Common Concerns about Ropeless Fishing
We're here to answer your questions and address your concerns.
If you have a question that wasn't covered here please contact us!
Q/C) The floats will get carried away in high currents and never surface.
A) Our ropeless method can actually increase reliability in high currents. Rather than use the standard length of rope, increase your scope to 3:1 in higher current seas. This will provide ample slack in the line and increase the amount of time the buoy is present when you are trying to hook it. Testing in 45 fathoms of water (Grand Manan Island, Bay of Fundy) with 129 fathoms of rope (3:1 scope) and 2.2 knots of current, the floats stayed at the surface for six minutes; plenty of time to hook em', with no increased whale entanglement risk!
Q/C) The rope will tangle in the bag.
A) No it won't. Think of how an anchor locker works, the seemingly random feed never produces snags or knots. It's important to keep your mesh bag full of rope, for larger bags tamper down the rope. Bags up-to 200 fathoms in depth are used in a commercial setting in New South Wales Australia.
Q/C) It will slow me down too much.
A) Yes and no. Some steps will add time you previously didn't need to focus on. While others will decrease time you spend to catch your quota. Fishers in New South Wales for example have decreased seasonal engine hours from 1000 hours to 400 hours(60%), while still catching the same quota (in some cases catching even more). The importance here is finding a setup that works for you, so be willing to be open minded and try different solutions out!
Q/C) I don't or cannot use a computer on my boat, so your method won't work.
A) You don't need a computer. In broadcast mode just flip the STM lever from "off" to "on". Your floats will then automatically pop-up ahead of your boat.
Q/C) In broadcast mode my floats will pop-up all at once, it will be a mess!
A) No! The boat transducer faces mostly down and slightly forward from 22 to 60 degrees (depending on your preference). The ARC also only accepts strong signals and is limited to a 350m release range.
Q/C It's much too expensive, why should I take on that cost?
A) The acoustic release (ARC-1XD) is built to last. Made from non-corridable titanium and delrin materials, you should expect a 10 year lifetime or more. The ARC-1 is also fully serviceable by the fisher, your friend, family member or Desert Star. Your average purchase price (as of 31JUL2018) might be $1,700 or $170 per year per trawl/release. Then an additional $200 per year for batteries and maintenance. Now compare that to income of each of your vertical lines. Typically pot/trap fishers see $4,000 to $10,000 in revenue per line per season. That's an investment per line of 3.7% to 9.25%. Now factor in lower engine hours, less gear loss, fishing more throughout the year. And you will likely not only make that back, but increase overall revenue. That also doesn't take into consideration the cheaper ARC-2, or a cost reduced ARC-1.
Q/C) If a system fails, I loose a ton of money.
A) Submerged gear is safe gear. Snags do happen, but there are always backup methods of recovery. Should a system fail (typically caused by ground trawlers or traps that fail onto of the ARC) and are using a trawl, then you can grapple for the ground line. In singles, or terrain that is less permitting, allow more distance between the trap and the mesh bag such that the bag is not caught on rocks, steep slopes, or the trap itself. In practical use, the largest fisher in New South Wales has seen a gear loss of roughly 3% each year, which he attributes to ground trawlers who don't use the free Ropeless Fisher app (TM).
Q/C) The next guy wouldn't know where my gear is, and it would all entangle.
A) A free app we've developed called Ropeless Fisher prevents this from happening. Just mark where you deploy your trap or trawl and other fishers will see where the trap(s) is to a couple meter accuracy. This can be used by you, static gear fishers, mobile gear fishers, recreational, regulators etc.
Q/C) No way I'll give my fishing coordinates away, that's my catch and my money!
A) Ropeless Fisher works through a visibility radius. Others will only see your gear from the distance you allow. For example, fisherman Joe can set a radius of what a classical buoy would offer, let's say 1/2 mile. Now other fishers will only see that trap or trawl when they are at or within 1/2 mile distance. However, regulators can see all traps at all times.
Q/C) Our gear density is much too high.
A) Gear marking with the Ropeless Fisher app (TM) is just as if not more precise than traditional surface buoys. Fishers in New South Wales have been able to increase density, because surface buoys no longer pose the chance of entangling in each other.
Q/C The stub rope between the mesh bag and trap still leaves an entanglement risk. Fishers in New South Wales use 10-15 fathom, thats a lot.
A) The stub rope length is variable to each fisher and their respective fishery. If grappling is not desired as a backup, then use less length in the stub rope. Our first trial in Cape Cod also saw a stub length of roughly 4-6 inches and worked well. Either way, this metric is custom to how the fisher would like to fish and the current risk of entanglement to that fishing area.
Q/C) The acoustic signals present a hazard to whales and other marine life.
A) An ARC only transmits when interrogated by the transducer mounted on the boat, or never when operating in broadcast mode. The transducer signals are high frequency and low duty cycle. The NOAA guidance metrics indicate the only risk in this matter is to porpoises at 100m or less. So when in the harbor, turn on your transducer which allows nearby porpoises to evade or maneuver the signal. Also stop operation if you believe you are at or within 100m of a porpoise.