Bush Craft & Wilderness Survival Articles, Gear Reviews & Videos
A Primer on Set Hooks and Trotlines - Part One
by Keith A. Williams
While speaking to some children the other day at the local boat landing, I became saddened at the realization that there were so many young people who apparently are growing up without even the basic understanding of the practical fishing techniques that had once been considered to be such an important part of every day life in my childhood. With this in mind, I’d like to take a moment to talk a little about Set Hooks and Trotlines.
When I was little, it was not uncommon to see people using what were known as bank poles. This was usually a bamboo pole with a fishing line attached to one end, and the other, sharper end simply stuck into the bank. If set up properly, this could hold a large fish or even a small gator, but if done poorly, you might well find yourself sitting in the mud while watching your pole swim away. With that in mind, a better configuration was to have a small forked stick to support the pole a little way up the shaft. This kept the lower end in position and allowed the upper end to arch and bend like a regular fishing pole without much fear of having the whole setup being pulled into the water. Although these are quite effective, their usage first requires finding suitable bamboo poles and then having to carry them to the fishing locations and this generally sees their usage in limited numbers.
A more popular concept is that of the Set Hook. Whether they know them as set hooks, bush hooks, set lines, limb lines, throw lines, or some other name, variations can be found most everywhere, and have been a long-time standard means of catching larger numbers of fish in a given time frame. It has been said that they do this with less effort, but that is debatable as checking them properly can be a considerable amount of work.
On to PART TWO
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