It was unusual in great line fishing to return without shooting the lines, even if the fish were not located.
Herring boats fished at night, as herring don't rise until after dark. Both herring and line fishing needed skill to find the fish. Some boats would just shoot their lines anyway if they didn't find the fish. George Port has come back on occasion without shooting his lines at all, because he couldn't find the bank that he wanted. His father thought that strange, but he didn't want to throw away the women's work baiting the lines.