Friday, June 8, 2007

Handlining in the Gulf of Maine

Until the late 1800s, handlining directly from the deck of an anchored schooner was preferred when fishing for cod and other groundfish. These lines reaching depths down to one hundred feet were equipped with a lead sinker and one or two hooks and were jigged to catch fish. Starting in the 1870s, handlining was somewhat modified and transferred to flat-bottomed dories associated with a mother ship. Longlining or trawl fishing involved the use of many hooks tied to a line which could be up to a mile-and-a-half in length. The trawl was laid from a dory by on man as another rowed. In this process, the baited hooks were tied at the ends of vertical lines placed at about three foot intervals along the line.

These offshore operations concluded about the year 1962 when the powered schooner Theresa E. Connor made her final fishing trip to the distant banks. Unable to find a crew for further ventures, she was purchased by the Town of Lunenburg and turned into a floating museum.

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