Droplines may be set either down underwater cliffs or just in the water column. They have a weight at the bottom of the line and a float at the top. They are not usually as long as longlines and have fewer hooks.
Droplines can be contrasted with trotlines. Whereas a dropline has a series of hooks suspended vertically in the water, a trotline has a series of hooks suspended horizontally in the water.
Droplines have the potential to interact with orcas (killer whales). There is predation by orcas on commercial longline and dropline fish catches, including around Tasmania,Bering Sea and Prince William Sound areas, causing significant financial loss to commercial fishers, and threat to orcas, which can become caught or entangled, exposed to ship strikes when moving or migrating, or suffer retaliation from fishers. Retaliation in response to predation on fish catches in previous decades has included shooting and harpooning of orcas.