Stilt Fishermen at Koggala Beach, Sri Lanka

Thushan Lakshitha posted a photo:

Stilt Fishermen at Koggala Beach, Sri Lanka

Fishing stilts, sans-fishermen, Koggala, Sri Lanka.

This is no ordinary fishing, there might be several methods of catching a fish but this one is mind-boggling. Fishermen in Sri Lanka use stilts to catch a fish. Stilt Fishing is an old tradition practiced by around 500 fishing families in Galle, in southwestern-most Sri Lanka, especially around the towns of Koggala,Kathaluwa, and Ahangama.

They usually fish during sunset, noon and sunrise, with each one taking their elevated position and balancing about 2 meters above the water. As you can see in the picture front slider, there is a vertical pole engrafted into the sea bed, attached to it is a cross bar, called petta, on which the fishermen do the balancing act. So with one hand they hold the stilt and the other hand they have a fishing rod or a line to catch spotted herrings and small mackerels, which are then kept in a plastic bag tied around their waist or the pole.

So the fishermen of that area don’t mind sitting for long hours to get their catch, it seems they don’t use a bait either on the hook. Since how long this custom is practiced is not known, Government document which says that according to old fishermen stilt fishing started after the Second World War.

It had disappeared after the 2004 tsunami that struck Sri Lanka and other countries bordering the Indian Ocean, but resumed after things got back to normal. It’s a beautiful sight looking at fishermen balancing on a thin plank, but at the same time it’s tough too. All this effort and toiling only to preserve their old custom, wonderful!

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