Greek fishing techniques

When fishing for swordfish, tuna or similar species the fishermen in Greece employ a fishing line – and not a net – with a possible total length of up to 40 NM.
Their rigs use flags / jerry cans / plastic bottles to suspend the fishing line close to the surface at an average depth of 10 metres and always between 3 or 40 metres deep.
And as indicated in the image below: between the flags / metallic reflectors and the bottles the yellow fishing line sinks deeper along a catenary curve.

Greek fishing techniques for safe bareboat sailing holidays in Greece


It is safe to “cross”, certainly if some distance is kept from the floating bottles or flags / radar reflectors. It is almost impossible for sailing yachts to get entangled. In the worst case you'll be able to simply cut the line, it's not a net.


Nowadays rarely flags yet rather metallic radar reflectors are used, allowing the fishermen to locate the fishing line more easily – even at night – as it will drift along with the currents.

There is an interesting variation in the flag / pole colours, shapes and markings by which the owner can distinguish his rig from others. Also, they mark the reflectors for instance with stripes, because during collecting when they locate a reflector, they can establish whether it is the first, the last or a middle one.

Reflectors – Greek fishing techniques for bareboat sailing holidays in Greece
Reflectors: note the distinctive markings, weights, foam for buoyancy and the actual radar reflectors.

The length between two reflectors can be 0.5 – 6 NM, but the total length of the rig (from the first reflector to the last) can be up to 40 NM.
Sometimes the line is cut and they have to collect two or more separate pieces of the line.


You will encounter nets in shallow waters less than 30 metres deep. Also, in the open sea there are large fishing boats which circle areas with nets in order to catch e.g. sprat, but the fishermen never leave their material alone, so the nets are easily spotted.
See “Fishing, Trawling” of chapter 10 of my navigation course.

“Dolphin friendly”

There is nothing “dolphin friendly” about industrial fishing. Even if most dolphins can escape the modern nets: their home is poluted with diesel, plastic and discarded netting (ghost nets), while their food is pilfered.
You can support both the ecology and the ethical local fishermen by buying your fresh fish directly from them, the smaller the boat the better the fish.   He will clean and scale your fish while you wait…