50 years ago, Japanese people in the islands of Tanegashima employed canoes made of trunks of giant pines for fishing. The crafting of the canoes was made during special ceremonies with an old magical charge. After choosing the pine, the future owner and the craftsmen had to ask the God of the Mountain for permit. The god was offered as oblations rice, salt and sake. The trunk was split in two and after that, each part carved with axes, hatchets and chisels. In the rear part, a special place was chosen for locating the rudder. When the canoe was finished, other oblations were offered to the God.
On the sea, the canoes were attached with bolsters for mast and paddles. The first persons obliged to get into the canoe were the fisherman's wife and daughter. All was followed by a general feast for the craftsmen and fishermen.
Here are other local traditions of fishing around the world:
1. Ainu people of Hokkaido (northern Japan) and Sahalin (Russia) islands based their alimentation on hunting and fishing. They used monoxylon (made of one trunk) canoes and fished with harpoons. The monoxylons were 8 m (26 ft) long and 0.5 m (1.5 ft) wide. The harpoon's detachable tip was ointed with poison.
The most peculiar Ainu fishing was with dogs. A great number of dogs were trained for this; they brought to the shore the captured fish. Usually, the Ainu employed two dog teams made of 20-30 individuals. At a signal, the dogs, found at a 200 m (660 ft) distance one from the other swam in columns into the sea, and at another signal, the two groups approached each other, heading to the shore. The fish caught in the middle were headed to the shore, frightened by the noise made by the dogs. In shallow waters, the dogs captured them easily with their mouth. The dogs were recompensed with fish heads.
Ainu used to hunt seals, walruses, whales and sea turtles, but also collected crabs, lobsters, mussels, clams. They always cooked their food on the ember. Traditional food consisted of chestnuts mixed with fish eggs. They also smoked fish. Dishes were made of tree bark and food was kept on wooden recipients.
2. In many places in southern Asia the basket method is used. A basket is sunk into the water, and raised, the fish that casually was in the basket at a certain moment being captured. Some baskets are with the entrance inverted inside, so that the fish that entered the basket can no longer escape. Some of these baskets can be large, 2 m (7 ft) long. The method is also employed in the Danube Delta (Europe) and many other places by the locals. Sometimes many of these baskets can be bound on special fences, in places where the fish may pass.
3. In some areas in Europe, the fishermen use a piece of wood, polished in the lower part, to catch catfish. The wood tool is used to beat the water. Catfish may think it is a prey animal (like a duck) and goes to the source of the noise, finds the angle and swallows the bait.
4. In many places in South America, Indian tribes use local poisonous plants for fishing. When it is a food shortage, people gather special known plants, and their juice is used for poisoning the water. The plants contain chemicals that combined with the oxygen in the water, leaves the fish without the necessary gas for respiration. They turn dizzy and can be easily collected by hand. In a few hours, the poison's effect is gone.
5. In Polynesia, the fishing line of the noble people has two parts, first part of mother-of-pearl, and the other of sea turtle shell.
6. The Alacaluf people (the Natives of Tierra del Fuego) practiced very primitive fishing techniques. To a stick or a mesh of whale tendons they hang a small stone as ballast and on the tip of the mesh or the stick they implant a small fish as bait. A more complicated method was the building at the escape from estuaries or small gulfs of stone dams, that trapped fish shoals during the low tide (the fish got there with the high tide).
The Alacaluf women dived till 7-8 m (23-27 ft) for clams and sea urchins, keeping with their teeth the handle of a basket, in which they deposed what they were collecting. When the basket filled up, it was deserted into a boat, and the action continued. Sea urchins were also fished employing a 3 m (10 ft) long perch with a trident like tip.
7. In tropical sea waters lives the suckerfish (Remora) (which grows up to 50 cm, but rarely exceeds 30) that has on its head and back an adhesive disk. African fishermen use this small fish to catch large fish and sea turtles. Naturally, this fish adheres to larger animals to get free rides. Remoras were bound by the tail, released into the water, and when they attached to an animal, pulled.
8. Chinese fishermen on Yangtze river use cormorants for fishing, while going out on the water on their bamboo rafts. The birds have a ring at the level of their esophagus, so that they cannot swallow the captured fish. The fish is given to the fisherman. Just one fishermen can have tens of cormorants, posed on poles going out of his raft.
9. In northern India and other areas of Asia otters (Lutrogale perspicillata) are used for fishing. Like the cormorants, while fishing, neck rings are attached to the animals.
10. In Russia, fishermen in the Kursha Gulf region capture fish with the music during the winter. An ice hole, of less than 1 m (3 ft) is made, and perches with three trammels are fixed. After that, a fir pale is introduced into the ice hole. The outside end of the pale is beaten in a certain strong and ceaseless rhythm, for one and a half hour. The strange method seems to be very effective, filling the trammels.