A fishing rod and reel are not essential for fishing, as casting a fish net, spear, and most forms of commercial fishing are common examples of not using them. A very simple way to catch fish utilizes a hook, line, bait and flat stones. The only other requirement is a boat or a dependable flotation device to fish this way at the ocean.
Gathering flat oval stones is part of the preparation. They do not have to be large, and the ideal size is larger than the palm of the hand. The line should be thick and sturdy, as a fishing rod and reel are not used; the hands substitute for them. Large wooden or plastic spools are useful for storing and releasing the line into the water. The line serves as both the main line and hook line. A very handy item to have is an elastic depth marker that slides along the line. They are colorful, which makes them easy to see and use to set the fishing depth (See Picture 2). If they are not available, tying a Surgeon’s knot with string on the line can serve as a marker. As for bait, a large frozen block of tiny shrimp and a small block of larger shrimp to place on the hook are a good combination. If only one block of larger shrimp is used, set aside the largest shrimp in the block to place on the hook after thawing.
To check the depth at the fishing location, attach a sinker to the end of the line and drop it into the water. When it hits the bottom, mark the spot on the line with the depth marker. Next, adjust the marker to the target depth for the fish you want to catch. After that, get the line and sinker out, tie the fishing hook, and begin fishing.
Set a nice, plump shrimp on the hook and place it in the center of a flat stone (Picture 3). Place half a handful of bait shrimp on top; covering the baited hook. Wrap the line closely and completely around the stone at all angles, up to the marker. This keeps most of your bait shrimp from scattering before reaching the fishing depth. Drop the stone into the water. The stone is now a sinker that delivers the bait and sets the baited hook to the target fishing depth.
A word of caution about this fishing style: your hands are substituting as a rod and reel to tackle and haul in the fish; be sure to protect them well with thick gloves. Even with the gloves on, it is not a good idea to wind or wrap the line around the hands. A monstrous fish could suddenly come around for a bite. There are times when hauling in the fish is just not possible. This fish will normally snap the line. Otherwise, do not continue the battle into the water. If this should happen, the life vest is truly a lifesaver.