Leonard Kleinpeter stresses that a proper dip net is needed to effectively catch grass shrimp from their preferred habitat, dense beds of coontail and other aquatic plants.
Store-bought nets with their deep floppy mesh material and flimsy handles just won’t cut it.
He makes his own net by stretching metal window screen across a dip net frame. It is stretched just tightly enough to allow it to sag very slightly, and wired to the frame with picture frame-hanging wire.
Kleinpeter offered three cautions. First, the screen wire must be smooth so that a small bait dip doesn’t hang up on a burr. Also, the net handle has to have “some horsepower,” as he puts it, to work in heavy grass beds.
His metal handle is reinforced enough for him to use the net as a paddle to help push his boat through grass beds as he dips for shrimp.
Finally, allow enough time to find water grass beds. For reasons he can’t explain, water plant beds have become scarce in the Lake Verret area. “There used to be grass everywhere. In just a couple of years they have almost disappeared, “he moaned.
Kleinpeter used repurposed plastic margarine containers to cornmeal his shrimp. Whatever container is used, it should be high-sided because grass shrimp hop actively when out of water.
“The cornmeal makes the little rascals easier to catch and hold,” he explained. “You need to re-bait rapid fire when you are on a bed of fish.”
1. Leonard Kleinpeter’s shrimp net looks like nothing so much as a giant tennis racket.
2. Dip the net under dense water plant beds and lift it clear of the water. The net will be quite heavy.
3. Remove the plants from the net, shaking them briefly before discarding them.
4. With the bowl of the large wire net held slightly submerged, scoop the shrimp from it with a small bait dip net and drop them into a container of water.
5, After dipping is finished, net several dozen shrimp and drop them into a plastic container with about a half-cup of cornmeal.