Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Surface Long Liners

Fishing Vessel Types – Long Liners

There are almost as many types of fishing vessels as there are types of fish in the sea with many vessels being designed and rigged to target a certain type of fishery.

Today’s topic will be on long line fishing vessels, targeting top water(surface) pelagic fish, such as sword fish & tuna.

Longliners are given that name as they are using lines anywhere from 2 – 50 miles long, which are set out behind the boat with baited hooks attached at set intervals and with buoys and high flyers ( a floating pole with a flag and possibly radar reflector and strobe light attached) also at set intervals. In addition to the high flyers on each end and in middle of the long line, they may have a beeper attached for electronic tracking.

The hooks are attached to the main line (long line) by gangions which are a length of rope or cable which the length is set by how deep the fisherman would like the hook to be below the surface or long line it is attached to. In addition the longline itself can be set at different depths by the line attached to it by the buoys. This depth is many times set by temperature gradients, with the fisherman looking for the “edge” of the cold/warm water.

The line is set out and released from the boat for a determined amount of time, and is floating with the currents and the vessel jogging in position with the line or in some cases “running the line” to check it’s progress by the state of the buoys. After the set time the long line is retrieved to the vessel onto the longline spool by hydraulics with the crew removing fish as the line enters the boat.

There have been many types of vessels converted and rigged for long lining, from sport fisherman types to shrimpers, all depending on targeted species and distances and types of water to be travelled. The requirement being room for the size long line reel needed and deck space to retrieve and dress out fish as well as good cold storage area. The US Gulf shrimpers make excellent vessels for long liners. They have great sea keeping abilities, large ice holds, good fuel capacities, and very roomy back decks for gear. Ocean Marine has been involved in many shrimper to long liner conversions over the years. 

Want to learn more about other types of Commercial Vessels? Read "What are the different types of commercial vessels?"

Article by Steve Kokinos