THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO FISHING WITH YOUR HANDS
Have you ever stared at a stream and wondered what it’d be like to catch fish using only your bare hands? It’s trickier than it looks, and things easily go awry if you don’t do it properly. If you’ve ever wanted to try it, here are some tips on fishing with your hands.
PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE
Much like fishing with a rod, fishing with your bare hands takes some patience. If you’re not very patient, maybe you’re better off buying fish at the market. If you’d like to be more patient, fishing with your hands is a great way to practice.
You might have to wait long periods of time before you even spot a fish swimming in the river or creek. Sometimes, there are plenty of fish to catch, but none will even come near you. When you first put your hand in the water, the fish likely won’t swim towards you because your hand’s temperature is hotter than the surrounding water. Don’t be discouraged. Keep your hand in the water for about 15 minutes. It’ll soon cool down to be the same temperature as the water, and the fish won’t be as alarmed to approach you anymore.
WADING IS UNWISE
Immediately charging into the water isn’t a smart thing to do when you want to catch fish using your hands. First of all, the splashes and your sudden presence in the water can make fish swim away. Additionally, standing in the water with your body submerged can have ill effects on your health, especially when it’s cold outside. You want to catch fish, not hypothermia!
Instead, look for an area where the water flow is steadier. An ideal location will be by the banks with some shade. Choose a spot with more rocks. Slowly dip your arm in the water, remaining careful not to disturb any fish.
GET CREATIVE WITH YOUR BAIT
Fish are attracted to bait. That’s just how it works. So, if you find yourself lacking in that area, there are a few ways around it. It’s natural not to have any fishing bait with you, especially if you’re in a survival situation.
Look for worms underneath rocks or on the ground. Insects can get the job done, too. If you’re out of luck and you can’t find either, there’s always your own finger. First, make sure your hand has already been submerged in the water for a good amount of time, so its temperature isn’t too hot. Then, wriggle your index finger around, mimicking the movement of a worm. The fish will mistake your finger for a nice snack, leaving it vulnerable for you to catch it.
CALM YOUR TARGET
Another way to capture your prize is to calm the fish down. This works better when the fish is more or less cornered. To do this, lightly rub the underside of the fish to soothe it and give it a false sense of security. Once the fish is relaxed, it’s time to close the deal. Swiftly, pull the fish out of the water without hesitation.
BE ALERT AND ACT QUICK
The moment you bait or calm your fish using either of the techniques listed above, it’s crucial to act fast, so you don’t lose your catch. You can grab the fish by the mouth or the gills. This is much easier than trying to grip the fish’s tail or body with your two hands. This is probably common knowledge, but fish are slippery little fellas, so trying to hold onto them as they thrash around to escape won’t be easy.
Going for the gills is your best bet to ensure an excellent grip because that’s where the hard cartilage is found. If the fish bites your finger as bait, don’t pull away. Instead, use your finger to pull it towards you.
The idea of fishing with your hands can be intimidating at first. But, with some patience and a lot of practice, you’ll be able to wrangle fish in your sleep in no time. It’s definitely a skill worth giving a go.
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