Recreational fishing is a very popular activity with many individuals who all have their own ideas of how best to catch fish.
Certainly, to people who do not fish, much of the gear is strange and foreign. Actually, since anglers can have so many original ideas and theories about fishing, much of the fishing gear being used can be a mystery even to other anglers.
One technique used by many fishermen is using some form of chum to attract fish to their baits. Chumming is distributing bait or food that makes fish believe their next great meal is right ahead of them.
The very act of chumming can involve some really unusual devices. The most common is a chum pot, which is a wire basket with small mesh. Some form of frozen ground fish or ground clams is places in the pot which is hung over the side. As the chum melts its scent attracts fish.
Winter flounder anglers have been known to make up very small baskets which are attached to the fishing line near the hooks. These are filled with chum to lure fish right to the hooks.
Some fishermen who fish from the beach or jetties needed a way to distribute pieces of cutup fish into the water for chum. One ingenious angler took a plastic waffle ball bat and cut off the fat end of the bat. He then placed the chum into the bat and swung the bat in the direction he wanted to send the chum.
A more technical chumming machine is used by offshore tuna fishermen. In order to insure a steady distribution of fish chunks into the water, someone invented a device with an automated conveyor belt that automatically picks up chum from a bucket and sends it overboard one or two chunks at a time. This took the place of a person doling the chum over the side by hand.
Another electronic device used to attract fish at night is a light that is actually dropped over the side of the boat where it shines to attract baitfish and in turn larger fish to feed on them.
Speaking of night, there are all kinds of lights designed to be worn on the head with bands to keep your hands free. There is even a hat with lights built into the brim. If you have trouble finding things in your cooler in the dark, you can buy a light that fits right on the top of the cooler.
Many fishermen like to fish with natural bait, but many others use some form of lure or artificial substance to catch fish. There are soft rubber baits, some of which are scented. Lures can be made of plastic, wood, and metal. Some lures can be less than an inch long while others may be over a foot in length. There are even lures called “bird” which do not have hooks on them but are trolled behind a boat to attract the attention of fish.
There is a wide variety of objects to help in dealing with a fish after it is on the hook. To avoid touching a fish with their hands, anglers use a variety of tools to take the fish off the hook. They may be as simple as pliers or as diverse as long handled hooks to assist. There are specially designed gloves to wear to avoid cutting your hands on the fish.
Once you catch the fish, it must be cleaned. Some anglers use specially designed fish cutting boards that have a large clamp at the end to hold the slippery fish in place. Those special gloves can come in handy here too. You can use a conventional fillet knife or maybe try a specially designed electric fillet knife that is similar to the old electric carving knives from the 1970’s.
Actually, planning and designing for fishing trips can be half the fun for avid anglers. Most anglers are men, and the objects designed for fishing are just more expensive toys than they had when they were little boys.