At the start of every season, once the gear is set, there is a considerable amount of time to burn. If we are fishing 225 to 250 pots it would take roughly six or seven hours to dump the entire load. They would go over in 7 to 8 thirty pot strings, and cover 15 to 20 miles. By the time we ran back to the first pot it should have 8 to 10 hours on it.
Normally we wouldn't haul a string on a short soak (less than 18 hours) but one can get a feel for what's down there by pulling a pot at either end of each string, this is known as "spot checking". This is our usual practice even though we risk the possibility of being mislead ... for example if you caught 20 crab in twelve hours would that turn into a 60 crab in 36 hours? Hard to say but after roughly twenty pots, over twenty miles, one would have a pretty good idea which area had the stronger fishing.
With that said, by the time you set the load of pots (7 hrs), ran back (2 hrs),spot checked (7 hrs) then ran back again (2 hrs) now the first string has 18 hours soak on it and now we can finally haul the gear.
This scenario would not pertain to everyone because not all boats can carry such a large load of gear. When I was running the F/V Norseman, a much smaller boat, my plan was to run to the "storage area", pick up a hundred or so pots I had set prior to the season (no bait, doors open) and return to my original load, this would normally take 20 to 30 hours which would allow plenty of soak on the gear already set.
Capt. Monte "Wizard Mouse"