When heading towards Galle or any Southern coastal town it is a common site to see men sitting on top of a pole swinging their arms with a fishing rod. At first sight, you may wonder if this is part of a skit. But look closer this is stilt fishing, a very Southern way of making a livelihood.
What is Stilt Fishing?
Stilt fishing is when a fisherman sits atop of a small wooden crossbar horizontally tied to a longer vertical pole driven down into the sandy shore deep enough to hold the weight and balance. By using a wooden fishing rod they fish in three-meter deep still waters until enough gullible fish have eaten the bait to perish.
Traditionally during the Southwest monsoon seas are very rough due to this reason fisherman refrain from going deep sea in their boats. In order to supplement their income during this period which lasts around 5 months stilt fishing is their way of livelihood. The daily catch is consumed at their homes and any excess sold to traders who in turn resell in the markets.
Where to see?
Stilt fishing in Sri Lanka could be seen in the Southern coastal towns of Koggala, Weligama and Ahangama. However, they also could be seen in the beaches of Mirissa, Hikkaduwa or Unawatuna. When going to explore stilt fishing make sure to go in the morning between 5.00 am and 9.00 am or in the evening around 4.30 pm until sunset.
How much to pay?
The base price to pay for photo opportunities is LKR 500. This includes posing on top of a wooden stilt with a fishing rod in hand. However, if the stilt is further into the sea they will expect an additional fee. If one is really keen to catch fish by pursuing this craft it may take a few hours and more LKR’s. It is advised to negotiate and agree on a figure beforehand.
While you learn the intricate craft of stilt fishing have an enjoyable stay Yoho Matara Road Ahangama and experience the stunning views of the surf-friendly waves.
#YohoTip: One way of identifying the real fisherman from the imposters is the actors talk money straight-up, while the real fisherman is willing to talk to you and give insights without.