First catch your prawns – the earliest you can start depends on the sea temperature. April and May produce some large female prawns full of brood and some people enjoy the orange colour eggs (when cooked) as an added bonus. Again depending on the sea temp around about October sees them start to disappear. To catch them can be attained by using prawn pots, drop nets or a push net. The pots can be bought at some tackle shops with deals being made for the purchase of three or more. These are ready to go and only need a length of cord attaching, along with a couple of small weights fixed to the bottom to keep them on the seabed. There are small pouches in which you can put the bait in. Bait can be anything fishy and smelly, I use kippers.
The traditional prawn drop net can be a very efficient way of catching and can be worked at a quicker pace than the pots. To get proficient with these use as many as you can, and bait them up the same as the pots. When worked in the rock pools you will need a small length of cord on the net with a few corks at the end. With the help of a pole and a bent wire coat hanger fastened on it in the shape of a hook you can put and pull in the nets to your advantage.
For the more energetic then the push net will be the answer. Needless to say when using all these items, low water is going to create the best results. Any sandy patch will produce, and is best viewed at extreme low water for any rocks or gulleys that might be dangerous to the pusher. Neoprene chest waders will keep you warm unless you are the hardy type. Whilst on the subject of caution always know when it is low water and consider when to pack-up and not get caught out by the rising tide. Push nets can be made; however, some tackle shops sell a two size version at not great expense. A small mesh bag or a plastic bucket will keep your catch safe and wet until you take them to cook. Another thing to look out for is by catches that you find that you have trawled up. These will be mainly small flat fish – but be careful of weavers. If you do get pricked by a weaver … don’t panic. The infected area should be cleansed with very hot water and no after effects encountered, however, if there is then go to the nearest A&E. Don’t panic unless you have a weak heart, and consider that there are hardly any fatalities experienced but only discomfort or swelling. Again, if unsure then take medical advice … or make sure you don’t get pricked.
Cooking is simple. Boil a saucepan of salted water, and then pop in the prawns. Within a couple of minutes they are cooked. Run under a cold tap to stop any more cooking with the steam and leave to cool.
I’m not going to tell you how to eat them as I feel I have given enough secrets away on one of the finer pleasures of life already.