Ukai – The Fascinating Ancient Art of Fishing with Cormorants

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Ukai is a traditional Japanese method of fishing that employs trained cormorants to catch freshwater fish called ‘ayu’. For the past 1,300 years, fishermen along the banks of Nagara River have been spending the summer months catching fish with the help of the highly skilled birds. Some of the other rivers where ukai is practiced include the Hozu River and Uji River.

Fishermen who are skilled at ukai have patronage from the emperor. According to legend, samurai warlord Oda Nobunaga took the ukai fishermen under his wing, conferring upon them the official position of ‘usho’ (Cormorant Fishing Master). He is said to have enjoyed watching ukai in action and vowed to protect the art.

When the famous haiku poet Matsuo Basho witnessed ukai fishing, he wrote a poem to honor the tradition: “Exciting to see/but soon after, comes sadness/the cormorant boats.” In modern times, the master fishermen are still the official Imperial fishermen of the emperor of Japan. The sweetfish (ayu) they catch are sent to the Imperial family several times a year.

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Would You Eat Fish Caught in the Sewer? Yes, Sewer Fishing Is Actually a Thing

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Kyle Naegeli, a 15-year-old high school student from the city of Katy, in Texas, loves fishing with a twist. Instead of going to a lake far away from the city, he prefers fishing right beside his home – in a sewer. That’s right, sewer fishing is a real sport and Kyle is an expert at it.

The storm drain where Kyle goes fishing is located merely 40 feet from his home. He calls it an untapped fishing paradise. So far, he has managed to catch catfish and bluegills, species that you would hardly expect to find swimming around in a drain. Yet, he’s filmed himself getting a hold of these fish and posted the footage on YouTube. In the videos, Kyle drops a 10-foot line tied to a worm or a piece of hot-dog into the drain and returns later to pull out slippery, large fish. “I have a line out constantly, I set it and check it every night,” he said.

Many people have doubted his credibility, though, because of the time lag between putting in the bait and retrieving the fish. But some videos don’t have any cuts, because he catches the fish almost immediately. Kyle doesn’t think it’s hard to believe that he’s finding so many fish in the storm drain. “The pond is like 100, 150 yards away,” he said. “I think it connects somewhere and that’s how they’re getting in.”

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The Sacred Antogo Fishing Ritual, or How to Catch All the Fish in a Lake in 15 Minutes

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Just beneath the village of Bamba, in the Northern part of Dogon country in Mali, lies a small, yet sacred lake, where fishing is permitted only once a year – during the unique ritual called Antogo.

In the past, Bamba is said to have been covered in lush green forests. The lake, which is considered to be sacred and populated with good spirits, used to offer tons of fish that contributed to local food requirements. But with changes in climate, desertification, and the passage of time, the region gradually became dry, infertile and inhospitable. The locals now face huge problems such as unavailability of water, but the lake still represents a precious resource to the local Dogons, but one which they exhaust every year during Antogo. The event is held on the 6th month of the dry season, generally in May, but the exact date is fixed each year by the council of wise men. Saturdays are market days in Bamba, and for the first three market days of the month wooden sticks are placed in the middle of the lake, acting as a signal, a warning that the ritual is getting closer. On the day that is finally designated as the day of Antogo, hundreds gather from all parts of Mali around Bamba’s lake. The 3 biggest groups are formed by the most respected and ancient families of various Dogon villages. The group from Bamba itself is usually the largest. These groups of people maintain a collective mystical silence, except for the wise who recite incantations and praise deities. When they are done speaking, the ritual itself – and all the magic associated with it – begins.

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Fishing for Dead Bodies – a Morbid Yet Profitable Business

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Fishing dead bodies is a well known practice in China since ancient times, when some fishermen dedicated their time to recovering bodies from the waters and then returning them to their families. Back then, this  “job” was appreciated and respected, and the fisherman himself wasn’t rewarded with money but an immense gratitude.

With the evolution of the country, both economical and demographic, fishing for dead bodies soon became a thriving business for most of the fishermen on Yellow River, with younger and younger boys taking up the task, every day.

The most “offering” place, as they themselves assert, is at about 18 miles down stream from Lanzhou, the provincial capital of Gansu, northwestern China, a place where  a hydroelectric dam and a bend in the river cause the bodies to surface.

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Amazing Catch in Congo River : 5ft long 100lbs Giant Piranha

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You probably all know the famous fisherman from Animal Planet’s River Monsters, Jeremy Wade. While he was on a fishing expedition with his crew in Africa, up the Congo River, the British angler made an amazing and rarely catch : he grappled with a giant piranha and managed to defeat the monster after a serious fight.

The result was astonishing as the 52-year-old fisherman pulled out of water a 5ft long goliath tigerfish and held it with both arms for fear of being bitten by its 32 razor-sharp teeth that have the same dimensions as those of a white shark. The goliath tigerfish is well known as being one of the most dangerous freshwater fish in the world, so Wade said he was extremely cautious when he pulled it out of water.

The 100lbs monster hasn’t been caught more than a few times before because of its ferocity and its habitat, which is very hard to reach. The giant piranha seems to consume prey the same size at itself and there have been cases when others have seen it tearing apart crocodiles or even people.

Jeremy Wade’s catch, the “giant piranha”, can easily be on top when we talk about world’s most terrifying creatures.

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Fisherman Catches 1,000 Different Species of Fish

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47 -year-old Steve Wozniak, a lure fisherman from California, has traveled the world over, in his quest to catch as many different species of fish as possible. So far he managed to catch 1,000 species, from a colorful Threadfin Butterflyfish to a 410 kilogram shark.

Believe it or not, Steve Wozniak has spent the last 10 years, and $75,000 traveling to 63 different countries in the search for new species of fish to put on his list. He flew over 1 million air miles, and spent over 20,000 hours holding his trusty rod and hoping for a bite. But all his efforts paid out when he finally caught his 1,000th fish species, a Norwegian coalfish, and set a new world record.

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The Unique Stilt Fishermen of Guangxi

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The Jing people, an ethnic minority in China’s Guangxi Autonomous Region have a style of fishing unique in the world – they fish on stilts.

Unlike the stilt fishermen of Sri Lanka, who place wooden poles in the water and simply climb on them to fish, Jing fishermen actually walk on stilts and cast huge nets, in waters they couldn’t normally reach. This centuries old tradition is unique to the Jing people, and allows them to reach deep waters and avoid foot injuries from clams or sharp rocks on the sea floor.

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Wilcraft – The Ultimate Ice-Fishing Vehicle

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Wilcraft is an innovative vehicle specifically designed to ensure ice-fishermen return home safely from their fishing sessions.

It might not be the coolest car you’ve ever seen, but then again, it wasn’t built to win awards for its look. Wilcraft was built for ice-fishing, but it also drives on snow and water without sinking. Its wide tires create a pressure of only 130grams per square meter, even with a load of up to 250 kg.

Wilcraft also features a tent to protect you from bad weather and a 5-cm-thick insulated floor that keeps you nice and warm on the coldest ice. You too can be the proud owner of a Wilcraft, for the (not so) small price of $10,450.

Keep in mind you won’t be able to race this baby, since it has a top speed of just 30km per hour.

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Crab fishing in the Bering sea

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This is one of the most difficult professions I’ve ever seen, I remember seeing a series of documentaries on it but the sea didn’t look as cold as it does in theses photos. I mean much of the ship is frozen stiff, yet those guys are out there, soaking wet trying to catch as many crabs as possible and ensuring they get a fat paycheck.

I can’t imagine lasting one day doing something like that, I mean I have trouble with getting in the water, during the summertime, during the summer, how could I handle the frozen waves of the Bering sea? Respect!

Photos by Corey Arnold of www.coreyfishes.com

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