'' the shrimp out of the mud and grass so they are swimming as the net slides under them.

it makes your catch hugely filthy (couple gallons of mud, muck, and clump of grass) but it can save your net when you hit a snag with it.

it really is a waste of time thou for a 16 ft trawl your not going to make any measurable difference. I used one for years and tickle chains and rollers and added umbrella nets (triangle piece of net to stop the shrimp from jumping in front of the net) none of that really helps with a 16 ft trawl because its just a really big dip net your dragging.

get you a 25 ft trawl, its still recreational and instead of catching 25-30 lbs of shrimp you will catch 100 lbs for the same work and the same expense.

here is how it breaks down, almost half the net size is in the wings so a 16 ft net has only 8-9 ft that is actually catching something so your only catching what can fit directly under your boat and anything on the sides hits the wings and goes thru or over the wings and just a tiny bit of that will make it into the net.

the bigger the trawl the more net area that catches and the wings aren't as big so with a 25 ft trawl your catching shrimp in a 15-20 ft wide section so your catching more area that the boat and motor hasn't directly passed over.

propwash can help you in very shallow water or hurt you in water where the cork line isn't on top the water and you always catch more shrimp if you keep the boat and propwash out of the path of the trawl mouth as best you can.

sorry if you already know all this, just trying to pass what I know along to you.
only problem is for recreational a 16ft is like $25. When you jump to a 24ft net recreational its $85. You do better to get your commercial license for $125ish ( commercial license, gear license and fresh produce license) If you go that route then you can legally sell your catch too. I didn't notice any difference with a chain when I used to pull a 16ft.
Never heard that about propwash. Next time i go dragging i'll have to try that. I'm usually pulling in 8 ft of water.
prop wash
We used to pull a 16 for croaker bait. We'd pull from the quarter cleats with pipes in the rear rod holders to keep the lines from crossing over the transom. I'd pull steering the boat in a large lazy 'S' pattern and the net would fully open better off to the side of the boat without the prop wash in like a dream
First and foremost. Are your doors running flat? If not you will miss many shrimp. They will either go under the trawl or over the trawl. Tickle chain or not.
how about someone who truely knows shrimpin to make a video or some real instuctional post on shrimpin it would be very interesting also what about skimming
'Relativity and Timing'
Mike...there was one a few years ago but they ran it off-season when there was no interest...even showed close-ups of fingers tying knots...(what I'am trying to say is 'details' in America is lost)...cheers ???
Bigger Trawl
Keakar, I have a 23' trawl also, but my boat is only a 16' lake skiff with a 40hp on the back. The boards on the 23' trawl are 30x16, and I was thinking the larger boards would put to much strain on my boat. Would my smaller boards (24x14 witch is on my 16' net) work on my 23' trawl?
'Run Silent Run Deep' day 'Jaws Jr.' gonn'a pull'ya down !!!...he hangs out in a 80' hole in Chef Pass going into Lake Borgne...the rope usually quivers before'ya go under !!! cheers
Dang Admiral !!
You gonna skeer the man.

If I have time I will take pics and show how I set up my old 16' trawl.
You can set up a bigger trawl the same way. Try to get that done tomorrow. Hope they aint no spiders in that back garage attic. Man I hate spiders! ;-)
'Be Careful When 'ya Scratch'
Vic...when we have a lot of rain they creep under doors and sneak into'ya bedroom,just don't let the covers touch the floor they climb-up and get in 'ya loose underware !!!...keep a flyswatter hang'n on back the bed ???...cheers
Shrimp Trawl
Nah, ant no fear hear, I grew up in the swamps, I just don't have much trawling experience , so I'd be glad to see some pictures of a trawl set up! Also do you think I would be pushing my luck pulling a 23' with a 16' Reno skiff?
'It Depends on the Odds'
...I being serious,if you even load-up and had even 1 ft waves and was by yourself you could be asking for some problems...some circumstances don't go as planned...sometimes the older we get the more chicken we get !!!

Google: the enemy below sing song
@ stp team
I used a 16 ft vee hull boat with a 50 on it (peanut shell) and we always pulled a 25 ft setback or balloon trawl depending on the season.

we used 36 inch long by 24 in high boards and a tickle chain in lake P or if we were on the beaches because of the hard bottom but not in the marsh. just ended up trtying to pick the shrimp out of 6 ft balls of trash and grass mostly.

the general rule of thumb is use the tach for speed and run at 1000-1200 rpm steady walking speed (not fast and not slow) then adjust from there to fit your conditions. if your going against the tide you may not even need to move much just enough to keep the trawl stretched open and fishing but if you ar going with the tide then you need to be moving that walking speed faster then the tide so sometimes you running 1500-1600 or even 2000 rpms.

the boat and motor you have will work fine for a 25 ft net and use 36 inch boards on it.

the 30 inch boards are for 16 and 20 ft trawls. the 36 inch boards are for 25 and 30 ft trawls. the 42 inch boards are for 35 ft trawls and so on.

if the boards aren't holding the net open firm and tight then your not fishing correctly.

when randomly checked the center of the lead line should average being dirty with mud for only about 3 ft minimum and a 5 ft maximum area. how dirty the lead line is tells you if your not scraping the bottom enough (mud is too narrow) or if its to wide then you are digging in too much and you need to remove some leads or add rollers. just keep in mind as the bottom changes so does the amount the trawl digs so wait until you see the same condition 2 or 3 times before deciding you need to adjust your trawl, I try to never adjust the trawl but use the speed to adjust. going faster or slower can change how the trawl digs and usually faster means it digs less unless you get into soft muck.

you kinda hafta set the trawl up for each area you fish sinch the amount of grass and how soft the bottom is can change a lot so always carry extra rollers, corks, pinch on lead weights, and connecting gear as well as string and a sewing needle to repair tears

use a 1/2 inch nylon rope of 100 ft for each side and connect your ropes close to the center of the boat or just farward of center (too far farward and the boat wants to spin since you pushing instead of pulling it) and put some posts in the corner of the transom just tall enough so the ropes don't go over it in turns when you turn that post holds the rope so it turns on a dime for you without the net closing so your fishing 100% of the time. without the cheater pipes there, every time you turn the slack half of the net closes until you pull the board tight again.

as for costs, well yes the 25 costs $80 but the extra $55 cost is more then made up for with the the extra amount of shrimp you'll catch the first time you use the trawl. at todays prices that's what, about 10 lbs of shrimp and your even.

another bonus is you double or even triple the amount of crabs you catch when you go to a 25 because they don't have the time to swim far enough to get out of its way like they do to a 16 ft.

oh and THE MOST IMPORTANT THING, if your going trawling mix pine sol half and half with water and splash or spray it all up underneath the decks and cubby holes everywhere in the boat, it keeps horseflies and all the little biting critters from hanging out under there because they hate the smell. it wont help with gnats or mesquitoes but it chases away everything else. oh and it works on wasps too
The most important thing
Keakar your most important thing would be high on my list but it wouldn't be number 1 , maybe number 2 ...

If your planning on leaving land for more than two days , have plenty food and drinking water on board ! A hot case of Busch beer and one pack of crackers is not sufficient . (Recipe for severe cottonmouth) !

Cooter brown from Robert La. ruined me from shrimping but taught me a valuable life lesson almost 20 yrs ago . To this day I will have some drinking water nearby , it will be in my boat , truck , or even my back pocket , but I never leave home without it now . Thanks cooter !
'Always Room Too Learn'
...darn 'ya guy's trawled more than all taught me some things I didn't know...(now I'am too old)...cheers to 'ya
Boards Ropes Tickle chain Peanut rollers
Connecting trawl to boards:
Rule of thumb. The ropes should be of equal length from the boards to the first knot that ties the webbing to the cork and lead line. Some adjustments may be needed.

Adjusting boards to run flat:
Paint the metal and bottom 1 inch (chain side) of wood. Drag trawl for 10 minutes and pick up. If paint is gone from entire length of board then it is running flat. If front end of board still has paint then bottom rope on trawl needs to be shortened. If back of board has paint then top rope needs to be shortened. Adjustments may be needed especially after adding tickle chain.

Tickle chain:
The trawl cork and lead line ropes should be made with lariat rope. This rope has no stretch. I have seen only one with nylon and I thought What a nightmare. Put trawl in yard attached to the boards by the lead line. Attach chain with snap swivels to the boards and pull forward and chain should be no further away from lead line than 8 inches. With tickle chain set up right you can pull a little faster and cover more area. It will also help save the trawl webbing if you hang up on something.

Peanut rollers:
You can buy split peanut roller and add to lead line to help keep from picking up so much mud and shells after adding tickle chain.

100 feet is too much especially if pulling in canals and small bays where turning around may be necessary. 75 feet is plenty. Just remember that most places inshore the water isn't too deep. You need to make S turns going back and forth over the prop wash to keep going in a site line direction. Turning port, keep the starboard rope inside the arc of the prop wash. Vice versa the other turn.

My 16 foot trawl came with thimbles on the ends of the lariat ropes. So I took some chain and ran it through the holes where you would tie the lariat ropes (cork and lead lines). The snaps I used are smooth and the webbing had never hung up on them. The chain aided in adjusting the boards by losing a link to shorten the line. Also I used a snap with a swivel to attach the tickle chain to the chain in the boards.

Always keep a sharp knife handy and make sure it it always in the boat where it should be. I was dragging the east end of Lake Pontchartrain one night and a storm blew in real fast. Didn't have time to bring in the net. Ended up cutting my lines and saved my boat from sinking. 12 boats sunk that night.

Hint #2:
Use a tail float that is easily found and identified in case you need to use hint #1.
'Midget Shrimp Boat'
...guess I'am gonn'a go hide !!!...all we pulled was a 10 ft w/a single rope and sometimes a weighted Hula Hoop w/a big sock...when they were runn'n we always had plenty but still hung a 'super sharp' filet knife on a motor mount handle...and ice water was always best !!! cheers
rope length
while I agree 75 ft is fine in shallow water when you get into 10-15 ft of water or find a few deep canals that extra 25 ft of rope is needed so you aren't pulling the trawl upward and lifting it.

its always easy to shorten the ropes in shallow areas but you cant easily add onto them when you need a little more and longer ropes also give you more room to maneuver so your prop wash stays out of the path of the trawl.

excellent point about a knife on board but I use it for those crab trap ropes and such that tangle in your prop and heaven forbid you get the trawl wrapped in it you need to be able to cut it free.

I use snap hooks to attach the trawl to the boat so I cant unhook and drop the trawl free in an emergency to escape a storm.

I found antifreeze jugs work great for a tail float but those mooring bumpers are good too
rope length
while I agree 75 ft is fine in shallow water when you get into 10-15 ft of water or find a few deep canals that extra 25 ft of rope is needed so you aren't pulling the trawl upward and lifting it.

its always easy to shorten the ropes in shallow areas but you cant easily add onto them when you need a little more and longer ropes also give you more room to maneuver so your prop wash stays out of the path of the trawl.

excellent point about a knife on board but I use it for those crab trap ropes and such that tangle in your prop and heaven forbid you get the trawl wrapped in it you need to be able to cut it free.

I use snap hooks to attach the trawl to the boat so I cant unhook and drop the trawl free in an emergency to escape a storm.

I found antifreeze or clorox jugs work great for a tail float but those mooring bumpers are good too
I used snap hooks on my ropes also.
Pulling a 35' trawl with 4' boards and running 3,500rpm to keep waves from washing over and into the boat, Samson with his long hair wouldn't be able to pull enough slack to unhook those ropes!
Not sure if I could pull enough slack with a 16' trawl at regular pulling speeds.

Deep water? You don't need to be on bottom anyways. That's why wingnets do so well in deep water.

I agree with the drinking water. I can go without food for a while, but I can't go without something to drink for very long.
lets keep it going I am learning stuff from youalls post one question where do you get split penut rollers
Keaker with Rec license you are only allowed 100lbs. I was catching that with a 16ft by 9am(startedat dayight) Thats why when I went to bigger net I found it was more cost effective to get the commercial. I could keep as much as i could carry. I could also sell my catch too. 40lbs of shrimp @ $3 lb covrs your commercial license.
Basically its $25 for rec up to 16ft
$85 for rec over 16ft
$125 or Commercial lic, gear license, boat license, and fresh produce license. For me it was a no brainer.
Mike Guses has the rollers. Kevin bought some last year
Re: Shrimp Trawl
Forgive me for 'trawling' up a very old thread. However this is a very informative thread and still current for today's recreational shrimpers. I found this video about trawling for fish with a 120 foot net, The thing I found interesting is the AMAZING video of the boards in action under water. Basically the 900lb doors function the same as our 30 inch doors. You can get a good idea as to what the previous posters say about how important door setup is. I will be painting my doors today for my 16 however I may have too small of boors. They are maybe 20 inches at the most and no tickle chain. After several tries I have forests gump syndrome. NEVER caught one shrimp. Plenty of jelly fish.

We have one of the old 19 Fantail boats with the built in tubes to slip in 1.5' pipes to raise the trawl ropes higher. How tall should the slip in pipes be? DO I tie the trawl line at the top of the pipe? or tie the line to the boat middle cleats and run the line up and through an eye at the top of the pipe. will this reduce any load on the pipes?

My plan is to
Paint the doors
Add a tickle chain.
Cut some galvanized pipe.

Thanks to LA sportsman for keeping archived threads with great info..


Better video
Re: Shrimp Trawl PART A
The second video is no doubt the most factual....since its filming! Those tests with various nets, size webbing, different boards, different speeds, BUT WITH THE SAME VESSEL (65' TRAWLER w/6.0 to1 Allison gearing, Detroit diesel, concrete in its keel for stability, etc...)! SEA CONDITION WAS FLAT CALM WITH NO NOTICEABLE WINDS!

This boat, GEORGIA BULLDOG, was only able to spread a certain type of net ONLY 96%? WITH THE USE OF certain size webbing, certain size boards and at a particular speed!

This video basically, shows/proves that no vessel can fully spread a trawl to 100% top/cork line length! People pulling 16', 25', 35', etc trawls are only spreading their net approx.

ADDITIONALLY, the video basically, shows/proves that no vessel can fully spread a trawl to 100% top/cork line length! People pulling 16', 25', 35', etc trawls are only spreading their net approx.



May 28, 2018 tried again SEVERAL TIME to make a complete post AFTER changing password, etc SAME RESULTS...WEBSITE GETTING ALMOST UNBEARABLE!!!
Re: Shrimp Trawl
Hey Father-in-law,

When you bringing me an ice chest of shrimp? We need proof that the tickle chain works. You know where I live.
Re: Shrimp Trawl
Re: Shrimp Trawl PART B
LESS THAN 70% of the measurable head line. Especially, those using boats with flat bottoms,which is skidding/sliding across the surface more-so when attempting to turn.

Prop/wheel wash does affect the catch when dragging in 8' or less, especially when the wash is between the two pulling ropes/cables!
Re: Shrimp Trawl
No difference in cost of a recreational license for a 16' trawl - 25' trawl. You are only allowed to catch 250 lbs a day.
Re: Shrimp Trawl
License for up to a 16' trawl is $25 and allows 100 pounds shrimp per day. License for over 16' up to 25' cost $80 and allows 250 pounds shrimp per day.
Re: Shrimp Trawl
Possession Limits:

Recreational fishermen using cast nets, dip nets, or bait seines may not take more than 50 pounds of shrimp per day during closed shrimp season and 100 pounds of shrimp per day during the open season, in aggregate, per boat or vehicle, regardless of the number of people on-board or in the vehicle.

Recreational shrimpers using trawls 16 FOOT OR LESS are limited to 100 pounds (heads on) of shrimp per boat per day.

Recreational shrimpers using trawls BETWEEN 16 FOOT AND 25 FOOT (greater than 16' BUT less than 25') are limited to no more than 250 pounds of (heads-on) shrimp per day per boat

Recreational fishermen may only use shrimp they harvest for bait or their own consumption. These shrimp may not be sold, traded, or otherwise permitted to enter commerce.
Certain WMAs and state and federal refuges may have different possession limits. Consult your local LDWF office or see the latest recreational regulations brochure for details.