How We Fish

The only fishing method we use at Brown Dog Fishing Co.
is trapping.


If you care about the environmental footprint of the fish you eat. Then Trap caught is for you. It’s the ‘CLEAN CATCH’

Fish trap fishing developed in Western Australia in the 1980’s as a solution to the sharks taking line caught fish. Trapping virtually eliminates by-catch, it targets the species we want accurately and brings the fish to the boat alive, undamaged and safe from sharks (which can’t get into the traps to attack the fish). Our fish are still swimming when we bring them up to the deck so their stress levels are minimal.


Trap fishing is a skill that takes years to master. It involves an intimate knowledge of the conditions such as sea bottom, water temperature, tides and current/drift and the fish being targeted.

Our skippers cruise a vast expanse of fishing grounds using GPS, sonar and fish-finding technology to track schools of fish and when it all comes together they drop large rectangular steel mesh traps that weigh about 80 kilograms each. The traps, which are designed to settle on the sea floor, are baited with food grade bait*.

It’s a precision operation because depending on the tides, the current and the depth, the trap may drift many metres before settling on the seabed. And the skipper needs to be knowledgeable about which way the fish will move.

Once on the bottom it has all the makings of a television soap: Hunger, greed, jealousy and curiosity will all attract the fish to the trap. The first fish enters the trap to eat the fresh bait, the second fish wants to eat the first fish and the third fish enters because it hates the thought of the second fish getting an easy meal. While the fourth fish just wants to know what all the action is about. Some fish will leave the trap once finished feeding while others will just hang around gulping water and glaring at each other.

Sometimes cod too large to enter the trap will guard the area, chasing all the other fish away and we catch nothing. But that’s okay! Because at Brown Dog Fishing Co. we always want to leave some of the fish behind.

*If you’re wondering why we use food grade bait, it’s because the bait may stay inside the fish we catch for a while, and if it’s not top quality it can actually affect the taste of the fish when it gets to the table. As you can see, at Brown Dog, we always think quality.”

Independent research conducted by the Fisheries Department and the University of Western Australia show fish entering and exiting fish traps at will. Indeed! Some fish will even use the trap as a subsea convenience store, ducking in for a quick snack before heading out to enjoy the rest of the day.

See this fascinating video…