Kansas native Jerry Dishman remembers using whatever means possible to catch catfish in the Big Blue River as a young boy in the 1940’s. In that era, fishing was done to put food on the table, not for sport, so the technology that anglers rely on today did not even exist. Instead, Dishman and other anglers got creative, using techniques like hand fishing, gigging and fish traps. While those techniques are a bit primitive, those were different times.
“There was no sport fishing at that time, so going to the river was only about finding food. We ate everything we caught,” said Dishman.
Over the years, sport fishing emerged and fishing technology evolved. As the retired parks superintendent for the city of Manhattan, Kan., Dishman says that many people still turn to the tried and true techniques of yesteryear, because they work.
What has changed over the years, are the laws governing these techniques. Each state has different restrictions and in some states, certain techniques are outlawed completely.
According to Jason Olive, Assistant Chief of Fisheries Management for Arkansas Game and Fish, laws differ from state to state for several reasons. These include, productivity of the water relating to fish population, state management goals that strive to find a balance between supply and demand for recreational and commercial fishing and the less quantifiable sociological considerations.
“Sometimes regulations are created not because we are worried about a species being wiped out, but because the public feels it’s a method not considered fair chase. Traditions and norms of what people consider acceptable and fair chase differ among regions,” said Olive.
Hand fishing is a prime example, where it is legal in southern states, and illegal in the north.
It is important to check the regulations in your state, but here are 10 old-school catfishing techniques that are still used today
<h2>Yo-Yo Fishing</h2>One of the more popular “non tackle” catfishing techniques is yo-yo fishing. Some catfish anglers use the yo-yo technique almost exclusively because it requires minimal equipment, it is easy to learn and it works. <p></p> While the simplistic yo-yos have become more sophisticated over the years, they evolved from a time when a spring-loaded feature was considered high-tech fishing gear. <p></p> The technique relies on a spring-loaded disk with line wrapped around the internal unit. The end of the line hangs from the yo-yo with a swivel, hook and split-shot weights. <p></p> The device is then attached a dock or a limb to hang over the water. When a fish bites, the spring-loaded yo-yo automatically sets the hook. <p></p> Outdoor adventure and survival schools like <a href="http://blackthorn-usa.com" target="_blank"> Blackhorn-USA</a> teach the yo-yo technique to students versus other fishing methods. <p></p> "We recommend the use of yo-yo reels to our students for two reasons: they are very effective and they can fish while you concentrate on other tasks,” said Dave Carlson, Owner of Blackthorn-USA. <p></p> The yo-yo technique is most effective for catching eating-sized catfish. The best habitats for using yo-yos are low regions with shallow, stumpy lakes or with the use of lures in mid-depth water. <p></p> Photo courtesy of: Blackhorn USA