Fishing Methods

The fishing methods used to catch our fish include Bandit Gear (red snapper), demersal longlines (halibut and grouper), trout lines and trolling (wild salmon).

Louisiana Foods supports fisheries using responsible commercial fishing methods for the protection of many species of sea life and the planet’s underwater ecosystems. For this reason, we have developed our Total Catch program {link} to address non-target catch issues.



Bandit Gear-This is the primary method used by commercial fishermen targeting Red Snapper and shallow water Grouper. Each rig is equipped with an electric motor, large spool of line, and a fiberglass ‘arm’ with a pulley at the tip. The rig is spooled with 700-800 lb.-test monofilament. Attached to this primary line is the actual fishing rig, which consists of a stout main line with between 15 and 40 hooks arranged on drop lines coming off the main line. At the end of the gear is a 10-15 lb. ‘window weight’. The hooks are baited (usually with mackerel or squid), then the gear is lowered to the bottom, which for snapper is usually between 60 and 200 feet. The experienced fisherman will know by the twitch of the fiberglass arm when to raise the rig. When the fish are there, the rig is raised quickly to the surface, the terminal tackle is removed from the main line, and new gear is clipped on, ready for more fishing. Most snapper boats in the Western Gulf have between four and six bandit rigs on board, and all are manned by the crew during fishing. 


bottomlonglineBottom Longline – When targeting deepwater Groupers and Tilefish, fishermen will use a longline, which consists of a large spool wound with between four and ten miles of very thick monofilament. When fishing, the spool will be anchored at the terminal end and then dropped to the seafloor. At intervals of 25-50 feet, a two to four foot drop line is attached to the main line. Each drop line is fixed with one baited hook. The line is weighted at certain points to ensure that the line drops true and stays straight on the seafloor. A vessel fishing this way will lay out several hundred hooks at a time. Once the lines are laid, the bait is allowed to ‘soak’ for a couple of hours, and is then drawn back up the way it was laid down. Boats targeting deepwater Grouper usually fish at depths from 250-700 feet. Those fishing for Tilefish tend to fish a bit deeper, from 600-1300 feet. Mackerel, squid, and ribbonfish are the preferred baits.


pelagicPelagic Longline- This type of longline is essentially the same as the bottom longline, with the difference being the depth at which the gear is deployed. Pelagic longlines target those fish which swim in mid-waters on the high seas- in the case of the Gulf, the specific target is generally Yellowfin Tuna, followed by Wahoo, Mahi, Escolar, Blackfin Tuna, Swordfish, and, infrequently, Opah. Instead of anchoring the lines to rest on the seafloor, pelagic longlines are arrayed with floats to keep the gear in the middle of the water column, between 100 to 800 feet down. The spread of the hooks is a bit different in pelagic longlining, with as much as twice the number of hooks per set. Gears are typically set near dusk, and the baits allowed to ‘soak’ overnight. These days, terminal lines are affixed with glow sticks as well in order to attract the fish at night.   Bycatch of unwanted or illegal species (specifically bluefin tuna, seabirds, turtles, and pelagic gamefish) is an issue with pelagic longlining, though improvements in fishing technology, including but not limited to ‘weak hooks’ and streamers, have helped to alleviate the problems. Several types of bait fish are used, and pelagic longliners are prohibited from using live bait on hooks.

Trotline- This gear is used to catch inshore bottom and near-bottom fish. In Texas, saltwater trotlines are used almost exclusively for black drum. On the East Coast, trotlines are used for flounder as well (though there the gear is referred to as ‘longline’). The idea is much the same as a longline- a single heavy main line is played out, with about a few hundred hooked and baited droplines coming off of it. The main line (in the state of Texas) may be no longer than 600 feet, and both ends of the main line must be attached to fixed spots. Hooks must be spaced at least three feet apart. Gear is laid down in bays at depths between 10 and 40 feet, and generally allowed to ‘soak’ overnight. Trotliners usually use crab or shrimp as bait.

Handline- Handlines are rarely used anymore in the Western Gulf, though some fishermen targeting vermilion snapper still use this type of gear. A handline gear consists of a length of hemp rope (between 30 and 50 feet long). Attached to one end is about 3-4 feet of thick monofilament, with one or two drop hooks fastened on. At the end of the monofilament is a one to three pound weight. Mackerel and squid are the preferred baits. No electric gear is involved. As this is the most labor-intensive form of offshore fishing, it is slowly dying out and being replaced by one of the methods mentioned above.

pursePurse Seine-A Purse seine is nothing more than a common seine net, with floats at top and weight on bottom. The difference is that the weighted end of the net is fixed with metal loops at tight intervals, through which a cable passes. When a school is spotted, the boat lays out the net in a very wide circle around the fish. When the circle is completed, the bottom cable is drawn up to close the net and prevent the fish from diving down to escape. After that, it is simply a matter of dragging the net in. Purse seines are used for schooling pelagic species, from herrings to tunas. Because of the nature of the targeted species and fishing technique, purse seining can be a very efficient method, with little bycatch at all in some fisheries. However, the use of FADs (Fish Aggregating Devices) in tuna purse seine fisheries has been highly controversial in recent years, owing to the inordinate and indiscriminate bycatch.









Bottom Trawl
Bottom Trawl
Drift Net
Midwater/Off-bottom Trawling 







Dip Nets