5 Unusual Ways of Fishing

News & Tips: 5 Unusual Ways of Fishing

Most people fish with a rod and reel, but you don’t have to limit yourself to just one type of fishing. Depending on the type of fish you’re going after, you might be better off trying a different technique. But before you just go out and try something new, make sure you know the licensing laws in your state so that you can stay legal. Some states may require a hunting license instead of a fishing license, or a combination license.       


Spearfishing silhouette
A barbed pole is the primary tool used in spearfishing.

Bowfishing is exactly what it sounds like: You shoot fish with a bow and arrow. This type of fishing is usually done at night, in shallow water, on a small boat. On your regular bow, you’ll need to add a reel, some line, and get an arrow designed for bowfishing. The most common poundage for bowfishing is 40 pounds, but if you haven’t shot much, you may want to consider 30 or 35. Definitely look up the laws on bowfishing in your state, because some states require a hunting and fishing license, and many restrict the type of fish you can take to just rough fish, such as gar, carp, bullheads and suckers. In addition, bowfishing is an effective way to control populations of invasive fish species such as Asian carp.

Bowfishing is also a competitive sport, with bowfishing tournaments being a popular activity among anglers.


Spearfishing is one of the simplest forms of fishing, but it can be difficult to perfect. You need to be reasonably quick and steady in order to hit your mark. Unless you’re on the ocean, you’ll most likely be fishing with a barbed pole. This type of fishing, like bowfishing, is usually done at night, and on a small boat. The type of fish you can take varies from state to state and so does the required license. Almost all states allow you to take rough fish, but a few states allow certain gamefish to be taken.

Cast or Throw Net Fishing

Cast nets, often called a throw net, can be a great way to catch all kinds of fish. The net is circular in shape and has weights distributed around the edges. Most nets have a radius anywhere from four to 12 feet; much bigger and you’ll have trouble throwing it. Learning how to cast these nets can be difficult, and some people prefer to use net throwers. In most cases you only need a standard fishing license to net fish, but make sure to check the laws in your state. Also check what fish you can take with a net. Most are fine, but you may have to throw back a few. 


Although it’s discouraged in some areas of the country, noodling is a very popular way to catch catfish. All you do is reach your hand in a catfish hole, get a catfish to bite down on your hand, and then pull the fish out. If the catfish is big enough, you'll be able to grab onto the gills when you're pulling. Noodling is discouraged in some areas of the country because it’s said that the practice of noodling only targets the biggest catfish, which eliminates some of the best breeding fish. The safety of the fishermen is also sometimes cited. That being said, it’s a great way to catch a big catfish. Check your local state laws to make sure that it’s legal to fish this way, and make sure to get the proper license before going out. 

Trap Fishing

Trap fishing has been around since prehistoric times and is used all over the world. Fishing with traps is very simple since the traps used are not complex. Most traps are simply two different-shaped cones that make it easy for a fish to swim in and tough for them to swim out. Basket traps, which employ the cone technique, have been around since primitive man, and some people are still making their own traps, but most prefer to buy a fish trap. Trapping fish can be one of the best ways to consistently to catch fish, and it doesn't require too much skill, but you need to make sure you're trapping in the right waters. Once again, make sure to check your state’s laws on trap fishing so that you'll have the right licenses and fishing knowledge when you go out.