For some, fishing is a meditative ritual. For others it is an opportunity for an adrenaline rush. Most avid fishers have heard of or visited Destin, Florida, but if you are one of the few who haven’t, take note. It is a little tourist destination in Northwest Florida that has deemed itself ‘The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village’. Fishing, as a means of food gathering, has been around since the dawn of time. The earliest evidence is of Hand Fishing and dates back more than 300,000 years. Homo Sapiens did not appear until 50,000 years ago, so it was the Great Apes who began the practice. Even in this modern day, hand fishing still takes place. In Scotland people go flounder tramping, a practice involving catching a flounder by stepping on it. Pearl divers harvest oysters by hand, and trout tickling is still practiced in some areas of England.
When you are looking into Destin hotels, ask if there are any hand fishing lessons or tours available. Spear Fishing is almost as ancient as hand fishing, and still largely practiced by First Nations people. A spear, harpoon, trident or arrow is propelled at a fish into the water. Similarly, bow-fishing uses a bow and arrow to kill the fish, and pole-spears have a sling attached to the spear. A modern development in spear fishing is the use of a spear gun. Since traditional spear fishing is restricted to shallow waters, a spear gun can by used by divers underwater and garner a much larger catch. Angling is perhaps the most famous form of fishing. Any Destin hotel will be able to set a traveler up with a local fishing charter who has angling tools. A hook is attached to a line, a sinker (or weight) and baited with bait fish. A rod and reel can also be used, adding the ability to cast. A lot of fishers enjoy the movement of casting. It takes skill to get your hook to land in a particular spot and to know when it is time to reel it in. This the point at which talented casters are set apart from amateurs. Trolling is similar to angling, but with a rod and in multiples. That is, several baited lines are set up on a boat and slowly drawn through the water.
Fly fishing uses the same principle, only on a river bed in a singular fashion. This method is primarily used to catch mackerel or kingfish. One universal type of fishing is trapping. Virtually every culture on the globe has some history of using trapping for gathering fish. A fishing weir has been used for hundreds of years in England, Asia and the Americas. Wood posts were erected on either side of a river and a lattice fence was constructed between the two posts. A version of basket weir traps are still in use for catching lobsters and crabs. Animals are an interesting method of fishing, and still practiced in China, Japan, Portugal and Brazil. In China and Japan fisherman have adapted the natural instincts of the cormorant to serve their fish needs. A metal ring is placed around the neck of the bird so that when a fish is caught, they do not swallow it. The cormorant is trained to bring the fish back to the owner, where he is then rewarded for his catch. In Portugal the Portuguese Water Dog is used to send messages between boats, as well as to retrieve fish from the water. In Brazil, a human-dolphin fishery is still in use today. Dolphins drive fish towards fishermen with nets waiting along the shore.
Any fish that happen to escape the nets are rewards for the dolphin’s assistance. The newest form of fishing is Electrofishing. This technique uses an electric shock to stun fish, so they can be caught. Although there is an adamant claim that electrofishing is only used by scientists for sampling fish populations and species health, there has been some evidence of commercial fishing boats using the method. Many feel this method is cheating and not used in the true spirit of fishing. Destin, Florida hotels are accustomed to fanatic fishermen staying in their establishments and will always have some inside information on the best fishing spots in the area. Try as many types of fishing as you can and find the one method that suits your personality.