Cleaning up rouge ropes, pots, floats and boats

After a week in rotto with my cray pots I had my first floats cut off by a boat since the new weighted rope rule. What I realised, theres no chance of finding you pot unless you dive the area... the weights sink the rope. Never really thought about it before until it happened.


I also noticed the number of boats blasting through heavily potted areas at a pace where there's no chance of changing course to miss the odd rope an float on the surface. Over the week I saw at least 9 cut ropes sitting on the surface. (In depths needing less than 20m rope so the weights don't apply) most had so much sludge on the rope, clearly no one was there to look for them.


Lastly, I snorkeled out to the back of the barrier reefs at Longreach and saw that about 60% of the floats our there were attached to pots that were so rotted some were barely even a frame, another 20% were simply tangled in the reef with no pot at all. 


My first impulse was to want to clean up these rouge ropes, floats but you can't tamper with anyone else's gear. I think there should be some sort of 'clean up WA water day' where divers can get some sort of amnesty to drag all this crap to shore so fisheries can dispose of it. Particularly at rotto where there is so much gear rotting in the water it's only going to get worse and worse.




 Stop playin' with yourself, Hooper. Slow ahead, if you please.

Faulkner Family's picture

Posts: 15909

Date Joined: 11/03/08

 thats a good idea. i think

Wed, 2019-02-13 21:16

 thats a good idea. i think it would be of benefit to all. clean up the area and give others a chance to put pots where was thaught to be plenty of pots already in. we have come accross a couple of ropes and floats in mandura that obviously lost or discarded


RUSS and SANDY. A family that fishes together stays together

little johnny's picture

Posts: 4031

Date Joined: 04/12/11

Slide weights

Wed, 2019-02-13 21:54

Floats get cut . Sinks .big chain links slide off. Rope floats. Simple cheap. While diving this year came across many pots on bottom. All ropes connected ( lead ropes, sinkers all sorts). Not worth fine. Wasted pots nothing you can do. Unless there your own.

Ayamigo's picture

Posts: 18

Date Joined: 18/11/17

Good tip

Wed, 2019-02-13 22:01

 You're on to it!


 Stop playin' with yourself, Hooper. Slow ahead, if you please.

ranmar850's picture

Posts: 2556

Date Joined: 12/08/12

Johnny, I know you've mentioned this before

Thu, 2019-02-14 10:34

 A couple of questions

  • Do you just thread the rope through the chain links, and let it slide down to a knot or something?
  • Whats to stop the links NOT sliding off and just taking the rope to the bottom?
  • How do you get it around a capstan? or do you just have enough slack to pull it by hand past the weght before you start taking turns?


I know you described it previously, but I couldn't quite get my head around it.


It might be time to tell the Fisheries that their new, whale-friendly rule( extended from pro requirements) has unintended consequences, if that much gear is being sunk. The whole whale entanglement thing gets a lot of publicity, but my decades of expereince in this field taught me a few things.

  1. Whales don't tangle in taut ropes. If the length of rope is appropriate to the depth of water, which can mean up to 3 times the depth, and there is any tide, the whales just brush past. Christ, I've had them brush against anchor ropes on a trailer boat and move the boat, they just slide off. 
  2. The problems generally occur in a very short window, just after the pot has been set. if they swim through loose coils, they can and do get caught. So for a few minutes after a pot has been set, there is a window of risk. I also killed a huge leatherback turtle like this many years ago   he must have stuck his head into the coils, and the whole lot tightened around his head and dragged him down.
  3. Fisherman bringing gear back inside without shortening up are probably the main culprits. 120 fathoms of rope in 20 fathoms. Even pro fishermen hate others who do this, it's usually just so you can shorten up, so only for a day. But, whatever, not good practice.
  4. Amateurs generally work away from the major whale migratory  areas
  5. Over the years, I tangled up as many manta rays as anything else.  They get the rope between their horns then just swim around in circles. I had to get hold of the floats and get it on the winch, very hard in  itself, then winch up very slowly until the pot got under his chin to flip him over. one was not so lucky, big tiger got to him before I did. Also cut a few green turtles and another leatherback free, alive. Again, they must have found loose rope just after the pit had been set. Weighting the upper parts of the rope won't help with that.
Alan James's picture

Posts: 2027

Date Joined: 30/06/09


Thu, 2019-02-14 10:51

There is a pic in this thread that may help you visualise the setup.



ranmar850's picture

Posts: 2556

Date Joined: 12/08/12

I saw that when first posted

Thu, 2019-02-14 14:40

 And that is what I was referring to when I said i didn't really get it, without seeing it laid out. so, i am guessing the rope diappearing off left of picture is going up to the floats? The link slides on this, the knot stops the float from sliding up, whats' the business with an end of rope, another rope disappearing off screen, and some piece of wire/ or is that jst meant to signify that the ropes are joined? So, a very quick lash-up in paint



Alan James's picture

Posts: 2027

Date Joined: 30/06/09


Thu, 2019-02-14 16:45

Your image above is consistent with what I envisaged.  The stopper knot in the rope stops the float from riding up and the chain link(s) from sliding further down.  



brown364's picture

Posts: 194

Date Joined: 25/08/15

used the slide

Thu, 2019-02-14 07:35

 weight this/last year Jonny thanks to your tip off! didnt lose a pot thankfully though a very practical release of weight if it was hit

scubafish's picture

Posts: 761

Date Joined: 15/08/12

cray pots at Rotto

Thu, 2019-02-14 09:48

My understanding of what happens is that after a two week grace, at the end of cray season the fisheries and rangers go all around the Island and collect all the pots and rope that they can find, and return them to the fisheries depot in freo where you can claim them back,with id of course.

keeping in mind of the criminal element in this issue is that it's cheaper just to buy a float than a hole cay pot.
Assholes do, just take a floats over with there id on it and swap the floats on the pots.I have heard lots of story's over the years,EG:where only over for a week or so once or twice a year why would we buy a hole set up,or "fu%^ that we will just pinch someone else's".The amount of shit you over hear at the pub is amazing.


scotto's picture

Posts: 2289

Date Joined: 21/04/08

yeah, but nah

Thu, 2019-02-14 10:48

all good and well when there was an end to the cray season, but cray season is now all year round...

this is a good thread actually. the amount of floats, ropes and fucked up pots on the ocean floor around rotto is phenomenal.

scubafish's picture

Posts: 761

Date Joined: 15/08/12


Thu, 2019-02-14 14:07

REPHRASE, My understanding of what USE TO happen up until recently . P.S also just to add in My Opinion,i think it is more to do with safety for the boaters to get rid of a stray floating rope more than anything,remembering that if you cut a rope at a high tide weather by running over it or by jammed pot,come low tide that rope will(sorry!! would have been ) be exposed more thus the reason for the weight.The weight will lesson the risk of boat strikes and when the pro run's over your float it's buy buy pot rope and all (accidently of course).


hezzy's picture

Posts: 1322

Date Joined: 27/11/09

not a fan of the whale rope

Thu, 2019-02-14 11:37

not a fan of the whale rope legislation myself

imo it largly not needed and is an emotional feel good re whale entanglements, because in reality , bugger all whales out of the 30 000 plus that swim along our coast get stuck in pots


OFW 11

evil flourishes when good men do nothing


little johnny's picture

Posts: 4031

Date Joined: 04/12/11

Only ever seen 2 in close

Thu, 2019-02-14 14:13

One inside cockburn. 1 on five fathom bank. As everyone knows there always fair way out

Ahpuka's picture

Posts: 36

Date Joined: 23/05/13

 New float and rope rules are

Thu, 2019-02-14 15:57

 New float and rope rules are a load or crap (thanks Rec Fish). Pros don’t have to do it all year long so why do we. Plus what happens when a rec wants to fish out deep and needs more then two floats?