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Longlining the Mustad way

03 Nov 2006
Three models of Mustad machines bait up to six hooks per second using Circle hooks or EZ Baiter hooks

Three models of Mustad machines bait up to six hooks per second using Circle hooks or EZ Baiter hooks

Until the early 1970s, baiting, coiling and handling longline gear was done by hand. Nowadays, however, this can be done automatically with the Mustad Autoline System. There are three major phases to autolining:

Baiting and shooting

When the first buoys and anchors are dropped over the rail, the gear is pulled from the storage magazine through the baiting machine. One crew member will feed the whole baitfish into the machine, which will cut the bait, bait the hook, and set it over the stern.

The speed of the boat pulls the gear through the baiting machine. The hooks passing through trigger the machine for the next hook to be baited.

The setting speed would be from 6-10 knots (3-6 hooks per second), depending on the model of baiting machine used and spacing between hooks. This operation is handled by two or three crew members.

Hauling

A line hauler pulls the gear over a rail roller and through a fish stripper and hook cleaner. The fish stripper de-hooks the fish and cleans the hooks of any remaining bait, while one crew member is needed to operate the hauler and safe-gaff fish.

Maintenance and gear storage

The hook separator pulls the gear from the line hauler around pulleys and through guide tubes. The hook separator cleans the gear, clears the hooks from the main line and hangs the hooks onto a hauling magazine.

The hook separator can hang up to 70 hooks per minute. When the hook separator has conveyed the hooks onto the hauling magazine, the gear is inspected and repaired, and damaged hooks or snoods are changed. When one storage magazine is filled with hooks and lines, it slides into the storage position ready for the next shooting operation.

The number of crew members needed for this operation varies depending on the number of hooks being hauled.

According to Mustad, automatic longlining results in much better working conditions for crew.

Images for this article - click to enlarge

Longlining the Mustad way Longlining the Mustad way Longlining the Mustad way

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