Ropeless Fishing Gear For
Small Boat Operations
What about the small business fisherman who have been fishing for generations? In the last newsletter we discussed the speed of fishing operations and how it compared to traditional surface buoys. In one example, we estimated a Lobsterman fishing between 400-800 pot traps, setting 20 trawls in 100 fathom could save up to 40 minutes by not having to set end lines and buoys. To help you determine your speed of operation using the ARC-1XD Individual Release System we created this worksheet (click here).
So what about the fishermen who work on small boats by themselves? Are you part of the thousands of fisherman who work inshore or near coastal areas? A one person operation fishing singles, doubles, or triples? It's true most of the benefits from using ropeless fishing gear go to larger fishing operations with many traps per trawl. But that's not how everyone is fishing is it?
For that reason we decided to design a less expensive, fisher optimized system called the ARC-2 Broadcast Release System.
It is best used for low-medium current conditions and inshore waters.The ARC-2 only operates in 'broadcast mode' and the control deck box aboard the boat is just a simple design with an ON/OFF switch.
The control deck box is waterproof so it works well for boats with an open cabin where everything gets wet. It broadcasts a fisher specific release code so only your buoys within range will pop-up and not your neighbors. Watch this video demonstrating the on/off switch operation for the broadcast release method.
Flip the switch to begin hauling in your gear and leave it on so each buoy will pop-up ahead of your boat as you work down the line.
Worried about space for the release bag? How can you fit extra gear onto your boat? Here are a few methods to consider:
1. The rope bag might be small enough to fit into the trap with the rope.
2. The empty bags can be flattened and stacked in one area.
3. The empty bags can be towed over the side in place of the surface buoys.
Or don't use a bag design at all! The bag design is a tried and true method that works very well for some fishers that have been using it since ropeless gear became commercially available. It is especially useful in deep water and high tide areas where enough scope can be used so that the buoys can be hauled before the current drags them back under. There are other alternatives to bottom stowed rope. If you are fishing in shallow depths you might prefer the rope to be looped and mounted to the top of the trap along with the release system.
Do you have any ideas? What might work best for your operations?
Click the picture for a video tutorial: How To Build A Release Bag.
How to optimize bag filling to re-bait and set your traps
This may be slow at first, in particular if you do the filling by hand. Instead, set up a bag re-filling station under your block (hydraulic winch). With a rope design that can attach the buoys at either end, you can remove the buoys and refill an empty bag as you haul in your traps. After some experience with ropeless fishing you might begin thinking of a number of ways to increase efficiency such as work stations and fixtures for tasks like release re-arming and how to avoid various snag potentials. Watch for the next newsletter that will discuss more about bag designs and ways to optimize a fishing vessel for ropeless fishing with pop-up buoys on-demand.
Re-bait your trap, Re-arm the acoustic release and you're on your way.
How much does it cost?
An ARC-2 broadcast release system example for ropeless fishers: You are fishing 100 trawls totaling 300 traps (triples). Your 100 surface buoys and end lines are replaced with an ARC-2 with an expected lifetime of 10 years service. The cost for 100 release bags with 80 fathom of rope is $134 per bag with an estimated lifetime of 5 years service. The total yearly cost per trawl is $107.80
$720 per ARC-2 (quantity 100) or $72 per year
$4,000 STM-4 Deck Box or $4 per trawl over 10 years
$5 Annual Supplies & Maintenance Cost
$26.80 per release bag over 10 years
$107.80 Total Annual Cost Per Trawl
ARC-2 Broadcast Release Price List
can be found online or contact firstname.lastname@example.org