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Kågtind II has had some remarkable results with their Zenith trawls.

The best bottom trawls I have ever used

Norwegian trawler Kågtind II operates in the Barents Sea, and since earlier this year, the demersal gear on board is all from Vónin, with a single Zenith 710 trawl and a pair of Zenith 500s for twin-rigging.

‘The best bottom trawls I have ever used,’ said Kågtind’s chief mate Joen Hendrik Djurhuus when we caught up with him, towing south of Bear Island.

He commented that the single 710 trawl has been in use on board for a year and a half. Based on the performance of that trawl, they decided to go for a smaller pair of Zenith trawls to tow with a clump between them.

First we had the Big One – that’s what we call the 710 trawl – and we are extremely satisfied with it. It fishes well for haddock and redfish, it’s good for cod, and this trawl is fantastic for saithe,’ he said.

The pair of Zenith 500 trawls were delivered to Kågtind II at the beginning of this year.

‘We were interested in smaller trawls for twin-rigging, so we contacted Vónin, and they were just developing them. So we got these trawls in January and they functioned immediately. For that first trip, we still had the older trawls we had been using for twin-rigging on board – just in case we needed to change back.

But after that trip we put those trawls ashore. The smaller Zenith trawls are just as good as the larger trawl and catch well on all species.’

Good spread and headline height

He said that both the single and twin-rig gears are good to tow and easy to manoeuvre. They also provide a good spread and headline height.

‘It depends on the bridles and the warp length. With 60 metre bridles we often see a distance of around 140-150 metres between the doors. Twin-rigging with 60 metre bridles, we often see a spread of 250-260 metres. The Big One gives us a normal headline height of 10-11 metres, sometimes as much as 12 metres.

It was 12 metres when the trawl was new, but it’s normal to lose a little bit of height as a trawl gets used and there’s mud and sand. So 11 metres is a normal headline height and that’s fine for fish that are loose off the bottom,’ he said. ‘The smaller trawls give us a good spread, and we normally see a 6-7 metre headline height. That’s good for all of our target species.’

The Vónin Zenith here tested in Sintef’s flume tank.

No trawl comes close to Zenith

After close to twenty years with the company, and five years as chief mate on board Kågtind II, he commented that no trawl gear they have had before comes close to the Zenith trawls in terms of easy handling and catching efficiency.

‘These are the best bottom trawls we have had. There’s almost no damage when we are fishing on our usual areas, and we fish a lot on muddy grounds in the Barents Sea. There are areas of harder ground, but we tend to keep away from there,’ he said.

‘If we’re in weather that’s too bad to work with the twin-rig gear or the Big One, then we can shoot away one of the smaller trawls, and still fish well.’

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