Fishing off the ship?

Hey fellas, new 3rd mate here (LNG), so I figured I would sign up and get in on the forum, looks like there is a lot of good stuff here. Anyway, I was curious as to how many of you guys have fished off the ship while underway (trolling handlines)? For me it’s a great way to pass the downtime when in open water, and it’s nice to have some fresh fish every now and then. If so, what kind of setup are you guys using? I’m still trying to get the system down pact with the right connections and gear.

I’ve done quite a bit of handlining before I got into the drillship business with no fishing allowed. It was a slow ship (8 knots) so great for catching albacore off of the west coast. We used a wire leader with a squid jig and a double pronged hook. For the handline we had a couple hundred pound test blue poly… something with substance so you could haul the fish in while remaining underway (I’ve successfully used 3/8 manila too but it’s a bit bulky). The key was a ‘snubber’ at the bulwarks to take the shock when they bit. Without it we’d just remove the lips of the fish! I’ve used bungeee cords to snub or black rubber rigs made just for that purpose purchased at commercial fishing suppliers. Nothing better for dinner offshore than fresh tuna or mahi that barely stopped bleeding before it hit the grill.

Im no captain, hope to be one day, but I have worked on a few fishing boats out of Port Aransas Texas. One day while working as deckhand on a private boat, we were fishing for kingfish at your big anchored ships for kingfish. Couldnt help but notice 2/3 ships we drifted had somebody with a handline off the stern. If I could choose a lure, I would get a rapala red/white with a long wire leader maybe catch some wahoo(yum). Be careful when you get to the TX coast though, those kingfish we were fishing for taste like sh*t.


Captmrb described the old standard most of us use. Some of the tugs and ships I’ve sailed have had a substantial array of tackle. The most successful lure I’ve seen is a jig made from shredded foul weather gear (speckled with #6 oil) heat shrinked or ty-rapped to a 5/8" shackle pin with a treble hook.

[quote=Kevin;21365] Be careful when you get to the TX coast though, those kingfish we were fishing for taste like sh*t.

[B]I’ts all in the [U]preparation and handling[/U] of the fish, from the time of “hook” to the “table”. Don’t discourage anyone from trying from particular location. :wink: [/B]

The only exception to this I know of with salt water fish is mullet. Taste varies with algee concentration and turbidity.

Hard to beat parachute cord. It is easier on the hands. We did it on tugs so speed was no problem at @ 5-10kts. I like CaptMRB’s idea with the snubber.

yeah that is pretty much how I have it setup. 450lb ashaway tuna leader, it is bonded and coated solid braid nylon, very strong for its diameter, good grip, and it doesn’t want to get tangled whatsoever. I havent used the snubber yet, as I saw some kids on the training cruise a few years ago miss some fish due to the amount of give. So far I haven’t come up with nothing but a fish mouth/head on the jig. the majority of the catch here in the Atlantic and Caribbean is wahoo, so mono leaders are pretty iffy, although I do have some setup with 300lb stuff, double crimped.

O and dont eat those striped tuna like creatures called bonita, not even ‘preparation and handling’ will make that taste good;)

Agreed, some like, I just never tried them. Then again, they called the blackfin “junk” until it came off my grill/smoker.

When ton of greedy cousin Bonita hanging around, tuna will gladly cut in line for lizardfish.

I never saw that on the bear but I might not have been paying attention. For ships with high freeboard you might want to try hanging a weight from the line near the ship so that when your lines out it gets down to a couple feet above the water and you don’t have to use as much line, reducing the chances of ripping the jaw off when you’re pulling it in. We all used squid lures with the double hook also. Good fishing cruising up and down the S. America coast. Best was during bbq’s on the fantail when chicken bones were flying over the side.

That is the rig we used to use when we fished both off of the Crowley tugs and on an ATB. I recall one trip we caught so many mahi mahi on both sides of the Panama Canal, the cook complained about having to cook fish so often. We solved that by not eating his food and cooking the fish after he had gone to bed.

We found bungee cords to be the best for snubbers, and lures made from soda cans worked as well as the commercially bought squids. . .

I ran a real pig of a seismic boat for a couple of years (about 8.5 kts flat out) and it was a GREAT boat for trolling. One morning we were loitering around at about 2kts out about 40nm off Galveston, waiting for cables to be connected, and we had a school of nice 20-30lb bigeye’s who thought we were their mother . . I caught the first one off of a handline at about 0530, and when it hit the deck flapping against the steel, my Filipino deck crew, who were just getting up, came running out literally in their underwear like the boat was on fire, yelling and frantically trying to pull in fish . . they got about 15 of them on the boat before the school wandered away . .

. . Happiest I had ever seen those guys . .

hah! thats a riot about the Filipinos. They flipped out when I threw back a little barracuda yesterday. The chief steward makes an awesome dish called Kinilaw. It is raw fish sour cooked in lemon, vinegar, tomato, and some other stuff.

had what had to be a real nice wahoo absolute destroy a tuna feather I had out while I was at dinner tonight. The plastic head was busted open, most of the rubber skirt chewed to pieces, feathers ripped up, and the crimps were pulled together. Somehow the hook was missing…? Those double hooks dont come apart too easy…

Kinilaw? Sounds like ceviche.

I’ve never had ceviche, but yeah, I heard it is similar. If any of you guys hae a Filipino galley, have them make some up if you get your hands on some fresh fish. Its ok with mahi, mahi is a little tough raw, Wahoo is unreal though.

At that point I also had a Filipino Cook, who was a very good cook and a really nice guy, who just had a field day with those. These poor guys were on that boat for 12 months eating American Gulf food, so this was a gift from the gods.

I hate to say it, but they were the best gang of deckies I ever had . . The Bosun was a licensed Ch/MUnl with probably 15+ years of deck time, and he had his hand-picked group of 7 who worked for him. The Bosun made $32usd/d . . . Our 3/m cadet made more than the entire deck crew combined … I used to haul Filipino foodstuffs and magazines and news back to the boat each time I crewed.