weird fishing traditions
Unmissable Japan

10 Weird Fishing Traditions From Around the World

From the obvious to the sublime, these 10 weird fishing traditions are the stuff of legend around the angling community.

The way we catch fish from England to the American shores and beyond has always been about individual experience and expertise. Between saltwater fishing and its freshwater cousin, fishing methods change from person to person, but some of these angling oddities have stood the test of time.

Fishing baits come and go, but from the Atlantic to the Pacific, fishing boats everywhere are lined with men and women who have one thought in mind: who can catch the most and the biggest? And, sometimes those possibilities are determined by odd things, such as fried chicken or cigarette butts!

Here are 10 funny, weird and crazy fishing methods that are sure to tickle your funny bone even while they remind you of the obvious ways and reasons why we chase fish around the globe. You don't need the latest fishing line or fishing lures to stop your favorite gamefish in their tracks.

Sometimes, all you need is your feet... Read on!

1. Japanese cormorant fishing

Long before I learned to hate these non-native, fish-gulping birds in my home state of New York, I remember watching these old shows on TV with my parents. They showed how humans learned to harness the fish-catching abilities of these water birds to fill their own creel. Since folks in Japan have been doing it for some 1,300 years, it stands to reason that it's not only weird, but quite a worthy method.

2. Everything you've ever used to catch catfish

Cheese, hot dogs, gumballs, raisins, Spam, chicken liver, even things like soap and cigarette butts have been laid out to entice those whiskered refugees from the frying pan into biting our line.

3. Flounder tramping

Just to review, that's tramping, not trampling. In Palnackie—along the South West coast of Scotland—flounder tramping has its own World Championship! Flounder tramping is, of course, a traditional method of finding and catching flounder by wading into shallow water and basically standing on them.

It stands to reason that somewhere along the line, somebody walking on the beach at low tide stepped on their lunch and tramping was born.

4. Corn-on-the-carp

It would be fun to know who it was that came up with this one in the first place, but I've got to believe that there was more than one person involved. Since carp seem to be everywhere that water is, fishermen have been wanting to catch them ever since they first laid eyes on them.

Finding the cheapest and best fishing baits to use came along soon after, and corn puts carp on the hook like water on your line!

5. Tuna in a crowd

We've been watching this happen since we were kids and it still leaves us in awe to see men sitting on the side of a large fishing vessel that can simply dip their line in the water and lift them out. In the age of trawlers and commercial fishing, this old-school method now looks even better.

6. Trout and the mini-marshmallow

Trout, especially hatchery-raised trout, are suckers for these miniature sugary treats. They may mimic the pellets that they've been raised on, or maybe they just look tasty, but the fact remains that an angler can fill his creel by putting a couple on the hook and hanging on.

7. New Zealand kite fishing

Kite fishing is a technique using an actual kite from which hangs a line attached to some kind of lure or bait. The kite is then flown out over the surface of the water, and the bait floats near the waterline until the kite drops, immediately signaling the fisherman that the bait has been taken.

8. Hawaiian sling

Popularized in the 1950s, the Hawaiian sling occupies the space between the old polespear and a speargun. A Hawaiian sling is often referred to as an "underwater slingshot" While it doesn't have the power of a speargun, it's a traditional way hunting fish like no other.

9. Salmon wheel

There's hand fishing, and there's handline fishing, but the salmon wheel makes fishing hands-free! Fish wheels and fish traps have been around forever, but this particular contraption is as traditional as it gets and just as odd, literally scooping salmon right out of the water.

10. Noodling

What was first thought of as an insane pastime has now become infinitely popular thanks to people like Hannah Barron. Who ever thought that blindly reaching under turbid, muddy water for fish the size of your arm—and even bigger—would ever become a tradition? Noodling isn't a bad thing, it just seems insane.

Between the Japanese and the native Indians of the Pacific Northwest, we get to see a new window on the world of fishing techniques. Sometimes funny and often in need of good luck, these ways to catch fish seem more like they were invented in the back yard than on a boat.

Anglers the world over have spent thousands of years trying to catch more fish, and have found some very inventive ways to do it. Even with today's gear and our modern minds, it seems like some of the old ways still work just fine, and according to these methods- they catch fish!