Imagine for just a minute that you are stranded on a remote island or in the deep woods without the luxury of your fishing rod and reel. You might even be immersed in a different culture that uses fishing as a primary source of sustenance. Or, maybe you decide not only to fish for food while you are stranded, but also to pass the time. After all, most people would much rather try a new fishing technique than have a one-sided conversation with a volleyball named “Wilson.”
Sure, this may all sound a bit like an episode of Survivor or a scene from the movie Cast Away, but what techniques would you use if you had no rod and reel? You may be interested in learning about a few rather unique fishing techniques that are used in the U.S. and in other cultures that don’t involve your typical rod and reel set up.
Here are five examples of unique fishing techniques from different regions and cultures. However, keep in mind that since you aren’t really stranded, you always need to check to see what fishing laws and regulations apply before trying any new type of new technique.
Dipnet Fishing. Dipnet fishing for salmon is a technique that was originally reserved for the natives of Alaska until the Board of Fisheries opened it up to state residents in 1996. Dipnet fishing can be much more challenging than fishing with a rod and reel. While the gear itself seems simple enough (a huge landing net), the process is fairly complex. Finding a safe spot to fish on a waterway with strong current, such as the Copper River, is the first and most important step. Another important tip is to keep the net as straight as possible while in the water so that there is a wide area for the fish to swim into. Then, once you feel a bump, pull the net up vertically as fast as possible so that the fish doesn’t swim out of the net. You can find more information about Alaska dip net permits and regulations through the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
Cane Pole Fishing. You can still find a few fans of good old-fashioned cane pole fishing (more commonly in the Southern U.S.). This freshwater fishing technique can truly take you back to one of the simplest methods of fishing. The only components you need are a cane pole (switch of bamboo about 7 to 10 feet long), line and a hook. Add an earthworm or cricket to your hook and you may be pulling in bluegill or catfish before you know it.
Stilt Fishing. This is an angling technique that is reserved to the country of Sri Lanka. Stunning images of the stilt fishermen of Sri Lanka have been submitted as entries in National Geographic’s Annual Photo Contest. Native anglers climb up onto a stilt or stick in the water that has a second piece of wood tied across it to create a seat of sorts where they can perch themselves during low tide so that they can fish the rising waters of an incoming tide.
Handline Fishing. Handline fishing is a method where a single line is held in the angler’s hands with one or more hooks or lures attached to the line (most commonly done from shore). Handlining is one of the world’s oldest forms of fishing and is still commonly practiced in many countries across the globe. Check to see what the fishing regulations say about handline fishing in your state if you are interested in learning more about or trying this technique.
Soda Can Fishing. Believe it or not, you can also fish using an aluminum soda can. Anglers have used containers to cast out lines for years in Asia and Latin America. This fishing method, works well with little practice. The can itself serves the same function as a spinning spool. Tie a piece of monofilament or braided line around the container, cinch it up using an arbor knot, and then wrap several feet around the can (enough to make a long cast). Then, just add a hook, sinker and bait on the other end.
Do you have any photos or video clips of you or someone in your family fishing with a cane pole, handline or dip net? If so, log into the TakeMeFishing.org Community and post your photos or video clips in the Trophy Catch Photo and Video Gallery.