Primitive fishing update

I haven’t been posting as much as I’d like to lately. One reason is that I have less time for writing blog posts because of my new work and kiddie schedule which resulted from our recent move. The other reason is that we recently had the pleasure of hosting my parents for 2 weeks here in Finland, and this week the Woodsboy and I are on vacay at home together. My list of things to blog about is growing faster than I can scratch things off it, but I am trying! Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to read and comment on other blogs as frequently as I used to because of the schedule change. Lately I’ve had to pick one blog at a time to catch up with. If you notice that I’ve been conspicuously absent from a particular venue, this is the reason!

About a month ago, I wrote about my first experiments in primitive fishing. Since then, I haven’t done too much more testing with the rig I made for one reason or another. I did try the thinned-down line for a short while in less-than-ideal conditions, but the result was still the same: bites, but no hooks. Since the conditions and testing period of the modified rig were different from the first trial, the results are not fully conclusive.

In the meantime, I have been in contact with Ilkka Seikku about the matter. He is kind of my go-to guru for all things boreal bushcraft. According to Ilkka, my rig looks good, but the type of “hook” I’ve been trying is usually used in a different manner in northern lakes. Here, the gorge hook was inserted into a small live bait fish with the hope of catching a larger fish, i.e. pike. So basically, I’ve been using the right technology and equipment, but kind of in the wrong way. Ilkka sent me a photo of some hooks he has made for various fish in the northern lakes.

Primitive fish hooks made by Ilkka Seikku.

Here you can see a small hook made from a grouse’s wishbone reinforced with sinew, a small hook made from juniper reinforced with sinew and a gorge hook made from antler. The line is willow bark, like my line. It seems that smaller hooks actually shaped like hooks were used for the small fish I’ve been trying to catch. Imagine that! 😉 Ilkka mentioned that the method of fishing with the hook-shaped hooks was different from that which we use today. Rather than letting the fish nibble and waiting to set the hook, you have to be quick and try to hook the fish immediately when you feel a nibble.

So my next step will be to fashion some similar hooks using materials I can find. To be continued!


2 comments on “Primitive fishing update

  1. Gorges Smythe says:

    I’d never thought about it, but I guess you WOULD need to change techniques. What about the gorge hooks?

    • I will still try to use a small gorge hook to get small fish (not giving up yet!), but I will also try “hooked hooks” like Ilkka’s for them. Generally, gorge hooks were used for larger fish here, with a small live fish attached as bait.

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