Fishing is one of the oldest skills in Idalos, a cornerstone of many civilizations. At the simplest of terms, it is the act of catching a fish, through a variety of means. But fishing is so much more than that. Fishing gives life to coastal areas, allows people to settle in places where farming and hunting are scarce. Fishing allows the oceans to become food sources, turns ponds into sanctuaries, and rivers into buffets. Fishing is not to be confused with hunting of aquatic creatures. Sometimes it is difficult to discern which is marine hunting, and which is fishing, but usually gut feeling is the guide.
Fishing contains many techniques, many of which were developed in several areas independent of each other. Some of these, such as a fly fishing and ice fishing are adapted to specific terrains and weather. Earliest forms of fishing were primarily spear fishing and trapping through the use of primitive nets and baskets. It didn't take long for fishing poles to follow, thus creating angling. When boats became more prevalent, deeper waters, and less used waters became available.
Location, Location, Location
The most important aspect of Fishing is the selection of location, no matter which technique is used to physically acquire the fish. A fisherman must recognize when a lake is dead and stagnant, when a river is too swift or flooded, when a spot on the ocean is barren or flourishing. Locations of fish change due to a wide variety of reasons, so a fisherman must be able to adapt or go home empty handed. Everything from time of day, weather, temperature, recent or scarce rainfall, time of year and much more directly affect where fish go to feed. Just plopping a hook down into water is something novice fisherman might do, but those that take it seriously must be able to read every aspect of where fish live.
Angling is the most well known of the fishing techniques as it is one of the simplest methods for anyone to learn. Angling, the use of a fishing pole, gives access to deeper waters than the previous netting and spearing techniques. It also comes with the more advanced tool, the fishing pole. A fishing pole is made up of three basic parts, the first of which is the rod, or pole, itself. Fishing poles are usually carved from springy, flexible woods. Flexible woods don't break as easily. More rigid ones might be needed if fishing for heavier fish, but even then, flexibility is incredibly important. While many fisherman swear by making their own poles, others have carpenters of their own to craft them. A few bone ones have shown success, and rumors of metal ones exist, but most seasoned fisherman balk at that idea.
The second basic part is the line. The line is what allows the fisherman to increase the range and depth of his fishing. It gives him access to further reaches from shore lines, as well as to deeper areas in the oceans. By allowing the fisherman to adjust the distance and positioning from which he can catch fish, it opens up nearly every fish he'd like to catch, every body of water. It also allows the fisherman to not worry about scaring away his own prey, being too far away to be noticed. Early lines were made from a wide variety of things, some from naturally existing vines, to braided hair. Braided silk is only now being used, but it is rare, and expensive.
The third and final basic part is the hook. The hook is often baited with something the fish would eat, then with a flick of the wrist, can be pulled on in order to snag on the fish's body, preferably the mouth or throat. The hook is what catches the fish. The earliest hooks were wood and bone. Metal is more commonly used now. Hooks come in a variety of sizes, to match the fish you wish to catch. If a hook is too big, smaller fish can't swallow it. If it is too small, it will rip free of the fish.
There are several other accessories and tools that go along with angling.
Baiting - The use of insects, food, and other substances to attract fish into biting on your hook. Baiting is one of the biggest points of contention among anglers, everyone has their preferences. Some swear by local bait only, insects or smaller fish and creatures, found in and around the desired fishing hole. Others say live bait is best. Some like nonstandard substances like cheese and peanut butter, saying the unusual scents attract more curious fish.
Luring - The use of artificially crafted objects to attract fish that hunt using their vision. Many of these are wood, bone, and metal, often carved and painted. Lures aren't just about initial appearance, but also how they move. Just as in bait, there are many different preferences in lures, and a massive variety in types.
Sinkers - Sinkers are stones or metal weights tied to the line to let it reach greater depths, as well as maintain its general position in currents. Since certain fish live at different depths, this can greatly affect what can be caught. On the other hand, it presents other difficulties, too much weight can cause your line to drag upon the bottom of the watering hole, so no fish can find it, or even worse, get snagged and need to be cut free.
Floats - Whereas sinkers pull the line down, floats keep the line suspended. They are often coupled with sinkers so as to be more precise about the depths an angler wishes to reach. It can also help reach inaccessible areas by allowing the line to follow a current. They can also serve as bite indicators for fishermen. Early floats were made of twigs, feathers, and rolled leaves. Wooden floats are much more commonly used.
Reel - A fishing reel serves as storage for excess line. This is a less commonly found tool. It spins in order to stow and wind in excess line. Due to the intricacies of making a reel, it is the least used part.
Shore Fishing - This is the most common style of Angling. It involves standing on a shoreline, be it on the banks of a river, shore of a lake, or beach into the ocean. This style is often considered the least specialized but requires a great knowledge of the various techniques associated with angling. Location is just as important as bait selection which is as important as casting technique.
Boat Fishing - This is the second most common form of Angling. Simply put, it is angling from a boat. While casting isn't as important, location is more key. Boat fisherman often have to seek out and track schools of fish, and have access to greater depths, so a wider variety of fish than shore fishing. It takes more preparation though, as a boat is much more work.
Fly Fishing - Fly fishing is a specialized form of angling for fishing in shallow rivers and fast moving streams. It's purpose is to catch the more elusive salmon and trout that reside there. This form of angling puts the most focus on casting. Each cast puts the bait/lure and hook in the water for only a brief moment, to simulate flying or falling insects, in order to lure the fish into lunging for it.
Ice Fishing - Ice fishing is the most specialized form of angling, and really requires the least amount of skill in the core concepts. The angler finds a thick patch of ice, usually over a lake or bay, cuts through the ice using a variety of tools, and drops a line. The fish are usually so desperate for food, they'll bite at anything.
Net Fishing is the most commercialized form of fishing. It involves dropping a webbing of rope, string, and other types of line and mesh into the water, and corralling the fish, trapping them in the net. This is most commonly done via a large fishing boat, with massive nets dragged behind the ship as it sails, and once the net is full, it is pulled in with a series of pulleys and tackle. This style of fishing is most common for fisherman that feed entire villages and cities.
Some net fishing is done as a form of shore fishing as well. A small, lightly weighted net is thrown into a body of water, and pulled back into shore. It requires a bit more strength while having a potential higher yield of fish.
Spear, harpoon, and bow fishing are often done as an alternative to angling, in all of its specialties. It involves using a spear stabbed into the water, or a harpoon on a rope thrown or an arrow attached to line shot at a fish. Usually these are barbed so as to better hold the target to be pulled into the boat or shore. This is often reserved for the larger, less agile fish, as a way to not kill them directly, but rather to tire them out until a kill is possible. Some spear fisherman also swim amongst the fish, looking for prey to stab. Bow fishing tends to be in shallow, fresh water areas, such as slow rivers.
Fish trapping combines Trapmaking with Fishing in order to acquire fish while not being physically present. This is often done through creating current traps. By using rocks or other barriers, one can create a trap where what flows in through a large entrance, and flows out through a small exit, often trapping fish in the space in between. Others are triggered fishing lines, cages, and stationary nets.
Butchering - Once a fish is caught, it often needs dressed. This involves gutting, deboning, and cutting the meat into useable portions for consumption.
Carpentry - Often fisherman like to make their own custom tools to fit the fish or location they seek. This can be used to make fishing rods, harpoons, traps, and the like.
Cooking - Being able to make your hard earned catch into a dish worth eating.
Field Craft - Using one's surroundings to gain an advantage in fishing. This can involve finding ones own bait, recognizing patterns of insects or other creatures that affect fish's decisions, and using geography to the fisherman's advantage.
Navigation - Finding ones way around the wilderness or ocean to find an ideal fishing spot.
Seafaring - Using a boat to reach fishing locations.
Swimming - Where there's water, there's people who will go in it.
Trapmaking - Building traps to catch fish while you're not present.
A Novice fisherman is capable of occasionally catching a fish, with no recognizable pattern of success. While any level of fisherman can use any of the main forms of Fishing, Novices typically find the most success with Angling. Novice Fishermen are able to find standard fishing locations, use simple bait, and know the most basic of casting techniques. Often they go breaks between successful catches, and will typically have more failures in the form of lost bait, tangled lines and nets, and loss of tools.
At Competent, Fishermen typically have found a few favorite fishing spots, recognizing that they have a higher rate of success there. They've learned that changing bait for different types of fish is ideal, as is the weather and time of day. Competent Fishermen have gained the ability to Fly Fish as well as use nets for commercial fishing. They are able to recognize when a new location is working, when a bait is popular, and other such patterns. They've learned how to use different casts to achieve different results, be it for a distant cast, beaching cast, curved casts, etc.
At Expert, fisherman can adjust their techniques to not only catch a specific species of fish, but also chase after specific individuals. These might be particularly large fish that have been spotted, or those of an unusual coloring for their species. At this level, recognizing patterns in their own success and failure is second nature, and they have begun seeking out more specialized and difficult fishing locations. They're able to cast further and more accurately, almost never get a snagged line or net, and are just as much a part of the water as the fish themselves. Net fisherman will often find their nets full at this level, and anglers throw back the smaller ones to catch them later when they've grown.
At Master, the fisherman is unparalleled in their ability to capture any fish. They seek the largest, most elusive fish in the most dangerous of locales. These fishermen are invisible to fish, their hooks always unseen, their bait always specially picked for the target. A master Angler can reel in enough fish in a day to feed a village, and a master netter can feed an entire town. They know the importance of conserving fish populations, of mentoring lesser fishermen to not destroy habitats, and that fishing is just as much about meditation and becoming one with the waters as it is to feed oneself and others. These men and women have caught named fish of legends, though some might call them sea monsters, and saved areas from starvation. Their names inspire entire generations to take up the rod, the net, and the spear.
Last edited by Qit'ria
on Wed Aug 08, 2018 3:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.