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The Different Types of Fishing

Last Updated: 24.04.24


If on your last fishing trip you ran out of subjects and just kept on arguing for hours about one of the best guitar players in the world, we will give you a hand. We will try and provide you a more interesting subject as we talk about some of the most used types of fishing. Knowing about spearfishing, angling or even odd methods such as kite fishing will help you impress your fishing buddies.




We know the majority is aware of this fishing technique. Angling implies the usage of a hook (also known as an angle), which is attached to the end of the fishing line. In general, the hook was fitted with proper bait, which varied from village to village, depending on what they intended to fish or what bait was available.

However, what is impressive about this fishing technique is for how long people have been using it. According to historians, people have been using fishing hooks since the Neolithic age. 


Early fishing hooks

Some of the oldest hooks were discovered on Okinawa Island in Japan. Scientists have estimated the hooks are older than 22,000 years. As you may expect, early hooks had a different design than the ones we are using today. Those primitive hooks were made of shells, animal horns, bone fragments, and small bird beaks.

Since fishing was easier and less dangerous than hunting animals, our ancestors tried to improve their fishing equipment. They started to add weights (sinkers) in order to submerge the fishing hooks. Ancient Greeks took fishing to another level as they started around 800 BC to examine the migration habits of Tuna and other fish species. 

There are two prime methods when it comes to angling: line fishing and rod angling. The first one consists of handling a fishing line lowered into the water from a higher spot such as a cliff or a bridge.

The rod angling method implies a fishing line with a hook to be attached to a fishing rod. More than 4,000 years ago, people were using bamboo trees to manufacture their fishing rods.


Ice fishing

This fishing method is traditionally practiced in the colder northern countries of the world. Similar to regular fishing, ice fishing can be done with both angling and spearfishing. The Inuits invented one of the most impressive fishing techniques and equipment.

They constructed an uncommon pronged-spear known as a ‘kakivak’ so they could spear fish through the ice. This unique spear consisted of a hard central prong and two smaller side arms, which were more flexible. Each arm had a blade that was facing inward so the fish couldn’t escape after it was speared.

Although the fishing equipment and technique suffered some modifications throughout time, ice fishing culture is well preserved in countries such as Russia, Latvia, Canada, and the United States. In many of these countries, there are ice fishing tournaments visited by a large number of fishermen.



There is no doubt the Inuits were excellent fishermen so they had no trouble catching fish even when the waters were not frozen. They used stone weirs as part of their fishing technique. The Inuits made the weirs by stacking up stones in a crescent form on the riverbed. 

They piled stones up to a certain height, with only one small space for the fish to swim toward. The fishermen would strike the fish with their kakivaks as soon as the fish would enter the small corridor.

The stone weirs method was widely spread in medieval Europe. For example, in England, some of the rivers became impassable because of the stone weirs. Eventually, the construction of the stone weirs in all freshwater habitats was outlawed by the glorious Magna Carta Libertatum.

However, not all fishermen were using stone to build their weirs. Some of the African tribes used to build wooden dams because it was easier and it took less time. Because of the wooden dams, the water levels would significantly drop so the fishermen were able to collect the fish with their bare hands.      




Netting has a long tradition as a fishing method since people have been using nets to catch fish for ages. The nets used were large mashes made out of small threads so fishermen were able to catch more fish than they ever could before.

There are two main types of net fishing: casting nets and gillnets. For the casting nets method, the nets have a mash with a small opening on the upper part. Fishermen used these nets in shallow water where they threw the mashes onto a school of fish swimming.

Fishermen using the gillnets method would set up the nets in places they knew fish would swim through. The edges of the net would be equipped with corks for buoyancy and a set of weights would be tied to the middle of the mash to spread it out.

The gills of the fish would get tangled in the nets so fishermen had to simply collect them. Nowadays, netting has turned into a serious issue. Because there are no clear regulations regarding commercial netting, the future of the marine life is not looking good.


Kite fishing

This way of fishing could be unknown even for some of the most experienced fishermen. Even if it seems odd, kite fishing has a long and prosperous tradition. This unique technique was developed in the Polynesian islands, where fishermen needed a way to avoid the hostile reefs. 

With nothing but the local materials, these ingenious fishermen invented efficient fishing equipment. The kites would keep the bait close to the water’s surface, attracting fish in large numbers. The kites were simple inventions, made out of banana leaves with fishing lines made out of braided spiderwebs. 

Over time, the kites were improved as people started to use better materials such as fern leaves and baited nooses were used for fishing lines. Today’s fishing kites are obviously better as they are made of modern materials so fishermen are able to reel in big fish such as Sailfish or even Tuna.



Spearfishing has been around for a long time as proof shows people in France and India used to spearfish more than 16,000 years ago. Furthermore, the Native American tribe Hupa has been catching fish by using this method for over a millennium. This might be one of the most popular methods of fishing due to its mentions in numerous stories and religious texts.




As the bow and arrow became more popular, many tribes started to use this weapon as a fishing tool. Tribes such as the Negritos in nowaday Philippines are famous for their ability to bowfish in their shallow waters. Even if they used to fish in shallow, clear waters, they still needed a high level of fishing skill. Because of the way the light refracts as it hits the water, the process of aiming is different.


Hand gathering

Sometimes, you don’t need any fancy fishing equipment to take home some big fish. There are a few old methods for getting fish and seafood using nothing but your hands. However, due to current conservation concerns, some of these practices are now illegal. 


Catfish noodling

Not everybody is a fan of this fishing technique and most of the fishermen have never tried it. The fisherman has to place one of the hands inside a Catfish hole and wait in this position until the fish bites the hand. 

This way of fishing remains popular in the American South despite its dangers. Because it may cause hazardous situations both for the human and for the fish, most of the US states banned this practice.


Trout tickling

This might be the weirdest fishing method that you will hear of. Despite its uncommon character, trout tickling has been mentioned in ancient Greek poems and even Shakespeare wrote about it. 

To catch the fish, you will need to tickle the Trout’s underbelly until it falls into some sort of paralyzing trance. If you are thinking about trying this unusual way of fishing, it might be too late. In most countries, trout tickling is now illegal.



Looking at these traditional fishing techniques you can observe how different they are. However, there is one thing they all have in common. All of these techniques impress us with their simplicity and effectiveness. So next time when you go on a fishing trip, remember it might not be your equipment’s fault for not catching any fish.



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