Fresh Prawns are considered some of the best eating and can be prepared in a variety of different ways. For me, nothing beats freshly caught prawns straight to the table simmered in a nice and spicy curry.
Prawns aren’t the most expensive seafood but catching Prawns is well worth the time and money.
However, they are a seasonal species and as the weather warms up in Victoria Prawns become abundant in estuaries. Particularly from September to April in the northeastern parts of the state.
Prawning, unlike fishing, requires a whole different set-up and method. The most common and easiest way for any land-based angler is wading. This basically requires searching for prawns in knee-deep water and netting them with the aid of a Flounder or Prawn light.
Location and the right conditions
As the time of the year warms up between September to April. Prawns become abundant in local estuaries in the Northeastern parts of Victoria. Particularly Lakes Entrance. When targeting these estuaries the right conditions can greatly increase your success rate.
Prawns are best targeted at night with a runout tide, as this allows Prawns to use the estuaries to travel into open ocean waters and greatly reduces the risk of getting eaten by predators. A new moon also reduces visibility and you’ll find more prawns are out and about.
Wading during calm non-windy nights also helps prevent water disturbance on the surface and allows you to see where prawns are swimming.
Once the stars have aligned and you have found your self in the ideal conditions. Wade around banks and sandy patches rather than weedy areas as Prawns will be in greater numbers.
Equipment and Gear required to catch Prawns
Once you know how and when to locate Prawns there are a few necessary pieces of equipment you must have.
Firstly, getting into knee-deep water for long periods of time can take a toll on the body and I recommend investing in some nylon and PVC waders. For good quality waders, they should set you back roughly under a $100.
Catching prawns will require specific nets and my recommendation is to find nets that have a fine mesh and are deep. This will prevent any prawns from slipping through the holes or jumping out. Handles greater then 1.8m is ideal to reach further and net multiple prawns in the one movement.
Prawning can be done with a torch or headlamp but you’ll find the light reflects off the surface and makes wading harder and inefficient. The best option would be to use an underwater battery operated prawn or flounder light.
Work underwater lights by facing the light towards the Prawn and placing the net behind them. Once the prawn spooks it will shoot back and into the net. It’s simple as that but once you experience prawning you’ll understand how jumpy these guys can be.
Once a prawn has been netted you’ll need something to store these guys in without getting out of the water. Various floating rigs can be used but I found the cheapest alternative is to use a plastic tub. Quarter fill the tub with water and attach a rope to the handle to prevent it from floating away.
Regulations and restrictions around prawning
As referenced from VFA ‘Victorian Fisheries Authority’ prawn catch limits and regulations are in place within Victorian waters. A total of 30L of whole prawns or 5L of meats is allowed.
This includes a combination of prawn species. Before heading out on to the water it’s best to check state and local regulations as the limitations below may vary.