Senior report: Shrimping adventure - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Senior report: Shrimping adventure

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

 LAKE CHARLES,LA. (KPLC) -Ever wonder what it takes for commercial shrimpers to catch those shellfish that are such a mainstay in Louisiana culture? Some friends embark on an adventure to find out. @

The sun is setting. The crew is ready. And four ladies-- an attorney, a T-shirt craftsman, a science teacher and a reporter set out on a voyage-- to find out what it's like to go shrimping on a commercial vessel in Cameron parish.

Says shrimper Talesha Pugh when asked if there are any pitfalls to avoid, "Watch the catfish, watch the crabs, watch for stingrays because they will get you."

And then,  the Master Damon sets sail. And while conditions are such that there may not be many shrimp, it's still a chance for adventure.  We sing a chorus from the old TV show Gilligans Island, "The weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was tossed. If not for the courage of the fearless crew the Minnow would be lost. The Minnow would be lost."

The butterfly nets are lowered and nets raised regularly before they get too heavy.  Says adventurer Kitty Clark, "I haven't been in the channel in years. It's great to be out trying the channel again and I've never been on a shrimping boat."

 Adventurer Carla Chrisco has always wanted to do this.  "My daddy, when I was a little girl, he owned a shrimp boat but he never would let me go out with him so now I get to see it first hand."

Adventurer Judy Reeves says the trip appeals to her sense of curiosity.  "I would like to see where I get my food and what they do to get it here."

 Even if the tides aren't right for shrimp--the Gulf's bounty is a sight to behold.  The nets are opened onto the deck and thousands of tiny, silvery pogey fish pour out, along with a few shrimp and finfish. "Whew that's a big catfish, huh?" I ask the deckhand. Another shows a little fish that fits in his hand.  "It's a spade fish," he says.

The visiting women serve as deck hands to get the full experience. Luckily, there will be enough shrimp for all to bring a sack home.

And the group agrees getting older doesn't mean life has to be boring or without new experiences. Says Carla, "It was fun. I don't think I could do it all the time but I thought it was a lot of fun."

 Kitty wears a T-shirt that says, "I'm not getting older I just need to be repotted."  When asked about being considered senior citizen she quips, "I just happened to be a twenty year old who turned 63 but that doesn't make me a senior citizen."

And Judy, the youngest of the bunch, scorns any idea of slowing down.   "I'm going to continue finding new things to do and places to go and people to meet. Oh, I'm never going to sit in a rockin' chair just to sit."

And as they leave the boat and move across the rickety looking walkway toward the parking lot, they smile knowing life is full of possibilities for those willing to try new things.

The ladies won the trip after bidding on it at a local charity auction.

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