Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.

Marking Trolling Wire


Always ready to help, Ruby sits nearby and supervises while the Captain marks trolling wire. He buys the stainless steel wire in a huge 1200-foot roll and then sets it up to mark it as he rewinds it onto another roll. Here is the newly bought, unmarked wire.

After it is marked, it is wound onto another roll.

Here is the setup, from the new roll to the finished roll, and the work area in the middle.

The stainless steel cable (5/64″) is made up of seven strands, so these are split into four and three, and kept apart by the nail in this little block of wood. Then a short piece of “marking wire,” also stainless steel, is inserted in the space.

This short piece of marking wire is then twisted around the trolling wire, going one way on one side  …

until it is all neatly wrapped around the trolling wire.

Then the other end of the marking wire is twisted in the opposite direction until it is all tidily wrapped around the trolling wire.

About six inches farther along, another mark is put into the wire, so you now have two sets of wrappings, six inches apart. Why do we do this?

It is where the line snap is hooked on. The two marks on the wire keep the snap from sliding up or down the cable. Tied to the line snap are the perlon fishing line and any flashers or lures that the Captain feels like using. The lure in this photo is just an old beat up coho spoon that has seen better days.

Two fathoms (a fathom is about six feet) farther along, the Captain will put another set of marks on the wire to stop the next piece of gear from sliding up or down when he sets the gear in the water.

The trolling wire is spooled onto the gurdies that you see in the photo below, about 300 feet on each spool. There are two sets of three gurdies, one on each side of the boat. From the gurdies, the wire goes up through pulleys and is attached to the trolling poles  which are lowered partway down while fishing, to keep the lines away from the boat.

Lead balls of about 55 lbs are fastened to the end of the trolling cable before it is lowered into the water by the gurdies (with hydraulic controls), and the line snaps with the trolling gear are fastened on between the markers (sometimes every two fathoms) as the line sinks into the water.

The boats below are at anchor but their trolling poles are down and you can see their position during fishing time. When they come in to a wharf, of course they raise the poles straight up so they don’t smash into other boats.


Now you hope that the lines don’t tangle in bad weather and the fish will bite before that orca gets them.

Author: wordsfromanneli

Writing, travel, photography, nature, more writing....

26 thoughts on “Marking Trolling Wire

  1. Thanks for the education! ❤️😎

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Another day in the life of a fisherman.


  3. Very interesting, Anneli. Thanks so much for sharing. You last photo is really beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, what a lot of work. With these pictures and explanation all the things you talked about in your West Coast novels are more easily understood. Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I would hope that what I put in the novels is not as dry as this, but didn’t you recently say you should know way more about your subject than you use (I think it was in the character post on my other blog)? You don’t necessarily have to use everything, but you should understand it.


  5. Now that’s very interesting. Thanks for the information, Anneli.
    Have a wonderful week,

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I really enjoyed seeing the gear and reading your explanation! Fascinating!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. oh wow! can’t tell you A, How excited I got just looking at the scene, the water, orca, boat oh my…… lol
    I loved fishing on those waters!! well, loved eating the fish and crab… even more!
    thank YOU for sharing. I appreciate it. truly. 🙂 cheers, Debi

    Liked by 1 person

  8. All this hard work before the fishing- and then the fishing itself. Not enough sleep, back aches, etc. I guess I am not becoming a deckhand after all …
    Thanks for the lesson, it’s very interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. A very complicated business. I do like the last shot!


  10. OMG, did you get that picture of the whale fin? Do you see them often? That’s so exciting to me. We used to see dolphins in the water when we went to the beach (in Florida), but no whales made their way into the gulf. It would be so cool to see them in person.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That was a photo taken by the Captain in the anchorage. It’s one of several killer whales that were circling around. Fishermen don’t like to see them (well, sure they are kind of interesting to see, but …) because they eat the salmon – right off the lines sometimes. Anyway they are the competition. But yes, I’ve seen them slapping the water, spooking the fish. I’ve seen humpback whales quite often. One time when I was SO seasick I saw a humpback jump out of the water three times in a row. I did a post about it. If you’re interested you can check this story out. You’ve probably already seen it, but just in case…. https://wordsfromanneli.com/2014/04/20/third-anniversary-of-wordsfromanneli/

      Liked by 1 person

      • I just checked and saw your gravatar there, so you’ve seen it.


      • Oh yes, I went there and remember that story. I don’t think I’d want to see a whale while I’m on a boat. I’d rather seem them from shore in the distance. I could imagine that fisherman would not like to see those whales . . . bad for business.

        Liked by 1 person

        • It can be a bit scary when they accidentally tangle in your gear. They generally are not out to hurt anyone, but they could shake up your boat if you accidentally collided (which has nearly happened). As for the killer whales, I wouldn’t try swimming with them as I’ve seen some people try to do. They could easily mistake a person for food. They don’t mind eating a sea lion, so why not a naive swimmer?

          Liked by 1 person

  11. The Captain of Eden Lake
    has to know so much , Very interesting , a high rating for this posting. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s