Low-Tech Kite-Fishing in the Indo-Pacific

kite fishing 1908

“We set out to sea but kept close to the canoe occupied by the two fishermen. Off the island the old fisherman gradually played out the kite. As it swung in the breeze we noticed that the webbing just had enough length so that it touched the surface of the sea with every soft fall of the canoe as it rose and dipped. Presently there was an agitation in the sea behind the canoe and we could see several fish coming to the surface. Apparently intrigued by the tantalizing touching of the surface by the webbing, the fish were jumping for it. Finally one caught the webbing in his mounth and with a shout, the old fisherman neatly hooked it in with a hand net.”

Picture: Kite-Fishing off Pitilu (Admiralty Islands) as photographed in 1908 by H. Vogel of the Hamburg Südsee Expedition.

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Smoke House for Fish

smoke house for fishsmoke house for fish 2

This traditional smoke house for fish, photographed in the Ethnographic Open-Air Museum of Latvia, is made from a scrapped boat hull. Pictures by No Tech Magazine.

Japanese Tub Boats

japanese tub boats

“Taraibune (tub boats) were once found along the Echigo coast of the Sea of Japan and on Sado Island. Now they are used only in six small fishing villages on Sado Island. They have survived to the present because of their low cost and durability.”

“Tub boats are made of local sugi (Japanese cedar) and madake (timber bamboo). The woodwork in a tub boat is not at all beyond the skills of an experienced carpenter, but the braiding of the hoops is now an extremely rare skill.”

“Japanese tub boats are used for nearshore fishing and seaweed collecting. A key tool of the taraibune angler is the glass-bottomed box which is floated alongside the boat. This enables him (or more frequently, her) to clearly see the bottom in shallow water to identify likely prey or harvest. A variety of long-handled tools is trailed behind the boat — to collect the fish, shellfish, or vegetation at hand. Tub boats are propelled facing forward with a paddle, though in one village the men use outboard motors.”

Tub boat“In spite of their ancient appearance, they date from only the middle of the 19th century. Prior to that, dugouts and plank-built boats were used to collect the rich shallow-water sea life around the southern tip of Sado Island, but in 1802 an earthquake changed the area’s topography, opening up a multitude of narrow fissures in the rocks along the shore into which it was impractical or dangerous to take long, narrow boats. Derived directly from the barrels in which miso is brewed, tub boats proved to be adept at navigating these narrow waterways. Indeed, they can be easily spun in their own length.”

More at Douglas Brooks Boatbuilder & Indigenous boats. Previously: The woorden work boats of Indochina.

Low-Tech Whale Hunting in Japan, pre-1900s

low-tech whale hunting in japan

“Pêcherie de baleines (départ des canots) à Ikézouki, Nagasaki”. Source: Histoire de l’industrie de la pêche maritime et fluviale au Japon, 1900. Original at CNUM.

Historical Fish Landing Statistics

“Increases in fishing power, as Britain’s fishing boats transformed from a fleet of sailing boats to one made up of technologically sophisticated trawlers, did little to increase the ability to catch large amounts of fish. In 1889, a largely sail-powered fleet landed twice as much fish into Britain as the present-day fleet, the study found”. Read. Via.

Automatic Line Fishing in River Volga, Russia (1861)

automatic line fishing

To fish for the white sheatfish in winter on the River Volga, a fishing hook was fastened to the end of a long lever by means of a short line. The lever rested with its centre on a block and had a counterweight on the other end. The gear was so arranged that the lever arm carrying the fish hook was pulled downwards and fastened to a support frozen in the ice. If the fish took the hook, it released the support by its movements and was then tossed by the counterweight onto the ice.

Quoted from “Fish Catching Methods of the World“, Otto Gabriel, 2005. Excerpts.