Sunday, January 3, 2010

Beach Seine

This fall Dad started casting a beach seine off the beach at Otterhouse. Being a fisherman and all, he just happened to have a very keen interest in this type of activity AND a 50 year-old, 250 ft. net to boot. He and Mom, sometimes another helper, fish for smelt; a tasty little silver fish great for frying or smoking. So you want to know how they do it? First the fishermen place the seine in the stern of the rowboat. Dad is standing waist deep in the water (with a wet suit) on this particularly chilly, chilly morning. His williness to get wet in frigid water, gives you an indication of how powerful a drive this man has for this recreation (or it might be an indication of a lack of repect his children have for their elders as none of us were getting in!)Next, the fishermen (I love writing that), row the boat out from the beach. The net (on the stern of the rowboat) is attached to a 200 ft or so of line (not rope you landlubbers) which is attached to the bulkhead on the beach. Once they reach about 300 ft. from the beach, they slowly row back to shore, creating a U shape in the seine as seen below.
As they row back, another line (attached to the net) is fed into the water from the stern of the boat. That line is then attached to a handmade contraption (called a capstan; pictured below) on the bulkhead. A capstan is not necessary but it makes the job of hauling in the net a whole lot easier and a little fun for grandkids.
With both ends of the siene on the beach, they are slowly pulled to shore. If you could see the net underwater it would look something like this diagram (a) . The fish get caught in the net as it is hauled in. Our catch was not much of a success in terms of fish caught. We captured hundreds of jellyfish and 3 smelt - yes 3. But do not fear, Dad has caught up to 700 of this little suckers in one set. And he's had many successful sets. But this day was not our lucky day.

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