Fishing Gear Glossary — Seafish

Fishing Gear Glossary

A glossary of equipment and technology.


Anchor seining Seine net fishing with the vessel at anchor to haul the gear

Astern Vessel going backwards


Beach seine An encircling fishing method operated from the shoreline

Beam Steel bar used to keep abeam trawl open

Beam trawl A towed fishing method using beam to hold the gear open

Benthic panels Panels fitted in the belly of a trawl, usually a beam trawl to release small seabed living organisms

Bights Loops of rope, wire or chain

Bobbins Solid rubber wheels used as ground gear on some trawls

Bosum Centre section of a net

Bottom trawl Trawl towed along the seabed

Brail Large netting basket used for lifting fish

Bridle angle Angle of the bridles compared to the direction of towing. (sweep angle )

Bridles Wires connecting trawl doors to the net .(sweeps)

Buoy Float for marking the position of fishing gear

Bycatch Anything caught that is not of the target species or target size


Cast nets A net that’s is thrown (cast) across the surface of the water to catch fish as it sinks down

Chain bridle Chains on the leading edge of a beam trawl for towing it by.

Chain mat Network of chains to prevent stones entering the net. Usually used in beam trawls. (stone mat)

Clean ground Soft sand and muddy seabed’s with no stones to damage the nets.

Clump weight Chain weight used in multi rig and pelagic trawling

Cod end Closed end of a towed net where the catch collects

Coil Measure used for rope equal to 120 fathoms (220 metres)

Combination Rope made by twisting fibre and wire strands together.

Commercial diving Diving for profit rather than recreation.

Corkline Rope along the top edge of a net to hold the floats. Usually refers to a purse seine net

Creel hauler Small winch for hauling ropes.

CSW Chilled sea water


D creel A trap with a cross sectional shape like a letter ‘D’

Danish seine Anchor seining

Deck pound Area on a vessel with built up sides for emptying the catch into.

Demersal fish Fish living on or near the seabed.

Demersal gear Fishing gear that is operated on or close to the seabed

Dhan Bouy with a flag on it

Dredge A rigid structure that is towed over the seabed to catch shell fish

Drift net A net (usually a gill net) that is allowed to drift with the tide to catch fish by them un-intentionally swimming into it

Dublin Bay prawns Also known as Nephrop, Langoustines


Echo sounder An electronic instrument that uses sound waves to measure the water depth below the vessel and can also be used to detect shoals of fish.

Encircling gear Fishing gear that forms a circle with nets or ropes to catch fish enclosed by the circle


FAD Fish aggregation device

Fathom  A maritime term for a unit of length equal to six feet.

Fish pump A pump used to pump fish from the net onboard the vessel causing no damage to the fish.

Fish room Area on a fishing vessel for storing the catch.(fish hold)

Fishing line Lower frame rope of a net. (footrope, ground rope.)

Fixed net A net that is anchored to the seabed, or shore, to catch fish by them un-intentionally swimming into it

Flip up ropes Framework of ropes across the mouth of a net to prevent stones entering the net.

Floats Plastic spheres attached to the headline of a net.

Fly dragging Scottish seine netting(fly shooting)

Fly shooting Scottish seine netting (fly dragging)

Frame ropes Ropes to which sheets of netting are attached to form the shape of a net.

Fyke net A conical shaped net with an non-return entrance at one end


Gill net A sheet of thin netting hung vertically in the water to capture fish by enmeshing them usually by their gills

GPS plotters Screens that accurately display the vessels position overlaid on a chart using information from the Global Positioning System

Grass rope Type of footrope used on soft seabeds

Ground gear Part of a net designed to be in contact with the seabed, to which the fishing line is attached.

Ground rope General term for the lower frame rope of a net. (fishing line, footrope).


Hand gathering A method of collecting shell fish (usually cockles) by raking them from the beach.

Handline A line with hooks on operated by hand

Hard ground Seabed made up of stones and rock.

Harpoon A spear used to catch fish with.

Head rope The upper frame rope of a net. (headline).

Headline The upper frame of a net.(headrope)

Hopper Large “box” on the deck of a boat for receiving the catch into.


Jig An artificial lure used to attract and catch fish

Jigging machine A mechanical device that operates a jig


King scallop The larger of the commonly caught scallops, usually targeted by dredges or hand-picked by diving.


Langoustines Another name for Dublin Bay prawns or Nephrop

Lead line Term for the lower frame rope of a net, usually refers to purse nets.

Lift net A net that is hung in the water and lifted up towards the surface to catch the fish above it


Mesh One of the enclosed spaces bounded by twine in a piece of netting.

Mesh size The distance between two opposite knots in the same mesh.

Mid water Between the seabed and surface (pelagic).

Mid water pair trawl A mid water trawl towed between two vessels (pelagic pair trawl).

Mid-water trawl  A mid water trawl towed by one vessel (pelagic trawl).

Mobile gear Fishing gear that is moved through the water to catch fish and shellfish.

Multi rig trawling Towing more than one net behind one vessel.


Nephrop Langoustines, Dublin Bay prawns.

Net drum Large capacity winch for hauling nets.

Net stacking system Combination of powered rollers and chutes for stowing the net on large purse seiners.


Open gear A type of beam trawl without a chain mat

Otter trawl A trawl that is spread horizontally by otter boards (trawl doors)

Otter boards Shearing device, two of which hold the mouth of a trawl open in a horizontal plane. (trawl doors, boards.)

Outrigger boom Booms on either side of a beam trawler to tow the nets from.


Pair seine A net that is towed between two vessel using long lengths of rope or wire on the seabed.

Pair trawl A trawl that is towed between two vessels.

Parlour creel A lobster creel with an extra chamber in it to retain the catch.

Passive gear Fishing gear that catches fish without any movement of the gear

Pelagic fish Fish living in mid water.

Pelagic pair trawl A mid water trawl towed between two vessels

Pelagic trawl Trawl designed to catch pelagic fish

Pelagic trawl Trawl that is towed somewhere between the seabed and surface but not touching the seabed.

Pots Another term for types of traps

Power block Large rubber covered roller, powered by hydraulics, for hauling nets

Prawns Fisherman’s slang for nephrops.(Norway lobsters)

Purse seine A large net that catches fish by encircling a shoal with a wall of netting


Queen scallop The smaller of the commonly caught scallops, targeted using small trawls, and dredges


R.S.W. Refrigerated seawater tanks.

Recreational angling Angling for recreation rather than profit

Ring net Smaller version of a purse seine but without the running purse wire to close up the gear

Rock hopper discs Large rubber discs made from discarded tyres

Rope reels Reels used for storing seine net ropes on the deck of the vessel.

Round fish Collective term for cod, haddock, whiting etc.

Rubber discs Discs, cut from old vehicle tyres, used for making ground gear of nets.


Sailing smacks Early sail powered fishing vessels.

Sand clouds Seabed disturbances created by trawl doors, sweeps, ground gear, etc. forming clouds of sand in the water.

Scallop A type of shell fish that is targeted by dredge and by diving (See queen scallop and king scallop.

Scottish seine An encircling fishing method using long ropes (fly dragging, fly shooting).

Seine ropes Ropes made from hard abrasion resistant fibres with a strand of lead through it for seine net fishing.

Selectivity How selective gear is at only catching targeted species.

Semi Pelagic trawl A trawl that is towed very close to the seabed with either the trawl doors or the net in contact with the seabed.

Shelter decks Light weight cover over the deck of a fishing vessel to protect the fishermen from the weather.

Shoes Steel frame used to support the beam on a beam trawl.

Side thrusters Propellers within the hull of a boat to provide sideways motion.

Sonar Electronic instrument that uses sound waves to locate and track fish shoals in the vicinity of the vessel.

Split-links Specially designed chain links that are made so that they can be easily and quickly clipped together.

Static gear Fishing gear that is set in the water to wait for fish to swim into it   or attract fish to it using bait

Stern ramp Ramp set into the stern of a vessel for pulling the nets up.

Stern Trawler Trawler that handles its gear over the stern.

Sumwing Hydro dynamically shaped beam trawl beam.

Sweep angle Angle of sweep compared to the direction of towing. (bridle angle.)

Sweeps Wires connecting trawl doors to the net. (bridles)


T 45 diamond mesh turned through 45 degrees to make it into an open in a square shape

T 90 Diamond mesh that is turned through 90 degrees

TAC Total allowable catch

Target species Specific type or species of fish that gear is designed to catch

Tickler chain Chain towed ahead of the ground gear to disturb fish lying on the seabed.

Towed gear Fishing gear that is dragged through the water to catch fish

Trawl door Otter board.

Trawl rig Term used to cover all the components in a trawl net rig. Doors, sweeps, bridles and net etc.


Vivier tanks Tanks onboard shellfish boats for live storage of the catch.


Warp Wire used for towing fishing gear

Water separator Container used for separating the water and fish in fish pumping systems.

Winch Machine for hauling and storing trawl warp.

Wing ends Ends of the net nearest to the boat.