Ring net fishing involved two boats or neighbours working together.
The ring net sat at the stern, ready and waiting for a shoal of herring. When herring were sighted one boat would shoot her net, which was marked at intervals with buoys, its progress over the water would be called out to skipper and crew. The end of the net was marked by the winkie which would be picked up by the neighbouring boat. Boats working in this manner would be constantly talking over the radio, easing the procedure along. The two boats joined by their net would scribe a circle round the shoal of herring before edging together, starboard shoulder to starboard shoulder. Four crew would jump from one boat to the other taking with them the end of the net and a tow rope.
There is a rope that runs round the bottom of the net called the sole; when it is drawn the net closes and the herring can’t escape.
The neighbour boat would steam round portside and attach a rope from her stern amidships on the hauling boat enabling her to pull against the hauling boat keeping her steady in the water while the sole was pulled, closing the net. Instructions would be relayed to her and the tension on the rope tightened or slackened according to the sea conditions in an effort to keep the net in its ring while the sole was pulled. In this manner, the hauling boat was kept in position, preventing the herring from escaping, and also keeping the net away from the propellor.
Description – how the ring net was used adapted from Shemaron: A Beautiful Endeavour