A trawler net is in the form of a funnel, the most practised method of fishing in our waters. There are two types of trawling; “bottom trawling” and “pelagic” or “mid water” trawling.
Bottom Trawling (Otter and Beam)
The body of the trawl is funnel-like, wide at its « mouth » and narrowing towards the cod end, and is usually fitted with wings of netting at the both sides of the mouth. The net is held open at the top with floats and/or kites attached to the « headline » (the rope which runs along the upper mouth of the net), and weighted « bobbins » attached to the « foot rope » (the rope which runs along the lower mouth of the net). These bobbins vary in their design depending on the roughness of the sea bed which is being fished. The cod end is the trailing end of the net where fish are finally « caught ». The size of mesh in the cod end is a determinant of the size of fish which the net catches. Large rectangular otter boards (Otter Trawling) are used to keep the mouth of the trawl net open. Otter boards are made of timber or steel and are positioned in such a way that the hydrodynamic forces acting on them when the net is towed along the seabed, pushes them outwards and prevents the mouth of the net from closing. Beam Trawling is the simplest method of bottom trawling, the mouth of the net is held open by a solid metal beam, attached to two « shoes », which are solid metal plates, welded to the ends of the beam, which slide over and disturb the seabed. This method is mainly used on smaller vessels.
Pelagic or Midwater trawling
Pelagic trawling is also known as Midwater Trawling. Whilst two boats can be used, single-boat trawling is more common. Here, the horizontal spread of the net is provided by trawl doors (also known as « otter boards »). Trawl doors are available in various sizes and shapes to remain elevated in the water. The doors essentially act as wings, using a hydrodynamic shape to provide horizontal spread. As with all wings, the towing vessel must go at a certain speed for the doors to remain standing and functional. Modern large mid water trawls are rigged in such a way that floats are not required, relying on downward forces from weights to keep the vertical opening open during fishing.
The nets are rectangular with the upper line fitted with floats and the bottom weighted. The fish are surrounded by warps (rope) laid out on the seabed with a trawl shaped net at mid-length. As the warps are hauled in, the fish are herded into the path of the net and caught.
A purse seine is made of a long wall of netting framed with float line and lead line (usually, of equal or longer length than the former) and having purse rings hanging from the lower edge of the gear, through which runs a purse line made from steel wire or rope which allow the pursing of the net. This method is generally used for catching migratory fish by their gills. The nets are generally put in place the evening and taken out at daybreak by the aid of a hydraulic power block. There exists different of net types including three nets or just one net.
Angling is trying to catch fish with a hook with bait or lure. From this simple ancestral technique many adaptations have been created depending on the species and quantities desired.
Lines fitted with one or more hooks used either in shallow rocky areas for fish such as: bar, pout, Pollack, sea bream, or in deep areas with commercial equipment; hake.
Hand line fishing, or hand lining
Hand line fishing, or hand lining, is fishing with a single fishing line, which every few centimetres has several hooks fitted with lures (often brightly coloured feathers).
The line can be jigged or moved back and forth in a series of short movements. It is often used jiggling in deep waters amongst a shoal of fish, the boat being wet or thrown when the shoal is on the surface. This method can be used for mackerel (7 – 10 hooks), bar (4 -5 hooks) and the garfish.
These lines are where the hook is fitted with a lure and is dragged behind the boat. They are attached in numbers of 2 to 6, on outriggers, poles lowered horizontally, whose role is to remove propeller wash and minimise engine vibration. Outriggers are usually as long as the boat. Each line is joined to the vessel with a « yo-edge » that can turn the fish when hooked. It has mostly a buffer consisting of a piece of elongated rubber, that when the fish bites it warns the fisherman. This method is uses for bass (especially during spring tides) in depths of 15 to 20m, the lure (spoon or rubber eel) being dragged close to the bottom (2 lines per pole).
Demersal or Bottom fishing
The technique involves a weighted mainline rigged with baited snoods that drag along the seabed. The lure or bait can be mackerel, sand eels, chinchards, crab and squid. Types of fish caught with this method are sharks like the tope, the dogfish, rays and dogfish, conger, ling, sea bream, the whiting, pout and gurnard.
Bar line fishing
The main line is maintained in the water by floats placed every 24 to 30m. There is a snood line every 4 to 5m. The bait generally used for this method is crab or sand eels. The line is left from between 2 to 4 hours in the water.