Tag Archives: salmon fishing

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.


After months of boat maintenance and haulout work and sanding and painting, the Eden Lake is ready for another season of salmon trolling in northern BC. It’s a good boat, well built in 1976 by the late Harald Christensen in Queen Charlotte City, BC.

It takes a lot of work to keep a wooden troller in good shape.This year, like every other, the Captain has the Eden Lake sparkling clean, safe, and seaworthy.


Here is what the back of the boat should look like during a good fishing day, with the checkers full of spring salmon.




For those who don’t know the difference between a trawler and a troller, a trawler drags a net near the bottom while a troller fishes individual hooks and lines — two very different kinds of fishing.



The Captain is getting ready to untie the lines and leave Comox Harbour. That’s the very early morning sun you see on the side of the boat. The best traveling time today will be in the morning, before any breezes start up later in the day.


In the old days, communication systems were not as easily available between the Captain and the fishwife left at home. A call from town when he came in to sell his fish might have happened once a week to ten days. Now, with satellite phones, the communication is much better.


There he goes, leaving Comox  Harbour.

It will take the Captain a good six days of running to get up to Prince Rupert and another day to cross to the Queen Charlotte Islands (Haida Gwaii), but often it takes a bit longer because the weather is not perfect every day and sometimes you just have to wait.

I feel a bit at a loss for a few days until I get used to the idea that it will be late August before he comes home, but the Captain always reminds me, “I’m only a phone call away.”