Archive for January, 2007

Jan 24 2007

Different Things

Published by under Plant Materials

As all stories doesn’t reach the headline news, like that it is with the things I make and this blog. Here is a few things I’ve made recently that wasn’t unique enough.

Here there is a small figure 4 deadfall trigger, a hare snare of sinew and a two very thin fishing lines of nettle. One with a new, small antler hook. These fishing lines are specifically aimed at getting those picky trout. The lines are really scavanged from the beginnings of the cordage that was originally destined to be used for a fishing net. It’ll set me back a bit on that project, but not much.

I have also made a prototype trap. To my knowledge unique, although it is so simple that I’ll expect that someone have thought of it before. It will be tested in the field in the nearest weeks.

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Jan 23 2007

Ice Fishing

Published by under Catching Animals

Fishing with lines through the ice is not a particulary effective means of catching fish. But as with traps, they take little effort to set and they can fish for you while you are not present.

To achive a reasonably steady supply of trout throughout the winter, you are likely to need at least 20 lines out. Some days you will have many, but you will at least be almost certain to catch one every day. This of course depends on how numerous the fish is in the area in question. In some places you may get by very well on 20 hooks, other places that is way to little. If you have to set more than 20 hooks to get fish every day, I would seriously consider moving to a better fishing location. It takes time to check all of those hooks and if the return on them is poor, you may be better off spending more time on setting traps. But as a general rule: Fish is a more dependable food source than game.

One of the main advantages of fishing through the ice is that you need comparatively less line than when fishing from the bank. This being of the simple reason that the ice helps you drop the line straight down on the fish.

Setting a line and hook:

First, of course, make a hole through the ice. Make it bigger than you expect the fish in the lake to be. Scoop out the ice bits and snow out with your hands.

Bait the hook with something you know the fish like. Trout likes worms and other small creepy things. But these are hard to come by in winter, so they have to be stored. The Saami use reindeer fat. I have tried elk/moose fat and have yet to have any success with this. Other, more aggressive fish like pike, seems to like pieces or whole fish. Old bait doesn’t work very well. The bait should preferably be changed every day.

The fish usually stand just a little over the bottom of the lake. So that’s where your bait should be. Use a sinker to get the hook down. I often find that the best fishing locations to be where there is little water under the ice, maybe just a metre or two. Especially in the spring. In mid-winter they often stand deeper. Below: A line with a baited hook.

Tie it or wrap it securely around a stick at the desired depth. A few motions on the hook can often give you a fish right away.

Don’t try to lift big fish directly out of the hole. Everything weighs less in the water. Grab it by the gills and lift it up. I have saved a lot of fish unhooking in the hole, by grabbing the confused, but freed fish down in the hole.

Make sure the line doesn’t rest on one of the sides. Otherwise, when the hole freezes over you will have a lot more chopping on your hands, with the risk of cutting the string of course. Cover the hole with snow to reduce the freezing. Spruce boughs can be laid underneath, but I usually just showel a pile of snow over the whole thing. I have seen the Inuits make a small igloo over the hole, but I don’t find it to give any advantages over the previous methods. If anything, it has to be less snow in the hole.

About safety. Check the ice on intervals to avoid falling through. Especially where there is fast flowing water. Carry a long stick if you are insecure about the ice. Then you can use it to climb back up on if your luck turns sour.

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Jan 22 2007

The Hoko Knife

Published by under Stone Working

Having seen the hoko knife in the Bulletin of Primitive Technology a few years back, I had forgotten about it until Diederik Pomstra showed me one he had made. Mine I made rather large and crude. I would have been much more gainly if it was smaller. But it definately was quick to make. Taking the (rather poor, I know) photos took longer.

The advantages with this type of knife:

  • Gives you leverage when using rather small blades.
  • No need for retouching to protect your hands. That saves on edges, which you need as you can get of in an as stone poor place as this.
  • Quicker than hafting in the regular fashion.

First, I broke off a piece of willow and split it down the middle just by seperating the fibres from the break. Don’t split it all the way through. It will be useful to have the attached still connected to clamp the blade in place.

Start the wrapping by inserting the willow branch into the crack, on the inner side of the blade. Make a few turns around on that side before taking a wrap over the backside of the blade.

Wrap the other end tightly down to clamp the blade properly. Secure the small willow branch wrap by inserting it into the crack twice.

Not exactly a work of art, but very handy. And disposable too.

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Jan 21 2007

Ice Pick Update

Published by under Animal Materials

Finally I have finished this project. I did it very simply this time, as it is just meant to be a temporary haft so I didn’t even use the holes. I simply cut down a piece of willow with my antler axe and split it with my antler wedge.

The head is inserted into the crack and the sinew rope is wound around it. To keep it from wobbeling in the crack, wind around the head as shown in this rather poor drawing.

The pick in use.

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Jan 20 2007

Ice Fishing for Pike

Published by under Catching Animals

Me and a chap named √ėyvind was out ice fishing this morning for pike. I wanted to test my primitive ice fishing gear, but brought some modern stuff too. But even the modern stuff was very basic.

The ice was firm, but layered. Using the antler axe for chopping through was practically impossible. That is the main advantage of using a ice pick instead of an axe; you don’t have to worry about the ice not being solid all the way through.

We got one non primitive hook out first. While I was making a new hole, he was making motions with the stick to try to make the pike to take. Suddenly the pike took the bait and I rushed to help. The hole was too small however and before we managed to enlarge it, the pike was gone with the hook and all. I think that, if we had planned a little better, we should have made a little gaff of a split branch, hooked it through the gills and used it for pinning the pike’s head to the ice. That would have left us with more time to enlarge the hole.

After that we set one primitive set and one more modern. On the modern one, the pike left with the hook and bait, which was by the way herring. No contact yet on the primitive set, but they have all been left until tomorrow. Hopefully there will be something there then. I will also set another set of primitive hook and line to increase the chances of finally proving that these hooks are effective, even on hard mouthed fish like the pike.

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