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10 Ways to Catch a Fish

How many ways to catch a fish are there?

Photo via bungalowvanille
Photo via bungalowvanille

In the annals of history, catching a fish has long been one of the most effective and ubiquitous methods of securing a nutritious and sustaining meal.

Today, people still catch fish with the goal of eating or selling it.

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However, modern fishermen are also, in many cases, sportsmen, and for that reason, new fishing methods have sprung up over time to provide new levels of challenge and fun to the sport.

There are far more than 10 ways to catch a fish, but view the slideshow to see some of our favorites.

Basic rod and reel casting

Photo via shimano

If you are a any kind of angler, then chances are pretty good this will be the first means of catching a fish that you use. It’s the iconic fishing motion of flicking a flexible fishing rod to cast a line into the water, then using a reel – along with motions of your arms and hands – to move the line around, attract fish, and pull them in.

Casting also has the distinction of being one of the only fishing techniques that exists in competitive fashion away from the uses of actually catching fish. An expert caster with faultless technique and distance can do quite well at specialized events put on by the International Casting Sport Federation.

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Fly fishing

Photo via wikimedia

Next to basic rod and reel casting, fly fishing is far and away the most common method that anglers use to catch fish.

In essence, fly fishing is itself is a lot like bait casting. However, the rules of the sport – which involve the use of artificial, near-weightless hand-tied “flies” as lures – require different techniques and strategies than more general forms of bait casting.

Fly fishing involves the use of specialized rods and reels, but the core of the sport is the flies, which come in a wide range of different sizes and designs. The flies are all meant to mimic the aesthetics and behaviors of different baiting organisms – be they insects or small fish – in order to attract and catch game fish. Fly fishing also has its own mystique of tradition, popularized by books like A River Runs Through It, The Longest Silence, and The River Why.

Ice fishing

Photo via sportsdestinations

While basic bait casting is the most popular form of fishing in the spring and summer months, and while some die-hard fly anglers will venture out into the late fall or winter weather to get their fishing fix, ice fishing is generally the only game in town come the coldest months of the year.

The basics of ice fishing – setting up a shelter on the ice, drilling a hole, and baiting for fish with lines and hooks – won’t appeal to everyone. Indeed, days spent out on the frozen lake can be frigid and disheartening, especially if the fish aren’t biting.

RELATED: Coast Guard Warning: Think Twice Before Ice Fishing One Last Time

Still, there’s something about heading out to the lake and setting up your shelter in a small village of other ice anglers that you can’t get from any other fishing sport. Guys form camaraderie while ice fishing that makes everything else worth it.


Photo via

Spearfishing has a reputation among the angling community and beyond as perhaps the most ancient form of the fishing art, and rightfully so. Men have been catching fish with spears since the tribal hunter/gatherer days, and it’s still a unique and viable method for catching fish.

The art of spearfishing can be tough to master at first, partially because there are so many different subsets – from pole spears to tridents to harpoon guns and beyond. However, there’s something victorious in spearing a fish for the first time that you don’t quite get from any other fishing method.


Technically, bowfishing – which involves attaching an arrow to a rod and reel and shooting at fish in shallow water – is a type of spearfishing.

However, in recent years, this fishing technique has evolved very much into its own animal. Those looking to bridge the gap between hunting and fishing need look no further than bowfishing.


Photo via bungalowvanille

Sometimes, the best way to catch fish is to hop in a boat and entice them with multiple moving lines at once.

This is the concept behind trolling, where baited lines and lures are drawn through the water behind a boat to attract a fish (or several fish at once). Both hobbyist anglers and commercial fishermen use this method, and it is one of the most proven methods of catching a fish from the deck of a motor boat.

Hand gathering

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Not all methods of catching a fish require you to have expensive equipment and sharp technique.

On the contrary, hand gathering can be a very efficient means of catching fish, so long as the fish you are looking for are shellfish. In New England, many people partake in the fishing tradition by simply heading to the beach at low tide, picking up clams on the beach, and collecting them in a bucket for chowders and other delectable treats.


Photo via ferrebeekeeper

Catching fish by hand isn’t limited to shellfish.

One unique method of hand fishing is called noodling, which involves diving into the water, pushing ones hands into a catfish hole, and dragging the fish out of the hole and to the surface.

RELATED: How to Noodle

In many regards, noodling is one of the more dangerous methods of catching fish, as it can result in catastrophic hand injuries – minimized somewhat by wearing thick, protective gloves – and as it forces the fisherman to actually go underwater in search for fish. For these reasons and others, noodling isn’t legal in many states, but there are areas in the southern US where it is a widely enjoyed and respected fishing art.


Photo via teacheratsea

Just as trapping is used in hunting to catch game, traps are also utilized in the sport of fishing to collect large numbers of fish for food purposes. Underwater traps like these can take many different forms – from fishing weirs, which are designed to block the passage of fish across certain waterways, to lobster traps, structures that sit on the sea floor trapping lobsters and other shellfish in boxes of netting.


Photo via swannetgundry

Yet another method of catching many fish at once, netting is used today almost exclusively in commercial fishing.

Fishing nets – like any other fishing apparatus – can appear in many different forms. Perhaps the most popular method of netting is trawling, where fishing nets are dragged behind a boat, collecting all the fish in their path.

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