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Old 03-24-2017, 03:23 PM   #1
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Fishing from a trawler

We are trawler wishing and looking for pros and cons. Right now we have an offshore boat that we use for cruising, some overnights, and lots of offshore fishing. Other than speed, seems like a trawler with decent open stern could handle most all types of offshore fishing.

Anyone use their trawler for fairly hard-core fishing? How's that work for you?
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Old 03-24-2017, 03:27 PM   #2
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Mr. h. The major drawback I can see for a lot of trawlers is deck height. Netting or gaffing is most easily accomplished when closer to the water unless a long handled net/gaff is used. If one wishes to release a fish, it's swim platform time. The ideal "trawler", IMO would be a cockpit motor yacht.
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Old 03-24-2017, 03:59 PM   #3
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One problem I have is trolling--for salmon you are better off using downriggers and trolling at 2 +/- knots. I can't get that slow.
Pondered a trolling valve but rejected that idea.
Decided I'll hire a guide and use their boat for salmon--cheaper, easier and I might even catch some.

I can still drift and bottom fish though--using the swim platform as mentioned.
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Old 03-24-2017, 04:13 PM   #4
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I fish the SF Bay and CA Delta regularly from my trawler. Not quite the same as fishing offshore as our waters are protected and relatively benign. My fish of choice is white sturgeon which my 34 LRC Californian handles quite well. The cockpit is about 6 ft x 12 ft...ample for 3-4 anglers, even better suited for 1-2. My boat has twin Perkins 4.236 85 HP diesels so its cruise is about 7.5 Kts. Other models of this boat come with engines up to twin 250 HP diesels that can scoot along at upwards of 20 Kts. Having a boat with speed as an option certainly has its advantages when fishing offshore.

No gaffs, snares or tail ropes allowed in sturgeon fishing. I wish I had a tuna door to pull the big girls aboard, but I manage with a net and brute force.

One area where I'd pay attention is hull design. Mine is semi-planing so it's flat at the aft sections providing good roll stability at anchor. Other FD hulls might be a bit too rolly for fishing.

My friend has a GB42 Classic that is a bit too high off the water for serious fishing...and a small aft deck that I'd hesitate to call a cockpit. Sitting on the aft cabin makes good water-level access difficult.

My LRC has double aft doors that open wide to provide ease of flow in and out of the boat. My aft galley counter serves as a great bait station, albeit one that needs to be cleaned during use to contain the smell and mess. It helps to have the galley sink right there, too.

I enjoy what I call Slipper Fishin'. My trawler affords me the opportunity to fish and cruise in comfort. It's like having a floating fishing cabin or a floating mancave! It's a retirement dream come true for me but, of course, YMMV.





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Old 03-24-2017, 04:16 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktdtx View Post
One problem I have is trolling--for salmon you are better off using downriggers and trolling at 2 +/- knots. I can't get that slow.
Pondered a trolling valve but rejected that idea.
Decided I'll hire a guide and use their boat for salmon--cheaper, easier and I might even catch some.

I can still drift and bottom fish though--using the swim platform as mentioned.


Have you looked into using a sea anchor to get down to 2knots ?
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Old 03-24-2017, 04:23 PM   #6
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We fish every time we go out.

Best bet is to get a boat that has the cockpit at the waterline height or thereabouts. No aft cabins.
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Old 03-24-2017, 05:08 PM   #7
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I fish quite often, but it's not the ideal boat. Its soft chines make it a bit rolly in rough water without the sails for stabilization.
I fish from the cockpit, which is just above water level, and I can reach fish with a short gaff. I have a swim platform, but unless I'm in protected water I wouldn't be going out there.

Other than that - I have to clear the cockpit of cushions etc when fishing for bluefin tuna. It tends to look like a chainsaw massacre after pulling a couple aboard. Squid can also make a mess.
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Old 03-24-2017, 06:55 PM   #8
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Recreational trawlers aren't generally designed to optimize fishing. Some are better than others. Mine isn't, but I fish at the supermarket.
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Old 03-24-2017, 07:21 PM   #9
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Around here the prime offshore fishing areas are about 30-50 miles out that's a days trip in its self, at trawler speed. I have fished off mine a few times, bay fishing tied to oli field structures, it works out well, especially night fishing we have good 110V electric for spotlights and A/C for sleeping.
It is messy though, be ready for a long boat clean up if the fish were biting. A long gaff and landing net will be a help. No built in live wells or fish holds in a rec. trawler though.
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Old 03-24-2017, 07:22 PM   #10
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Lots of fish are caught by trawlers. Not the ideal platform for the reasons mentioned, but doable. The bigger variables are if there are fish there for you to catch, if you're at the right depth, using the right bait and if you're trolling, at the right speed. Do a little intel work.....ask the locals where the action is and also watch where they are fishing......there may be disconnect.
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Old 03-24-2017, 07:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyWright View Post
My fish of choice is white sturgeon which my 34 LRC Californian handles quite well.
Fishing for sturgeon in the Delta should be on everyone's bucket list. There is nothing quite like it.
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Old 03-24-2017, 08:09 PM   #12
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It is messy though, be ready for a long boat clean up if the fish were biting. A long gaff and landing net will be a help. No built in live wells or fish holds in a rec. trawler though.
Good points. An aft RW washdown hose helps with cockpit messes. If you have a solid swimstep, a bait tank and a very large cooler mounted back there can be useful.
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Old 03-24-2017, 09:21 PM   #13
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I have done a lot of it, and it works well, something to be said from a dedicated fishing vessel, but as it is a important part of my usage, we have installed trolling valves, installed a custom pot puller (removable, and complies with the boss's aka wife, requirement to not make it a fishing vessel), installed down riggers. A few photos of the results! Nothing like fishing and cooking bacon in the morning for breakfast.

Fished from Washington to Alaska,
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Old 03-24-2017, 11:21 PM   #14
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Quote:
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I have done a lot of it, and it works well, something to be said from a dedicated fishing vessel, but as it is a important part of my usage, we have installed trolling valves, installed a custom pot puller (removable, and complies with the boss's aka wife, requirement to not make it a fishing vessel), installed down riggers. A few photos of the results! Nothing like fishing and cooking bacon in the morning for breakfast.

Fished from Washington to Alaska,
Some pretty good fishing holes and lots of good eats there!
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Old 03-25-2017, 06:22 AM   #15
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we have 2 rod holders in the cockpit gunnels, I'm looking to add 3 more shortly. We often hang a line or two off at anchorage. We've only done a couple hardcore offshore trips in our boat but with some success!
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Old 03-25-2017, 07:09 AM   #16
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My boat was used extensively for fishing by three previous owners. They installed outriggers, fighting chair, 10 rod holders and four plugs for electric reels. The rear cockpit opens to the swim platform. I don't know why this would not work well, but will be trying later this year.

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Old 03-25-2017, 07:17 AM   #17
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Underway, off shore, we have a minimum of 2-50lb stand-up rods in the water. It can be a bit of challenge when we get a big fish since we can't back down on them and also trying to keep the fish stern to but we make it work with a single engine. Traveling at 6.5-7 knots is just about right. The fly bridge is indispensable for us. We can spot fish, weed lines or debris. It's pretty cool to see a dorado streaking across the water hitting the feathers.
The King Fish I caught the week.
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Old 03-25-2017, 07:41 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hjorgan View Post
Other than speed, seems like a trawler with decent open stern could handle most all types of offshore fishing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ktdtx View Post
One problem I have is trolling--for salmon you are better off using downriggers and trolling at 2 +/- knots. I can't get that slow.
Pondered a trolling valve but rejected that idea.
Decided I'll hire a guide and use their boat for salmon--cheaper, easier and I might even catch some.
Quote:
Originally Posted by gaston View Post
Have you looked into using a sea anchor to get down to 2knots ?

Our ride is obviously different from most trawlers but likely similar enough in some features to be able to comment. We troll for striped bass (locally: "rockfish") in the early Spring "trophy season" with 16 lines at about 2 kts plus/minus.

Helps to have trolling valves, otherwise we couldn't go that slow. Our gears are ZF 280-1As and the ZF trolling valves (came with the boat) look to me to me very simple add-ons. Boat neighbors without valves have tried pulling buckets to slow down enough, with limited success. New boat neighbor told me recently he could get slow enough if he deployed three clusters of 3 buckets each... but then that's beginning to clutter up the works, I think.

Helps to have a transom door, plus a decent net... and useful netting technique: net, then lift with the handle straight up, don't let weight bend the handle. (Can't use a gaff here, at least during that season.)

Doesn't hurt to have a swim platform; we've had to do some intermediate lifts, first to the platform, then into the cockpit.

Parts of our dinghy mount would be in the way a bit, but we have the luxury of being able to temporarily remove bits of that for our trolling season.

After that month-long fishing season, we clean the cockpit, replace the cockpit carpets... and it reverts to wifey's boat.

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Old 03-25-2017, 08:44 AM   #19
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Quote:
Have you looked into using a sea anchor to get down to 2knots ?
Hadn't really considered that but pulling a sea anchor and lines on downriggers would be a potential mess, I think.
But-it would be one way to slow me down.
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Old 03-25-2017, 08:48 AM   #20
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We moved last year from a 26-footer that was great for fishing to a 37 Nordic Tug that had not been used that way. Fortunately it did not have stantions at the rear corners to support the boat deck - I imagine they would have been in the way. Considered adding a trolling valve to the transmission for slower trolling, but decided the complexity was not worth it.

Added power downriggers, small shrimp pot puller, rod holders, big cooler etc and did fine on the Inside Passage last summer. Big halibut bottom fishing, king salmon mooching, coho trolling at 3.5 knots, crab, and spot prawns. We easily net salmon or harpoon halibut from the cockpit, but ours is relatively close to the water compared to some.
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