Lee West came across Vónin’s Flyer on the internet, and decided it was worth a try as a way of getting more headline height.
He works the 14 metre Copious from Mevagissey, towing a 20 fathom MarineCo balloon trawl for mixed fish. The Flyer was tempting as a way of lifting the headline to catch high-swimming whiting and haddock more effectively, and it has worked for him.
‘It has paid for itself,’ he said, adding that the Flyer isn’t fitted permanently to the headline of Copious’s trawl.
Lee fishes for groundfish with long sweeps, and when there’s a showing of haddock off the Lizard or whiting in Falmouth bay, the Flyer can be clipped on for extra height.
‘There’s a definite increase in catch, so this was a good investment. We don’t use it all the time, but I can clip it on to turn the trawl into a high-lift trawl. At 2.5-3 knots, it’s like having twenty extra floats,’ he said.
‘I have a couple of stainless steel rings seized to the headrope and when we want to use it, I just clip it on with a pair of carabiner clips. It’s bang in the middle of the headrope and it finds its own level. It’s so simple there’s nothing to it.’
He commented that as they take the codend forward to be emptied, the gear isn’t brought on board and there’s no need to unclip the Flyer every haul – even though it’s supposed to be robust enough to be spooled onto the net drum with the trawl. Instead, the Flyer is taken off when not required or at the end of a day at sea.
‘It’s difficult to say how much extra height we get with it, but the trawl is a bit heavier to tow with it on, the spread drops slightly and I can see the front of the splits aren’t hard down – so it’s definitely pulling, and the results show that it’s doing its job,’ he said and added that the Flyer is a flexible option, unlike switching to a fork rig for high-swimming species, as there’s no need to make any changes to the sweepline arrangement.
‘We can work this with the same long sweeps, so we’re getting the bottom fish as well,’ Lee West said.