I don’t remember when i learnt swimming. Perhaps I had it! When I was small I used to be in the water than out during weekends.

I have a sneaking suspicion that my mother would have preferred us to be in one place for easier management as she had 10.

No wonder then that the fish found us more than a match! The river flowing on three sides of the 9 acre land around the house where I grew up is the location for this item. We didn’t have big fish, but size never mattered.

We had some unique technique of catching fish. Most of it are extinct and the present generation has other priorities and pastimes.

However when I return and try some old tricks, I get an army of followers. My wife’s coinage for me ‘Robinson Crusoe’.

Catching fish with bare hand!

This technique is not for all. Exclusively used by my elder brother and me, mostly done together, resembling the technique of the pack of wolves.

We take turns and run after the fish in relay till the fish get tired and stand still. Then one of us close in with bare hands. The fish suddenly vaults and we knew exactly when and which direction the run is and the trained hands go round the fish.

The major difference between the wolves and us is in the targeting of the prey. The wolves go for the weak and tired and us for the best and smartest.

Koodam Adi 

Fish hides under the small rocks in the river are made unconscious with a heavy banging of the 16 pound hammer.


is the gas based lamp used mainly for lighting public places for functions etc. The intense light at night blinds the fish and they are caught with a knock on the head with the non sharp side of a sickle.


Perhaps the most innovative of all the techniques. Here a mud vessel typically used for Kerala fish curry is covered with a white cloth and tied to close the chatti. Some food mostly partially burned oil cake is put inside before closing. A hole is made carefully using a burning piece of a wood. The hole is just right for the fish to get in. The chatti is then strategically placed in the river. Fish attracted by the food get in but will not know how to get out.


A small barricade is created in the flowing stream and a cleverly made trap of coconut sticks is placed on the opening. Fish can get in with the flow of water but can’t get out 


Kerala Palm tree flowers are manipulated to extract toddy for consumption as an intoxicating drink. The seed of the palm tree is partially crushed and dropped in the river where there is a heavy flow. This intoxicates the fish downstream and caught using the sickle technique or a small round fishnet.


Angling, the difference being the fishing rod made of stem of the Palm tree branch.

Bathing towel technique 

A rather weak method mostly at the early years where the towel is used by two people to corner and catch the fish.


To our credit we never used this. There is a chance that we were afraid of its handling!

Good idea to relive this in Thidanad during rainy season. Welcome to join. It will be fun.


2 thoughts on “Fishing 

  1. Marykutty says:

    I think all these methods were practiced by the village people in the nearby streams and small rivers those days. My maternal grandfather was a very regular fisherman who used some of the above methods. He used to catch them in plenty and it was the women folks job to cure them and stock them for the lean season. What we children used to do is one end of a thorth (the white towel used to dry oneself after bath) around our necks and spread the rest of it under water and as a few small fish come over it suddenly lift the other end to trap them in the fold! Yes Kurian, most time of our weekends was spent in the small river only to come home when one is dying with hunger.! The bomb you mentioned must be what they used to call “potash ” .

    Liked by 1 person

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