Unattended Lines: Sail and Throw Lines

This is a continuation of my March edition feature “Unattended Lines”. In that article we covered freshwater and saltwater trotlines as well as juglines.

Now it is time to examine two other types of lines.

Sail lines are a rarely used type of device in Texas but they are legal and do have their following in some areas.

According to officials with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) they are for use in SALT WATER only. They are in essence a type of trotline with one end of the main line fixed on the shore, the other end of the main line attached to a wind-powered floating device or sail.

  • Nongame fish, red drum, spotted seatrout, and sharks may be taken with a sail line.
  • No more than 1 sail line may be used per fisherman.
  • The sail line must be attended at all times the line is fishing.
  • Sail lines may not be used by the holder of a commercial fishing license.
  • Sail lines may be used 7 days a week.
  • Must have a valid Saltwater Trotline Tag for each 300 feet of mainline or fraction thereof being fished.
  • Construction and Design Restrictions:
    • Sail line may not exceed 1,800 feet from reel to sail.
    • Sail and the most shoreward float must be bright orange or red color. All other floats must be yellow. No float may be more than 200 feet from the sail.
    • A weight of 1 ounce or more must be attached to the line not less than 4 feet or more than 6 feet shoreward of the most shoreward float.
    • Reflectors of not less than 2 square inches shall be attached to the sail and floats. They must be easily seen from all directions. This applies for sail lines operated from 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise.
    • May have no more than 30 hooks.
    • There is no hook spacing requirement.
    • No hook may be placed more than 200 feet from the sail.
    • May be baited with either natural or artificial bait.
    • In addition sail lines must meet placement and location requirements for saltwater trotlines. Refer back to the “Unattended Lines” feature for that information.

Throwlines are another kind of unattended line and they are legal for use in FRESH WATER only. TPWD defines them as, “a fishing line with five or less hooks and with one end attached to a permanent fixture”. This would cover what is often called “limb lines”.

Components of a throwline may also include swivels, snaps, rubber and rigid support structures. These lines tay be used to take NONGAME fish, channel catfish, blue catfish and flathead catfish only.

  • Throwlines may not be used in
    • Community Fishing Lakes
    • Reservoirs or sections of rivers lying totally within the boundaries of a state park
    • Lake Bastrop in Bastrop County
    • Bellwood Lake in Smith County
    • Lake Bryan in Brazos County
    • Boerne City Lake in Kendall County
    • Lakes Coffee Mill and Davy Crockett in Fannin County
    • Dixieland Reservoir in Cameron County
    • Gibbons Creek Reservoir in Grimes County
    • North Concho River from O.C. Fisher dam to the Bell Street dam
    • Lake Pflugerville in Travis County
    • South Concho River from Lone Wolf dam to Bell Street dam
    • Tankersley Reservoir in Titus County
    • Wheeler Branch Reservoir in Somervell County

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