FISHING. The capture of fishes, for food has been carried on in a variety of ways from the most remote antiquity, and is probably at least as ancient as the hunting or trapping of any kind of wild animal. The supply of food yielded to man by the waters seems always to have borne a very considerable proportion to that yielded by the land. Of all modes of capturing fish, the most simple and primitive is that of taking them with the band, which is still an amusement of boys, who thus catch trout in small streams by groping below the stones where they hide. This is called in the e. of Scot land gumping, in the w. ginneling or guddling. Even sea-fish are sometimes taken by the hand, approaching the shore in such dense shoals that the water seems almost to be filled with them. This is particularly the case on the north-western coast of North America, a region which appears to abound in fish more than any other part of the world; and there, besides the occasional use of the mere hand, the Indian often catches fish by means of a hand-net or a basket, paddling his canoe into the midst of the shoal, and, as it were, baling the fish out of the water. The use both of the net, in various forms, and of the hook and line, as well as also of the fishing-rod, are very ancient. Allusion is made in several places of the Old Testament to the use both of nets and hooks in the capture of fish. Some of the most important fisheries, as the herring fishery, are carried on almost exclusively by the net. For different fisheries, however, nets of very different kinds are used. See FISHERIES and NETS; also HEIMING, SAL MON, and other articles on the most important kinds of fish. The capture of some very valuable kinds of fish—as cod, haddock, and others of the same family—takes place chiefly by means of The hook and line, and either by what is called the long-fine, to which many hooks are attached, -and which is extended horizontally over a bank frequented by the fish, its place being marked by floats, and drawn after the lapse of at least sev eral hours; or by the hand-line, which, being let down over the side of a boat with a sinker proportioned to the strength of the current, is watched by a fisherman holding it in his hand, and hauled up immediately on a fish being felt to bite. The baits are, of course, various. according to the opportunity of procuring them and the kinds of fish. The use of the fishing-rod along with the hook and line is not so general for the cap ture of sea-fish as of fresh-water fish. See ANGLING. A rude fishing-rod, however, is often used for the capture of some sea-fish. The pollack (q.v.) or lythe, the mackerel, and some other fish of the British seas, are often caught by rod-fishing from boats under sail. The young of the coal-fish (q.v.) are caught in great numbers by the fishing-rod from rocks on the British coasts; and this, which is chiefly an amusement for boys in most parts of Britain, supplies no inconsiderable part of their food to the inhabitants of Orkney and Shetland. The shooting of fishes with arrows is practiced by some of the South American Indians; some very large kinds of fish—as the arapaima (q.v.)—are
occasionally harpooned; and many large fish, both of the sea and of the fresh water, are killed by means of spears—a mode of fish-capture common enough in some parts of Scotland, and much employed by sahnon-poachers, the spear—three-pronged—being known as a leister. Torches are also used by night in many parts of the world, both in sea and river fishing, to attract fishes by the light, which in this way has an almost certain effect. The poacher on a Scottish salmon-river conjoins the use of the torch with that of the leister, and this is popularly known as " burning-the water." It is now wholly illegal, as is the use of the leister under any circumstances. The flying-fish is similarly attracted by torches on the coasts of the South Sea islands, but a small net is used instead of a fish-spear. Tito inhabitants of the South Sea islands take advantage of the habit of some fishes, of leaping out of the water when alarmed; to catch them by means of rafts in the shallow lagoons, encircling them so that they finally leap upon the rafts. The Indiahs ofnorth-western America sometimes adopt a similar method of cap turing the viviparous fish (q.v.) of their coasts. Other very peculiar modes of catching fish which arc in use among them are described in the articles CANDLE-FISH and SALMON op NORTH AmEnrca. They also take the Vancouver island herring (see HERRING, VAN COUVER ISLAND) by constructing long dams of lattice-work on flats left dry by the retiring tide, in which the fish are caught which have come in with the tide, Thia method of taking herring, however, has long been known on the British coasts; and cruises, which are lattice-work constructions of a smaller size, have been used with great success in ninny places. Cruives are also very effective in the capture of salmon, a suit able place of the river being chosen for them, and they being so contrived that the fish readily get in, but do not readily get out. A very peculiar mode of taking fresh-water fishes is practiced in Ceylon, by means of a funnel-shaped basket, open at both ends, which is suddenly plunged down, the wider end downwards, till it sticks in the mud, when, if a fish is felt to beat against the sides, it is taken but with the band.
The capture of fresh-water fish by means of vegetable polsOns of various kinds, is practiced equally in the East Indies, in Africa, and in the warm parts of America. The poisons used do not render the fish poisonous. The/poisoning of trouts and other river-fish with lime is too frequent in some parts of Britain, and is one of the worst kinds of poaching, all the fry, as well as the fish fit for the table, being destroyed, and the mischief often_ extending far farther down the `stream than the perpetrators of it proceed in pursuit of their spoil.
Cormorants are trained by the Chinese for the capture of fish. Otters have also not unfrequently been trained and employed for the same purpose. For a full account of sea-fishing, and the apparatus employed, the reader is referred to The Sea Kellerman, by J. C. Wilcocks.