Dabnis, thanks for the info. I did not realize that salmon trollers “only” go 2-3 kts. That greatly increases the possibility that I could be over taking them and not the other way around. So, If I can spot gear and they are doing a slow speed, I, as a courteous sailor, will duck them by about fifty yards if I cannot cross ahead. With salmon stocks depleted along the California coast, my chances of encountering a commercial salmon fisherman is pretty slight – somewhere behind the fear of a whale collision. There are a lot of sport fishermen out there (ie. Duxbury reef), but they don’t have any “rights” over me when I’m under sail.
Slow, where do the albacore and tuna fishermen go to fish down in So Cal? I’ll be “cruising” down there next summer and Mexico the following year. And I know that there are large fleets of commercial fishermen all around down there. If their average trolling speeds are around 6 kts, then the chances of me encountering them is much greater. (Last time we sailed to Cabo, at times we were around 100 NM offshore until we got to Cedros Is.)
I have no hands on experience in So Cal waters, only know what I have read about. Albacore are fished all up and down the coast from Mexico into BC, Canada. IIRC, water temp needs to be about 60 degrees & up so, they are generally off shore a ways from about SF and north, although in late August & September they can be as close as 15 to 20 miles. From what I have seen, Albacore trollers have many lines right near the surface, back from 20 to 100 feet. We only fished for Salmon.
As Slow mentioned, all kinds of fisheries in So Cal, some close to shore. Drag boats generally operate off shore a ways, at least in California waters. But like tugs the cables can extend way back and you can't see them. There are also mid depth water drag boats where the cables may be higher in the water.
The commercial Salmon season goes from almost nothing to a month or so. It varies a lot from year to year.