Florida Sea Grant Extension in Collier County

Welcome to the Collier County Sea Grant Extension Blog

This blog is an opportunity for me to share with you my extension outreach efforts and useful information to make you a more informed coastal citizen. If you have any questions about what you see, feel free to contact me at fluech@ufl.edu.

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Monday, October 3, 2011

Commercial Fishing Gear Profile: The Bandit Rig

Image credit: Capt. Tom Marvel
A common type of gear used by commercial fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic include electric or hydraulic reels known as bandit rigs. Bandit rigs are commonly used to target reef species such as grouper, snapper, triggerfish and/or amberjack. The gear gets its name from the resemblance to slot machines (aka one-armed bandits) found in casinos. Vessels typically have two to four bandit reels on board. A typical bandit reel is attached to the gunwale of the boat and consists of a fiberglass reel that holds about 1,000 feet of cable; an L-bar or spreader, which keeps the leader from tangling with the main line; a pulley to feed the cable from the reel through the L-bar; a fiberglass arm; and an electronic or hydraulic reel motor. Fishermen typically use circle hooks baited with live or cut bait, and one line can have several hooks on it. Depending on the species being targeted, fishermen can either allow their lines to sit and soak for a short time period before reeling them up or bring up their catch up every time a bite is felt. Bandit gear is fairly selective, and because it is constantly tended to, there is little bycatch associated with this fishing method. The gear also has little to no impact on sensitive bottom habitats.

South Atlantic Fishery Management Council

Grouper and snapper (on deck) brought up using bandit gear
Image credit: Capt. Tom Marvel
Two red grouper caught on one line of a bandit rig
Image credit: Capt Tom Marvel