When most Americans think of fishing, a rod, reel, hook, and tackle box come to mind. However, creative hunters and outdoorsmen have been using much more eclectic and savage ways to catch fish for thousands of years. As we explore these alternative methods of fishing, it’s clear that each has a unique set of rules, skills, and challenges.
Bow fishing targets fish that dwell or feed near the surface using a bow and arrow in place of a rod and reel. In case you’re wondering how you can use a bow and arrow to catch fish like sharks, rays, and catfish, a special arrow is used that expands upon impact and a reel is often attached to the bow itself. Whether you’re wading in a river, shooting from a pier, or bow fishing from a boat, one of the most common tips is to aim lower than the reflection you see because water distorts images on the surface. To be ready to hunt in any type of weather by strapping yourself with high-quality foul-weather fishing apparel. You never know when you might get caught in a storm, so it’s a good idea to always be prepared just in case you hit some unexpected bad weather.
Images of men using spears to catch fish are seen on Egyptian caves dating back before 1000 BC, and it’s still a popular method in coastal areas throughout the world. Tools for spearfishing have evolved from spears made of bamboo and tridents, to fully-functioning spear guns that are light-weight and come complete with a reel system. It’s advisable to be a strong swimmer before trying spearfishing, but once you’ve got the skills, any fish in sight is a potential catch.
Nets and Cast Net Fishing
Often used to accompany rod and reel fishing, basic fishing nets are valuable tools for pulling fish into your boat, especially if it’s a big or tenacious one catch. However, a cast net is an entirely different tool that can be used to catch multitudes of smaller fish assuming you know the right spot. Also, there’s a learning curve to properly throwing a cast net, but taking the time to learn it could be the key to catching free bait for a lifetime.
Noodling (Fishing by Hand)
Seen most frequently on survival shows like Naked and Afraid, there are still cultures throughout Asia and Africa that choose to catch fish by hand. This style has its limitations, but a version of it is popular in the Southern United States where gutsy fishermen have been using a technique known as noodling to catch catfish by hand for years. Champion noodler, Lee McFarlin, shows how the technique of sticking your hand in catfish holes can be highly effective for catching fish. But if you’re going to try it, make sure to know the threats that live in the area so you don’t lose a finger to a gator, snapping turtle, water moccasin, or other creature that might also inhabit the hole.
Rather than innovative tools like reels and bows, natural methods of fishing rely on superior knowledge of fish and the environment. Mainly, traps and poisons are natural methods that have been proven over generations, but require advanced understanding to prepare them. For example, a simple fish trap uses the current, a homemade net, and gradually built wall to ensnare fish in a stream. Also, numerous plants are known to be toxic to fish, and tribes like the Carib Indians in Guyana are still known to grind local plants together to make fish poisons.
Alternate Methods of Fishing
Although the rod and reel is the most popular modern method of fishing, any anglers who also have an interest in survival skills might want to learn multiple ways to catch fish. If you lose your rod and are having to spend unexpected time in the wild for whatever reason, then knowing how to jump in and spear a fish or make a fish trap can save your life. Ultimately, regardless of whichever methods you prefer to master, millions of lives throughout history have depended on the innovation of creative fishermen.
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