Photo: Phil Lockley

The boats handlining for mackerel, bass, pollack and squid are usually between 15 and 20ft in length and work from the many small coves and harbours dotted around the coast of Cornwall, Devon and Dorset.

These fishermen use techniques and skills that have often been passed on for generations. All these fisheries are highly sustainable.

Photo: Phil Lockley

When fishing for bass, each boat usually uses three lines: two attached to long bamboo poles (one on each side of the boat) and the other line over the stern. Each line is weighted by a 2 to 3lb weight and consists of approximately 50-60 metres of monofilament line with an artificial rubber eel lure on the hook.

The lines are towed behind the boat at 1 knot in a technique known as “trolling”. Some fishermen also use rods to catch bass. When a fish is hooked, it is hauled to the side of the boat (by hand, not even wearing gloves!), where a landing net is then used to lift the fish out of the water.

Fishing in this way is unpredictable and requires a great deal of skill and patience since fish may often be there but not feeding. Therefore, when weather conditions allow, fishing can be from dawn till dusk.