Descriptions of inshore fishing techniques

(based on Gray, 1995)



Target species

Otter Trawl demersal or pelagic Funnel shaped net held open by weighted ground rope, floats on the headline and the lateral paravaning effect of the otter boards or doors. 'Tickler' chains attached along the front of demersal nets dig into the seabed and disturb flatfish into the path of the net. Large rubber discs or steel bobbins on the ground rope enable the trawl to be towed over rocky ground, this is known as rock hopper gear. Cod, whiting, haddock, saithe, pollack, dogfish, Dover sole, plaice, flounder, turbot, monkfish and rays, Nephrops.
Pair Trawl Towed by two boats attached to the trawl by a single warp with no need for otter boards. Inshore trawlers can pair up, reducing fuel costs, speeding towing time and towing a bigger net. Used for both demersal and pelagic fish species.
Beam Trawl Net attached to a beam which keeps the mouth of the net open. The beam is supported by two triangular beam heads which run over the seabed. A chain matrix attached to the bottom of the net can prevent damage when used over rocky ground. Tickler chains may be attached for catching fish on sandy ground. Two beams may be trawled for stability. Dover sole, plaice, flounder, turbot, monkfish and skate, lobsters, crabs, crawfish, shrimp and Nephrops.
Demersal seine Vessel pays out a long rope with a trawl shaped net with extended wings at mid-length. The two free ends are then pulled back to the boat either whilst trawling slowly (fly/Danish seine) or whilst the boat is stationary (Anchor seine). Cod, whiting, haddock, saithe, pollack, dogfish, Dover sole, plaice, flounder, turbot, monkfish and rays.
Beach seine One end of the seine net is held on the beach with the rest of the net in a boat which proceeds to set the net in a circle. The net is then hauled onto the beach. Salmon, trout, bass, mackerel, mullet and sandeels.
Scallop Dredge Toothed metal bar rake up the molluscs and collects them in a reinforced bag or net. The bar may be spring loaded to prevent it catching on the seabed. Heavy dredges are required for scallops whilst light dredges or even otter trawls may be used for queens on the seabed. Queens and scallops
Mussel and Oyster dredge Metal toothed bar or blade digs into the seabed and scoops molluscs into the net. Mussels and oysters
Cockle dredge (hydraulic/ mechanical) Hydraulic suction dredge uses metal blades which dig up the sediment and a powerful jet of water exposes the cockles which are blown up a suction pipe onto the deck of a boat. A tractor dredge uses a plough-like blade to remove sediment which then is passed through a rotating drum with metal bars to separate the cockles. Cockles.

Hydraulic suction dredge sometimes used for razor shells and clams.

Gill net (fixed drift) Single sheets of netting are weighted at the bottom and have floats attached to the top to keep them vertical in the water. The nets may be attached to the seabed or floated form the surface. (These methods are unlawful for fishery for salmon in Scotland). Salmon, sea trout.
Tangle net Fixed loosely or horizontally from the seabed entangles catch by gill covers, legs, spines, appendages, jaws etc. Dover sole, crawfish, spider crabs, rays, plaice, turbot, brill, lobster, crabs, Nephrops, shrimp, flounder, monkfish.
Trammel net 3 layers of net fixed vertically with the outer 2 layers having a greater mesh size. Fish may be either caught in the outer net or push the smaller net through the outer net so trapping the fish in a pocket. Dover sole, plaice, cod, whiting, haddock, saithe, pollack, dogfish, flounder, turbot, monkfish and rays.
Salmon net and trap Drift net, seine net see above.

Haaf nets - hand held nets with fishermen standing against the tide.

T traps - leader approximately 200m stretching from beach to a headpiece which contains two traps with funnel entrances.

J nets - the leader turns back on itself to form a box or compound. Both these nets are made of a visible material and rely on the behaviour of the fish which are led to be netted in the chamber, although some may be enmeshed in the leader or chamber walls.

Bag nets- these nets are set in deep water from a boat. They comprise a leader stretching seawards from the shore to a trap.

Salmon and sea trout
Eel net and trap Most popular trap is the fyke net which is three chambers with one-way conical entrances and a leader to guide the fish in. Nets are often set to catch eels migrating to the sea spawning grounds at the end of summer through winter. Otter exclusion bars may be fitted. Eels
Pot (crustacean/


Inkwell pots - dome shaped with top entrance for crabs, crawfish and lobster.

Parlour pot - rectangular with two chambers, crustacea enter first baited chamber and are trapped as they enter the second chamber to escape.

Pots are often steel or plastic coated frames covered in netting and may be baited. The pots are anchored by a weighted base. Inshore 10-50 pots may be attached to a line.

Whelk pots - plastic drums weighted with concrete with netting surrounding the entrance hole, usually baited.

Crabs, lobsters, crawfish, whelks and prawns.
Longline Longlines have baited hooks attached to a main line by branch lines or snoods. Demersal fish such as cod, rays, ling and dogfish.
Hand line Rod and line using baited hooks or lures, may have mechanised reels. Good for bass when live sandeels are used as bait.
Hand gathering Shellfish are collected from intertidal areas using a spade or rake and put through a sieve to remove ones of marketable size. Some species are also collected by diving (scallops, razor shells). Shellfish, cockles, mussels, scallops, oysters and periwinkles.
Aquaculture (finfish/shellfish) Suspended cages used for finfish with nets deployed in various ways around the perimeter to reduce risk of predation from seals and birds. Shellfish culture includes laying on nets attached to rafts, floats or stakes (mussels), in trays (oysters and clams) and lantern nets (scallops). Salmon, turbot, halibut, mussels, oysters, clams, scallops.