13 Unusual Fishing Methods From Around The World

13 Unusual Fishing Methods From Around the World

When we think of fishing, we tend to conjure images of a person using a rod and reel or a net to catch their fish.

However, the unusual fishing methods we are going to be discussing here are nothing like what you would expect.

From using toothpaste and egg, to making fish listen to music, here is a compilation of the most unusual fishing techniques from around the world.

If you’d like to see a graphical breakdown of the unusual fishing methods, we got you covered:

Fishing Methods

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Fishing with Unusual Items

Where the old rod and feel fails, you improvise.

Below is a compilation of the most unusual fishing techniques which make use of unconventional items to land a catch.

Bucket Fishing

catfish and bucket in ground

First up, we are heading over to Louisiana to learn from the locals on how to catch a catfish.

This is a method far more effective than any rod and reel, and it is the use of a bucket.

During the spawning season, a weighted bucket is lowered into the water with openings within it that can allow catfish to freely enter but find it hard to escape.

The catfish get captured when the bucket is lifted out of the water using an attached line.

In many parts of Southern Asia, a somewhat similar technique is employed.

Locals use giant baskets up to 7 feet in diameter to catch fish.

The fish enter the basket, thinking it a safe refuge, but end up getting trapped as the basket is lifted and the water flows out.

The Soda, Toothpaste, and Egg Method


If we were to rank our list in terms of strangeness, this would probably be the most bizarre.

However, the method employed here is pure science.

In Cambodia, local fishermen use eggs to attract fish in a general area then mix the water with soda and toothpaste or other minty substances.

This combination releases a lot of carbon dioxide, effectively suffocating the fish and forcing them to the surface, making them easy to catch!

Fishing with Plants

herb grinding

In South America, natives have been using their knowledge of the local flora to catch fishes.

Special plants are collected from the forest, and their juices are then extracted.

Afterward, the extracts are poured into the water, where the chemicals react and deplete the oxygen levels within the waters.

The suffocating fishes are then easily caught with bare hands.

Barrel Fishing

open-ended barrel

Barrel fishing was once a popular form of catching catfish in many parts of the United States.

In involved more than half a dozen men moving in a synchronized manner across a canal or river, carrying open-ended barrels.

At regular intervals, they would drop the barrels to the bottom of the canal.

Any fish caught would easily be noticed by its frantic attempts at escape.

The trapped fish would be captured and thrown onto dry land to be collected by others waiting on the bank.

The White Board Technique

Some fishermen in China have discovered a remarkably simple yet effective technique to capture fish.

A large white painted board is hoisted from the boats at 45 degrees to the water’s surface during nighttime.

For some unknown reason, upon seeing the board, fishes will try to leap over it and end up getting stuck on the fisherman’s boat, becoming his dinner.

Fishing with Animals

Many animal species are so naturally adept at catching fish that they would put any seasoned angler to shame.

Not surprisingly, many cultures figured out that it would be easier to catch fish by employing the aid of such animals rather than trying to go at it themselves.


fisherman and his cormoran

The Cormorant is a type of a large fishing bird that is commonly found around marine coasts and in river deltas.

In China, many fishermen have tamed these great birds and employ them for catching fishes.

A ring or a tied string is placed around their necks before they are released into the waters.

This prevents the birds from swallowing their prey.

The bird returns to the fisherman with the catch still in their mouth, which is then collected, and the process is repeated again.

A fisherman can have up to 10 of these birds with him for each fishing session.


fisheraman throwin net and dolphin

In Laguna, Brazil, fishermen and dolphins have entered into a symbiotic relationship where both cooperate and coordinate to capture fish, and the benefits for each are equal.

The dolphin packs indicate their arrival to the fishermen who promptly head to the coast with their nets.

The dolphins then drive a school of fish towards the fishermen, who then cast their nets over and capture them.

Compared to using conventional methods, the number of fish caught is many times higher.

For their part, the dolphins are rewarded by the fishermen with some of the catch.

There is a lesson to be learned here. In many other parts of the world, dolphins are seen as a menace and as competition by fishermen.

As such, they are attacked or even killed.



This unusual method has been employed across the world in many cultures for centuries.

The practice of using otters for fishing has been recorded in China as early as the 7th century during the time of the Tang Dynasty.

The use of otter for fishing was also reported in Europe, being employed in a similar method as dolphins to drive fishes into the net.

Their use was also reported in parts of South and South-East Asia as late as the 19th century. Asian otters are still used in some parts of India for catching fish.


labrador and fish

The Ainu people indigenous to the Japanese Island of Hokkaido are known for employing an ‘army’ of trained dogs to catch fish.

Two teams composed of around 20-30 dogs are positioned at a distance from each other and, at a signal, swim out into the sea.

At another signal, the two groups of dogs will approach each other and head back to the shore.

Encircled and frightened by the noise of dog paddling, the fish will be driven towards shallow waters where they would then be captured by the incoming dogs and given to the fishermen to collect.


sucker fishes

Suckerfish is a type of medium-sized fish with an adhesive disk on their head that allows them to stick on to other larger animals easily.

Fishermen in Africa catch these fish and tie a string to them before releasing them back into the ocean. These fish naturally try to find an animal to stick on to.

When these fishes finally attach to a target, they are pulled back by the fishermen, and the other unlucky animal is tucked along with them and captured. Afterward, the process is repeated.

Other Strange Methods

Here are a few other unusual fishing methods we found to be particularly strange but nonetheless very effective.

Beating the Waters with a Stick

Hitting water with sticks

“Wouldn’t that scare off the fishes?”

You’d be rightfully questioning after reading this subheading.

However, the types of fishes this primitive method is employed for aren’t some small fries but often the top predators of rivers and lakes.

The thrashing of the water surface with a stick mimics the sound of a struggling animal or a frenzied school of fish, luring the large predator towards you.

Afterward, the fish may be tackled and taken to the shore or killed with a weapon.

Additionally, with coordinated teamwork, this technique can also be used to scare a school of smaller fishes towards the river banks where they can be captured.

Building Stone Dams

man built stone dam

Common across many native cultures, stone dams are constructed on the sections of rivers and estuaries.

When the tides are high, shoals of fishes can swim into these closed off sections and become trapped when the tides recede.

Making Fish listen to Music

Music for fishing

In parts of Russia, fishermen have discovered a way to use music to capture fish during the cold winter months.

A hole is cut into the icy surface of frozen lakes and ponds, and then a fir pale is introduced into the waters.

The dry end of the pale is beaten in a consistent rhythmic fashion.

The musical sound produced somehow attracts the fish in the cold waters into the awaiting nets or hooks.

Found the article interesting to read? Share it with others who may also find it interesting. If you know of any unusual fishing method yourself, do share it with us in the comments below.

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Roy Ericson

Roy Ericson started fishing when he was just a boy, like many of us did. He spent far too much time on the piers not being able to catch anything, until his uncle brought him deep sea fishing, out to the lakes of Michigan, where he lived, and to the various ponds in neighboring states. He’s been all over, caught over 400 different species of fish, and doesn’t believe you should embellish your stories. He’s just here to teach you about his absolute favorite thing in the world: fishing.