Ancient Fishing Techniques

Just like hunting, fishing has been around since the dawn of our species. Today we’re going to look at some of the ancient fishing techniques that you could try for yourself, whether you’re an expert fisherman or a hobbyist and you’d like to see how things were for our ancestors.

Fishing techniques varied all around the globe. In many parts, fish was the primary source of food, but different ethnic groups used different fishing techniques more akin to their environment, which are wildly different from today’s most common pole-and-line method.

Spearfishing dates back as far as 16.000 years ago. The use of spears and tridents has been described in many historical journals and the earliest records show it was present in Europe and India as well.

With the emergence of archery, some native South Americans took the bow and arrow to the waters. This technique, though, required a great deal of skill and accuracy.

One of the weirdest techniques from ancient times is kite fishing. Originating from the Polynesian islands, the natives would construct kites using nothing but local materials and attach baits that would float right beneath the surface as the kite flew over the unreachable reefs, tethered to the fisherman, who was at a distance.

Another centuries-old technique is trampling. In medieval Scotland, fishermen used to walk the riverbed in estuaries barefoot, rummaging the sand for flounder, a group of flatfish. Once they found them, they trapped them with their feet and impaled them with a trident. This tradition persevered well into the 21st century, up until 2010 when it was outlawed due to conservation efforts.

What’s most important is that none of these techniques were harmful to the environment. Nowadays, industrial fishing tends to have a very negative impact on marine life. Bycatching is also very detrimental to some marine species since fishing trawlers do not discriminate and pick up everything that finds its way in the net. We should all try and take care of the earth as much as possible. It’s the only planet we have and we’ve been living off of its resources since time immemorial. Let’s do the small things that make a big difference. Don’t drive to the fishery or the hunting grounds, reduce waste, upgrade to an environmentally-friendly water heater system; all of those things do wonders for reducing our carbon footprint and will let us enjoy our favorite activities for far longer in the future.