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Hook + Line Caught
A labor of love...
Our salmon, lingcod, and rockfish are all caught one at a time, by hook and line. If you've ever been sport trolling in the Pacific, it's a lot like that (but on steroids). Our fishery is called "power trolling" - Since we use "power" to pull our lines one via hydraulics.
Depending on the regulation of the area we're fishing, we drag between 4 - 6 lines behind the boat. We weigh our lines down with 60 - 80 lb lead cannon balls. Each line is anointed with 6 - 20 hooks, clipped on with a nickel "snap".
Needless to say, we utilize hydraulically driven motors off our main engine to pull our lines in. Our hydraulic motors turn large, brass spools called "gurdies". The gurdies hold our 28-stranded stainless steel wire, ideally in a neat and tidy stack inside the base of the spool.
Each of our lines has it's own spool, hence why the gurdies have three spools each - One 3-spool gurdie on each side of the boat makes 6 lines total.
Since the gurdies are powered off our main engine, if we lose power in the main, we lose power to pull in our lines as well - which leaves them drifting about under the boat, a slave to the current. 1,440 feet of wire, 100 hooks (each attached to 6 feet of monofilament), and 280 lbs of lead, all tangled up in an underwater rat's nest. Yes, this happens. Yes, more often than we wish it did.
Check out the gurdies
in action here:
They don't make em like this any more. These gurdies originally came with our boat when she was built in 1979.
Vibrant, orange and chartreuse "spoons" are used to entice coho salmon into biting the hook.
Now the goal of all this is that a fish will bite the hook, right? We don't land our fish using nets - they descale salmon, and the action of the fish flopping around results in a tougher meat (or so they say). Using the back of our gaff hook, we stun the fish in the top of the head with a finely tuned, quick SMACK. Then we turn the gaff around, and use the "hook" end to scoop the fish neatly into the boat. The goal is for the fish to be immobilized after it leaves the water - this both slows the rush of lactic acid, and prevents the fish from flopping around bruising itself.
After being landed, your catch is headed, gutted, and gently IV bled.
They're then washed thoroughly, and placed on the hatch to drain before going downstairs into the freezer.
We even vacuum them before sending them downstairs. Vacuuming the fish ensures there's no blood, sea lice, or slime... But most importantly, it removes excess moisture from the exterior of the fish, introducing as little moisture as possible into our freezer space. The less moisture gets down there, the more effeciently our freezer runs.
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