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Old 10-08-2012, 02:40 PM   #1
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trawler for sport fishing

I'm looking to buy a 36-42' trawler and want to be able to fish from it easy. I will be living on it during the summers. Any advice on options or layouts to make fishing better. I've noticed that not all trawlers have an open rear deck, but what else should I look fo or avoid?

Thanks,
Mike
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Old 10-08-2012, 03:23 PM   #2
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What kind of fishing and where? Are you going to troll? Will you need riggers? How about a bait freezer? A livewell? Most trawlers don't have these things, though you can get around all of them.

For any kind of serious fishing (not salmon, ling cod and those other wet socks they call fish in CERTAIN areas of the world ;-)) you will need a cockpit, not an aft cabin style boat.
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Old 10-08-2012, 03:34 PM   #3
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West coast, inside passage mostly. Trolling and stationary fishing. Halibut is a favorite, then salmon, plus whatever else I can learn to catch for diner. I'm sure I'll also have a shrimp a crab pot.

Do you say "not an aft cabin" due to the rear deck space it uses?
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Old 10-08-2012, 04:40 PM   #4
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You need a rear cockpit area, that is an open rear deck area. Gets you lower to the water an easier to manage the fish you bring up. Room enough for a bait station and a tackle storage area would be nice as well. Some fish wells to put your fish in would also be desirable, although we fish off a 34 Californian LRC and use a large ice box for that. Think about what kind of speed you want and how far you will run to get to the fishing area. Other than trawlers you might consider a large Hatteras or other such boat which would be liveable as well as fishable.
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Old 10-08-2012, 05:05 PM   #5
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Good point about the low rear deck. i was thinking about a rear master cabin, but that seems to be a direct conflict. I think I'll be in the 7 knots cruise speed with the boats I've been looking at.

Since this is my retirement plan, I don't need to get to the area fast. I plan to pass through it slowly.

What is used for a fish cleaning/filleting station?
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:30 PM   #6
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Hobo's not perfect but we have caught lots of fish. She's not a sport fisher so you can't back down on the big guys. We put a 130 quart cooler for the dorado and bottom fish on the swim platform when that's what we are targeting. We always have 2 lines in the water when in transit. Going 6.5 to 7 knots is about perfect. At anchor, we throw, some live bait or chunks of tuna over the side, never knowing what you'll catch. Having the back deck and side decks is a plus. A sun deck is hard to fish off of. The dinghy is also fun to fish from. Cleaning fish, we use the swim platform and feed the sharks. For me, fishing is the most exciting thing you can do with your clothes on.
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:21 PM   #7
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African Pompano, right? Very nice.
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:23 PM   #8
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The keenest sport fishermen in our Yacht Club have the fastest boats. Seems it is much more important to be capable of getting to where the fish are, at 20 knots + , than to have the configuration of boat that would be most comfortable while fishing.
55+ Sea Ray for example.
or 32 Grady White
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:36 PM   #9
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I had the same reservations. While not perfect, fishing with an aft cabin boat is not that difficult. I spent most of yesterday trolling for Coho by myself. I was able to drop in 2 lines, using downriggers with no trouble. I run the boat from the flybridge so I can keep an eye on rods and forward. Use the autopilot most of the time. Since I am trolling at just a little over 2 kts, I had no problem checking the lines and not getting into trouble. When I had a fish on, I'd drop it back to just over 1kt, which is the idle speed and bring in the line. The AP did wander a small amount at such slow speed, but not much. I am able to net the fish from the back deck. I would not get on the swim step with only myself on the boat. I did avoid fishing where there were a lot of other boats. My AP has a long cable so I can make course adjustments from the stern if I want. I think that a sundeck trawler, where you are 5'+ off the water may be a bit more difficult.
The compromise, to me, is that the additional fishing space a sedan type boat has does not outweigh the large aft cabin, but everyone's different.
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:48 PM   #10
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Does a swim platform get in the way of fishing?

I have been looking at the 1980's Defever or GB with an aft cabin. Those seem to have a floorplan, style, and a price that I like. The aft deck seems to be several feet off the water. Might just need a long gaff and net??
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:52 PM   #11
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African Pompano, right? Very nice.
Doug: I only know it as a Pompano that was great eating. I caught it while trolling from the dinghy with a Rapala around some rocks in Tenacatita, MX. Now I know, thanks.
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:21 PM   #12
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Diesel cruisers like GBs and the like are, in my opinion, not very well suited for trolling in most of our waters up here. Even at idle rpm they tend to go too fast for downrigger trolling for kings. And running the diesels at idle for hours on end is not necessarily good for the engines, depending on what kind of engines the boat has. We do a lot of salmon, halibut, and ling cod fishing over the course of a year and none of the places we fish are places I would want to take a boat as large as our GB. We are often right up against cliffs or in amongst rocks, reefs, and islets, sometimes in pretty strong currents that carry you toward the shore or rocks.

If one fishes in more open water for halibut, like the charter boats out of Homer, AK for example, then a larger boat is fine obviously as witness the size of the charter boats. Of if you're into jigging for salmon on the big shallow bars like Possession Point here in Puget Sound. But close in to shore we've found it's really nice to have a more nimble, maneuverable boat. And one that's fast, too.

There are ways to slow a cruising boat down some without running the engines at dead idle all the time. Trolling valves on the transmission(s) is one way. Dragging something--- buckets, sea anchor, drogue, etc.)-- behind the boat is another. Coho tend to like a faster lure but for kings the best lure speed seems to be about 2-3 mph which for most diesel cruisers is pretty much dead idle.

The people we know who really like to fish while on a cruise use their dinghies, and the ones they have are large enough to do the job properly. Boston Whalers, Bullfrogs, etc. I use our 9' Livingston for ling cod fishing among the rocks and little islands and for crabbing. But only in protected waters. It's not suited for trolling in the often-choppy Rosario Strait, for example.

But in almost 30 years of fishing Puget Sound and BC, we've found that the best way to do it is with a purpose-built fishing boat. In our case it's a 17' Arima (photo) but boats up to about 25' work really well. You can fit them into tight spots, you can get right up against a steep shoreline or cliffs, and you can troll out in the open waters even it it gets choppy. You can play a fish no matter where it goes in relation to the boat without the worry of obstructions like cabins, masts, booms, stowed dinghies, keels, deep props and rudders, etc. You can go relatively economically with something like a used C-Dory or spend a fortune on a new Grady-White.

The last halibut I caught back in June was 100 pounds (photo). Even with the fish right beside us it was not an easy task to gaff it and get it in over the side of the Arima. A boat like our GB has too much freeboard to easily gaff and haul one of these things aboard unless you have good strong help. If for no other reason than the hand rails would get in the way.

And even though we usually bleed a halibut before we bring it into the boat the end result is invariably a big bloody mess as the fish flops around. Easy to sluice it out with buckets of water in the Arima. Having the blood and slime on the aft deck of the GB where it would drip down into the depths of the lazarette and so forth would not be so easy to clean up. And the GB has too much freeboard to be able to reach down and bleed the fish anyway.

You can certainly use a cruising boat for fishing but an aft-cabin boat like our GB would not be a good choice in my opinion. There is the freeboard issue and the aft deck is not all that large. A GB32 with its single engine and step-down aft cockpit would be a better choice over our boat if one was bound and determined to fish these waters with a cruising boat.

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Old 10-08-2012, 09:37 PM   #13
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The people we know who really like to fish while on a cruise use their dinghies, and the ones they have are large enough to do the job properly. Boston Whalers, Bullfrogs, etc.
With an inflated dinghy, are there practical concerns of a fish hook or other sharp object puncturing it?
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:42 PM   #14
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With an inflated dinghy, are there practical concerns of a fish hook or other sharp object puncturing it?
A good hypalon one would take you trying to puncture it...sure it can be done but none of my Avons over the last 30 years were punctured by something used in fishing...hooks, knives, etc...usually a dock nail...not from bumping it...but someone dragging the dingy across it.
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:51 PM   #15
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With an inflated dinghy, are there practical concerns of a fish hook or other sharp object puncturing it?
Well, it's always a possibility, I guess. But like psneeld says, the fabric on a quality inflatable or RIB is pretty tough so it would take quite an effort to punch a fish hook through it. You'd probably be at more risk of jabbing a gaff into it than a fish hook. And in the case of a halibut that can get downright violent when gaffed, it's possible the fish could drive the point of the gaff into the side of the boat.

Fabric dinghies are much more at risk on our rocky shores, the rocks of which are often covered in sharp-shelled barnacles and oysters. While they may not cut the fabric right off, dinghies are beached on the same part of the bottom every time so over time the fabric could get worn to the point of leaking air. This and UV deterioration are the two main reasons we determined to always have a hardshell dinghy.
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:51 PM   #16
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Our boat wont idle slow enough to troll for salmon so we use a 12 aluminum skiff for a shore boat/fishing boat. If your preferred method of salmon fishing is mooching, than this is not a concern. Also, you don't want a cockpit with a roof over it. All that stuff gets in the way of playing a fish. On the other hand a cockpit with a roof is a big plus in the Northwest. Also, if the boat has teak decks you will have a big mess to clean up after landing a fish.
I am going to the boat show this winter and will probably buy a larger aluminum boat to do my fishing, shrimping, crabbing out of. Also it will be great to use for exploring. Just keep the big boat anchored in a protected bay and explore or fish an area 50 miles around you. Good luck!
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Old 10-08-2012, 10:05 PM   #17
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The top of the aft cabin makes a good fish cleaning platform, with a big cutting board and plenty of water to rinse it off.
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Old 10-09-2012, 07:21 AM   #18
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With an inflated dinghy, are there practical concerns of a fish hook or other sharp object puncturing it?
There are concerns. Our last 11.5" Avon (Hypalon) had probably 8 or 9 small holes in it. The 10.5' RIB (Hypalon) we have now has 2. All holes are a result of fishing except one. No hooks or gaffs, just fish fins/spines. A little touch of super glue, then 2 part glue and a small patch and we're were good to go.


We have a hand gaff, a 5 gallon bucket, a section of carpet on the floor, gloves, towel, 5' of line and pliers when we fish from the dinghy. It's not always pretty but the results are good. A hard dinghy is better to fish out of but dinghy selection is for another thread.
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Old 10-09-2012, 07:39 AM   #19
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I'd venture 1/2 of all boats in the marina's north of Nanaimo have Scotty downrigger mounts on it. Yes, many sailboats too. Another 1/4 have a jigging pole. The rest don't fish at all.
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Old 10-09-2012, 08:14 AM   #20
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Can you mount an electric downrigger to any railing type?
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