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Fishing Techniques

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Fishing Techniques

The term fishing is used broadly to describe the act of catching certain groups of aquatic animals, including fishes, mollusks, cephalopods. In most cases, fishing is an activity that involves catching fishes from a body of water capable of holding a reasonable amount of fishes.


However, most fishing activities are carried out in large water bodies with massive amounts and varieties of fishes. Fishing techniques are the methods that encompass a set of aspects that deal with fishing in a particular way, depending on the species of fishes involved. Fishing has gone from being just a recreational and occupational venture to an immense revenue-generating activity for many top economies worldwide. 

Types of Fishing

Depending on the fishing purposes, fishing can be classified into the following types: 

Traditional fishing

Traditional fishing is mainly done on a small scale with the use of traditional means of fishing. The act of fishing is an age-long practice that has spanned thousands of years. Over the years, different cultures developed their fishing methods according to their environment and as a means of survival. Let’s look at some traditional fishing techniques and their influence on modern-day fishing. 



One of the most common and oldest fishing techniques known to man is angling. It involves the use of a hook(angle) attached to a fishing line. Most times, a bait is attached to the hook to lure the fishes. The angling practice dates back to the Neolithic age, and it has dramatically evolved to become the most widespread fishing technique today. 


Spear fishing

The practice of spearfishing dates back thousands of years as it one of the oldest fishing methods used by fishermen around the world. Historically, several tribes such as the Native American tribe Hupa have been known to have practiced spearfishing for thousands of years.

The practice of spearfishing in modern times has remained mostly unchanged. The fishing technique is still being practiced in many fishing communities around the world. 


Hand gathering

As weird as it sounds, hand gathering is one of the traditional ways of fishing. Dating back to ancient times, using just hands to catch fishes was one of the more prominent fishing forms. Some of the standard techniques of fishing by hand gathering include: 

  • Catfish noodling: The system involves the fishermen placing their hands on catfish holes and waiting for it to bite. Many states have banned catfish noodling in the US because of the inherent dangers of anglers and fishes. 
  • Digging for clams and lobsters and crabs. 


Ice fishing

Ice fishing is one of the age-long traditional fishing techniques that entail catching fish through an opening in the ice on a frozen water body. Ice fishing is widespread in countries with a cold climate. The method has not changed much over the years as it involves a slight version of angling and spearfishing. Ice fishing is still prevalent in countries like Canada, Finland, Norway, United States, Russia, Latvia, and Estonia. 


Kite fishing

Kite fishing is a traditional fishing technique that includes fishing kites that floats the baits just beneath the water surface. Though kite fishing’s popularity had waned in modern times, it is still one traditional fishing technique that keeps evolving over the years. 



The use of nets for fishing remains one of man’s greatest fishing inventions. Netting is one of the most popular fishing techniques as it one of the oldest fishing methods. Fishing nets of ancient times had large meshes made from thin threads, making fishers catch an incredulous amount of fishes.

These days, nets in fishing are highly regulated to ensure the sustenance of marine life. Among the different types of nets, the following nets stand out: 

 Gill nets: As the name implies, fishes get entangled in the nets through their gills. Some gill nets are fitted with corks to the edges for buoyancy and weights along the middle to spread them out. 

Recreational Fishing

Popularly called sport fishing, recreational fishing is done mainly for recreational or sports purposes. Some of the techniques used in the recreational fishery include: 

  • Angling (fishing with a fishing rod, line, and hook)
  • Spear fishing 
  • Hand gathering
  • Netting 
  • Trapping  


Recreational fishing is protected by several rules and licensing restrictions that regulate the rate at which fishes are caught. While many regulatory agencies primarily enforce commercial fishing regulations in the oversea waters. Recreational fishing regulations are barely enforced in their territorial waters.

However, conservative-minded recreational anglers practice voluntary catch and release fishing policy to protect and sustain the marine ecosystem. Sports fishing has become increasingly popular in recent times. Sports fishing has grown from locally organized tournaments to keenly contested competitions with a massive following in North America and some parts of Europe and Australia. 

Professional or Commercial Fishing

Professional or commercial fishing is mostly done in large bodies of water for mainly commerce purposes. Large water bodies have an abundance of fishes that can be explored in commercial quantities.


Commercial fishing accounts for more than 80 percent of the world’s fishes that end up on our table. Most of today’s commercial fishing is done using large fishing vessels with advanced technology designed to catch an insane amount of fishes.


Some of these fishing vessels come with facilities such as living quarters for onboard workers, store space for caught fishes, and gigantic freezers to preserve the fishes onboard. 

Types of Fishing Gears Used in Commercial Fishing

Gill nets 

 It is not uncommon to see the use of gill nets in commercial fishing. They could be as long as seven miles in length and weight at the bottom with floats at the top to keep the net upright. 

Gillnet fishing has minimal impact on the environment as seabed interaction is almost none existent. Gillnet fishing also covers the use of trammel nets and stationary gill nets. The chances of catching unwanted species are high with gill nets. Similarly, the size of the fishes caught by the nets are dependent on the mesh size of the gill nets. 



One of the most common fishing methods is longlines. Commercial fishing ships layout longlines with lots of baited hooks at a depth of the sea or kept afloat by buoys. Longlines are capable of catching larger fishes such as yellow fishes and swordfish. 


Purse Seines 

Purse seines are nets primarily used for catching tuna, mackerel, and a host of other fish species. The vertical net curtain is used to enclose the school of fish, after which the bottom is then drawn together to secure the fish. Purse seines in open waters can be an effective form of fishing as there is no sea bed contact and a very minimal chance of catching unwanted species. 


Bottom trawls 

Bottom trawls are methods of fishing that use a cone-like net with a closed-end that holds the fishes. The nets are towed by one or two boats and are built to catch fishes living deep in the sea.

Midwater trawlers

Midwater trawlers are also known as pelagic trawls. They are usually larger than bottom trawls and designed to catch fishes in mid and surface water. Midwater trawlers mostly catch fishes such as mackerel, herring, and hoki.

The trawler uses acoustic technology to locate the target fish’s depth and position; then, the net is laid accordingly. Midwater trawls do not have any contact with the seabed, and the incidence of catching unwanted species of fish is minimal. 

Pole and line 

Pole and line is a fishing method targeted at catching tuna fish and other midwater species of fish. As the name suggests, pole and line are handheld wooden or fiberglass poles used by anglers on a vessel to catch fishes one at a time. 

Once a school of fish is found, splashes of water containing sardines are released from the boats’ back. The goal is to lure targeted fishes into a feeding frenzy and, in the process, get caught by the Barbless Hooks for Fishing attached to the pole lines. Once a fish is detected, it is flicked up and over the angler’s head onto the deck. 


Pots and traps

The pots and traps fishing method is specifically designed to catch crustaceans such as crabs and lobsters. They are mainly made with wood, plastic, or wire netting. The targeted crabs and lobsters are lured by bait and trapped in the pot once it falls for it. An exclusion device is used to ensure that unwanted species do not get caught in the pot. 



Dredges as a fishing method are targeted at catching oysters, clams, and scallops. They are rigid structures towed along the seabed. Depending on the type, dredges come in different designs and operational mechanisms. As a result of its environmental impact on seabeds, the use of dredges is strictly regulated. 


Fishing techniques and practices continue to evolve as it vital for each fishing technique to meet up with the standard regulations and legislation that cover the fishing industry. You must practice safe fishing to ensure the sustenance and preservation of marine life

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Fishing Techniques