How To Catch A Fish With Your Hands

Fishing is a tradition any lover of the outdoors should partake in at least once. The battle between man and fish is a noble one, celebrating and strengthening our ingenuity and resolve against a determined opponent. But even more impressive than reeling in the big one? Snatching it with your bare hands out of what it thinks to be a safe space. Just a word of warning—you may feel an urge to bite straight into the animal as you get carried away by the sheer badassery of your deed, but try and show some restraint.


When selecting your quarry, make sure you’re aware that some fish fight back harder than others. Catfish, for example, are known to inflict serious cuts to people who pluck them from their waters. Sharks are…sharks. It’s difficult enough to haul in a fish barehanded without having to worry about losing an arm in the process.


Even though the fish are in the water, that doesn’t mean your whole body needs to be. Instead, find a bank hanging over a deep, slow-moving tide. Lean down and dip your arm into the water until it’s just above your elbow. Then, be still and wait. Fish don’t go near objects that are warmer than the water and its surroundings, so you have to wait for your arm to stop radiating heat. After about 15 minutes, fish will have trouble telling the difference between your arm and underwater vegetation.


Use your index finger to lure your fish. Mimic worm movements by wiggling it. This makes your finger look like an insect or other small creature and will lure the fish into your clutches.


Once the fish is in your range, snatch it! You have to be quick and aim your fingers under its gills, where you’ll find a good amount of bone and cartilage. Holding onto the fish there will make it easier to keep him from slipping away as he begins to thrash.

This post was derived from “The Official Handybook for Men” by James Ellis. For more handy tips, you can purchase the book from our online store.