8 Strange Fishing Methods Used to Catch Fish

Most of us fish using a rod and reel, but if you take time to delve into it, you'll find there are many unusual ways of fishing that are like nothing you ever tried before

8 Strange Fishing Methods Used to Catch Fish
8 Strange Fishing Methods Used to Catch Fish

Fishing with Otters

If other fishing methods fail you, maybe you should consider getting your own trained otter. Otters have been used by man for fishing since at least the seventh century. Chinese writers during the time of the Tang dynasty (A.D. 608-916) refer to the use of otters for fishing. In the fifteenth century, they were used to drive fish into nets in Europe. King James I of England, who reigned from 1603-25, kept otters for fishing. The practice existed well into the 1900s in parts of China, India and Malaysia.

Bucket Fishing

An unusual method of catfishing is used on Louisiana’s Lake Bruin. When catfish begin spawning, local anglers start “bucket fishing.” The participants sink weighted buckets with a semicircular hole cut in the lid. Catfish enter the containers to spawn and are captured by lifting the containers from the water using an attached line. The technique is highly effective.


The Dancing Fisherman


Lots of catfishermen still enjoy jugfishing, where the participants follow floating jugs to which baited hooks and line have been attached. It’s been more than a century, however, since anglers employed a special type of floating fish-catcher called the “Dancing Fisherman.” For this means of fishing, a jumping-jack (a small, jointed man whose limbs are moved by jerking a string attached to them) was fastened to a stick secured in an upright position on a float made from a board. Through a hole in the float passed a string attached to the jumping-jack, and tied securely to this were the hook and line. When a fish took the bait and pulled on the string, the little figure would throw up its arms and legs as though dancing for joy at having performed its task so well.

Bobbing For Eels

American eels are popular food fishes in our northeastern states and often are caught for holiday meals or to make into sushi. Anglers sometimes catch them using an unusual method called “bobbing.” Using a needle, numerous night crawlers are threaded on a six-foot piece of heavy sewing thread. The worms are then wrapped into a ball, and the ball is tied with stout line. The line is tied to a pole, and fishing commences. When an eel grabs the bob, the thread entangles in its teeth. Eel on!

Churning For Catfish


A method of catfishing popular in the 19th century seems quite strange today. Known as churning, it was done like this. “A flour barrel was taken, both ends knocked out, and the hoops secured; then a half-dozen boys and men, thus provided, would range themselves across a canal, and moving in concert, would each bring his barrel at intervals down to the bottom. The moment a fish was covered, its presence was betrayed by its beating against the staves in its efforts to escape.” When the men heard the fish flopping, they reached in the barrel, caught the cat and threw it to companions waiting on the bank.

Chairmen of the Boards

Another strange fishing method is used by Chinese fisherman. On one side of each small fishing boat is a white-painted board. The board slopes from the gunwale to the water’s surface at a 45 degree angle. For some reason, upon seeing this board gleaming in the moonlight, fish cannot resist the temptation to leap over it, and right into the boat.


Splish Splash

Splashing in the water scares fish away, right? Not always. Anglers in Venezuela often splash the water with a fishing rod to attract the toothy payara, also known as the Dracula fish. This popular South American gamefish is drawn by sounds of splashing, perhaps because the noise mimics schools of feeding piranhas, the payara’s favorite food.

Dapping For Trout

Have you ever seen a trout angler dapping? This once popular fishing tactic seldom is used these days. It’s done using a live mayfly on a long pole with light line. The idea is to flutter the mayfly across the surface without the line touching the water. It’s said to be deadly on rising trout.

Fishermen have devised some very unusual ways to catch fish, including fishing with tame otters.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Daiwa Dark Water Rods

Daiwa Dark Water Rods

From barracuda to wahoo to kingfish to sailfish and beyond, these new Daiwa saltwater rods rely on HVG technology (that makes them 50% lighter), soft tips to protect leaders as big fish make strong runs, and strong backbones to help anglers crank up hard-fighting species from below.

Get on Board: Species for Beginner Anglers

Get on Board: Species for Beginner Anglers

With so many people turning to fishing as a way to escape the stress and challenges that have arisen in recent months, we've teamed up with the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation and the National Marine Manufacturers Association to explore some of the freshwater fish species you can target if you're just getting on board with fishing. #TheWaterIsOpen #GetOnBoard

Tackle Test 2020: Shakespeare Ugly Stik Carbon

Tackle Test 2020: Shakespeare Ugly Stik Carbon

Tackle Test 2020: Shakespeare Ugly Stik Carbon

Engel

Engel's High Viz Drybox Coolers

Versatile boxes available in four sizes; ICAST Fishing Gear Guide.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Celebrate with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these outdoor recipes. Wild Game

10 Recipes for Your Backyard Get Together

Game & Fish Online Staff

Celebrate with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these outdoor recipes.

Who needs live bait when the big 'gills are so eager to strike these lures? Other Freshwater

5 Great Lures For Bluegills

Stephen D. Carpenteri - March 10, 2011

Who needs live bait when the big 'gills are so eager to strike these lures?

While catfish are still catfish, the difference between day and night tactics and strategies can be profound, even when fishing the same lake or river. Fishing How-To

How to Catch Catfish Day and Night

Terry Madewell

While catfish are still catfish, the difference between day and night tactics and strategies...

The National Shooting Sports Foundation provides places to start. Hunting How-To

Are You a New Hunter Looking for Help?

Adam Heggenstaller - August 19, 2020

The National Shooting Sports Foundation provides places to start.

See More Trending Articles

More Fishing

Almost anyone can catch a bunch of small catfish. Hooking a true monster requires a different level of preparation, skill and effort. Catfish

A Time for Giant Catfish

John N. Felsher - August 24, 2020

Almost anyone can catch a bunch of small catfish. Hooking a true monster requires a different...

The previous record also was caught in the same Panhandle river. Records

New State Record Flathead Catfish Caught in Florida

Game & Fish Staff - August 31, 2020

The previous record also was caught in the same Panhandle river.

These areas can offer excellent warm-weather walleye action, but first you have to find the fish. Walleye

Find and Catch Open Water Basin Walleyes

Jeff Knapp - August 27, 2020

These areas can offer excellent warm-weather walleye action, but first you have to find the...

Mountain lakes offer exceptional trout fishing in late summer, early fall. Here's where to go, some tackle recommendations and what to offer them at the end of your line. Fishing

Best Trout Fishing Out West: Where, When and How

Gary Lewis - September 15, 2020

Mountain lakes offer exceptional trout fishing in late summer, early fall. Here's where to go,...

See More Fishing

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now