How to Catch a Fish
There are many different ways to catch a fish, and before you go fishing, you should decide what kind of fishing you want to do. Some of the things you need to think about are:
- where you want to fish, and if there are any closed areas there
- what kind of fish you want to catch
- what the rules are for catching that kind of fish
- the weather and sea conditions
- the type of boat and/or gear that you will need
Here are some ways to catch fish:
There are many kinds of fishing nets, but usually they are long, narrow, and flat with weights at the bottom edge and floats at the top so that the net hangs down into the sea like a wall, and fish swim into it and get caught in its mesh.
The most common type of netting used by recreational fishers is set netting. Commercial fishers also use set netting to catch some types of fish, like flounder and butterfish. Set netting involves setting a net halfway down or near the bottom of the sea, and leaving it there for fish to swim into.
The most common line fishing methods are hand-lines and long-lines.
Hand-lines are mainly used by recreational fishers. A hand-line is a single fishing line, usually attached to a rod, and held by hand.
Long-lines have a main fishing line, with lots of shorter lines hanging off it. The shorter lines have bait and hooks attached to them. The main line is anchored at each end, and floats stop the line from sinking. Long-lines can have a maximum of 25 hooks.
Line fishing is good because it doesn’t bruise or damage the fish as much as net fishing, but you can’t catch as many fish as quickly on a line as you can in a net.
Trawling is the most common commercial fishing method used in New Zealand waters. It is generally used for deep-water fisheries like orange roughy, hoki, ling, hake, and squid. A fishing boat tows a large net behind it, sometimes in the middle of the water, and sometimes on the sea floor. Sometimes two fishing boats might tow a big net together.
Seining (said like: “sayning”) involves commercial fishers dropping a net to surround and trap a school of fish. There are two types of seining – Danish seining, which is used to catch fish near the bottom of the sea, and purse seining, which is used to catch fish near the surface.
Dredging is used to gather scallops and oysters from shallow water. The fishing boat tows a steel net (dredge) along the sea floor, and the net scraps up all the shellfish living there.
A pot-like trap that is attached to a long rope is baited with fish and dropped from a fishing boat. The rope is marked with floats so that the fisher can easily find the line when they want to haul up the pot again. Potting is used to catch rock lobster and blue cod.
Some commercial and recreational fishers dive for paua, scallops, and rock lobster. You are only allowed to go snorkelling for paua (not scuba diving).
What other ways to catch a fish can you think of?
These days, there is more than just luck involved in finding a good fishing spot. Fishers use a lot of electronic equipment to help them.
A modern deep-water trawler will carry millions of dollars worth of electronic equipment, including a colour echo sounder and a satellite navigation system.
Colour echo sounders
A colour echo sounder helps find fish and shows the depth of the sea. A transducer sends out a pulse. The pulse travels down to the sea floor and bounces back up. The pulse changes when it passes through air in the swim bladder of fish, and the different sound this makes shows fishers where a school of fish might be.
Whales use the same kind of echo sounder system by making high-frequency clicking sounds.
Satellite navigation systems
Fishing boats also use satellite navigation systems. A computer on the boat uses satellites in space to see exactly where the boat is, and to map the location of the fishing grounds.