People have enjoyed prawning in the Peel Inlet and Murray Estuary for a long time. Do you know what recreational fishermen used to do? Ross Kirkpatrick , school teacher and journalist, describes a night out in the late 1940s -
". in about November, when the prawns started to move, the first thing you did was go up to the mill at Dwellingup, and get two of the longest off-cuts you could find. Then you came back and asked some of the families that lived along the banks of the river (at West Murray or Yunderup), for their permission to put your two platforms in. These consisted of very rudimentary stakes, stuck into the ground, and the two long planks were fastened to the top.
Now prawning was done by fixing a prawn net, with a pocket, to two long poles - generally spearwood poles, strong and long. Come nightfall, you sprinkled a bit of bran, or pollard actually, on the bottom between the two planks going into the river, and when the prawns started to run, then the hard work started. You hoisted the net in the air, that's the net fastened to the two poles, you carefully walked out the planks, sometimes falling in, and then you threw the net in to the stream as far as you could get it, using the poles, and slowly dragging that out. The prawns would be swept in front of it and go down into the pocket of the net. You'd take that slowly right into the shore, put your poles down, grab the pocket and empty it out, and this would go on, when the prawns were running, it would go on all night.
If the prawns weren't running, you'd have a smoke in between, have a rest, and then as soon as the prawns started to run again, away you'd go. Sometimes you'd put a light on the bank, as close as possible to where you were dragging, and this acted as an attraction to the prawns if they were running, and you knew when to get going again. I think that method of prawning is banned now, I'm not sure. But, I think it was banned, because I haven't seen it for years.