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Thread: Fishing float history

  1. #1
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    Default Fishing float history

    So my folks sold an old glass Japanese fishing float to a lady in Ireland today. It's pretty spendy to ship that far, but apparently those old floats all came from Asia, so Ireland doesn't have them washing up on the beach like they do on the U.S. west coast.

    This begs the question: What were European fishermen using for floats on their nets back in the day?

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    Default Re: Fishing float history

    Cork

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    Default Re: Fishing float history

    Quote Originally Posted by Hwyl View Post
    Cork
    That was my first guess, then I remembered seeing stuff about eskimo floats made from inflated seal skins.

    Thanks

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    Default Re: Fishing float history

    You mean one of these? More for taking belugas, I think, or walrus in open water:


    What are you doing about it?




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    Default Re: Fishing float history

    Young man Knock first.

    Is that like a bumper sticker on a van.

    Dont knock if this tents a rockin!

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    Default Re: Fishing float history

    My guess is that tent was where the young girls slept or hung out in the summer, but I don't know for sure. My folks would probably know, they went to that camp fairly often.

    What are you doing about it?




  7. #7

    Default Re: Fishing float history

    Hey Orca, did they make smaller floats with fins or something for set-netting?

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    Default Re: Fishing float history

    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Orca View Post
    You mean one of these? More for taking belugas, I think, or walrus in open water:


    Yup, that's the kind I was thinking of. Cool pic.

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    Default Re: Fishing float history

    Quote Originally Posted by Donn View Post
    Glass net floats only date back to the mid 1800s, in Norway.
    Hmmm, so they did use some glass in Europe. I wonder why there aren't enough left around as antiques/artifacts. Maybe cork was just cheaper and more abundant, albeit inferior? By that logic, the Japanese would have kept using Bamboo though.

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    Default Re: Fishing float history

    I have a very big collection of wood floats used by Columbia river Gill netters in days of old..

    I have a string on the fence 250 feet long.

    I was lucky enough to grab a wood lathe used to make them from a old timer.

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    Default Re: Fishing float history

    Pics please, bobbys?
    Might be fun to make some repros.

    Doug

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    Default Re: Fishing float history

    Quote Originally Posted by botebum View Post
    Pics please, bobbys?
    Might be fun to make some repros.

    Doug
    .

    Ok will take some.

    They sell for 5 bucks a piece. in the tourist stores.

    Some get cut in half and people paint on them little pictures.

    I had some cedar logs to make some but the boy cut them up for firewood.

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    Default Re: Fishing float history

    Quote Originally Posted by bobbys View Post
    Some get cut in half and people paint on them little pictures.

    I had some cedar logs to make some but the boy cut them up for firewood.
    I like the painting idea.
    Boys will be boys, eh?

    Doug

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    Default Re: Fishing float history

    Glass net floats only date back to the mid 1800s, in Norway. Since float suspended net fishing goes back at least a few thousand years further, other buoyant objects would have been used. In Asia, I suspect Bamboo would have been used. In other parts of the world, other hollow-stemmed plants..probably.
    They still use bamboo where the villages are poor.
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    Default Re: Fishing float history

    Got interested and did a bit of Google browsing and found this. Interesting article ... on Ebay of all places!

    Doug

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    Default Re: Fishing float history

    We used to see a lot of them on the N. Oregon coast. I think the Japanese made them all thru the 20th century. Various sizes and colors, though. One old fisherman told me that they were mostly green because that's what color the wine bottles (sake?) were that they melted down for float material. Gillnetters also used aluminium floats for a while, as well as the cedar.
    Last edited by David G; 01-23-2011 at 12:29 PM.
    David G
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    Default Re: Fishing float history

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Arthur Trollingson View Post
    Hey Orca, did they make smaller floats with fins or something for set-netting?
    Not that I'm aware of. Traditional Inuit (and Idlout, the gentleman on the left, was about as close as it got in the latter half of the 20th century) didn't have suitable material for nets. Char were generally taken with a kakivak, a three-pronged fish spear, when running upstream in the spring. (Edited to add: when nets became commercially available in the far North they may have adopted them in some places, but I think Idlout mostly fed his dogs seal rather than fish, so might not have needed nets. Just a thought.)

    Quote Originally Posted by nw_noob View Post
    Yup, that's the kind I was thinking of. Cool pic.
    The float is called an avituk, Dad (on the right) always wanted to learn how to make one and finally got his chance one day.

    What are you doing about it?




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    Default Re: Fishing float history

    The Scots herring fishers used to breed a small dog for their skins to use as floats, otherwise sheep or goat skins were used. Cork discs, about 11/2 inch thick by 3 inch dia were used between the bigger floats. I think that the glass floats were used on the head rope of a trawl, working in deep water. They were replaced by aluminium then plastic floats.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Fishing float history

    The large floats on the head ropes of a line trawl (set line) were usually a wooden cask (barrel) called a keg. These used also used on sciene nets for salmon and on the corner anchor ropes for the square cod trap. On the Grank Banks, when a trawl line was heavy with cod, a temporary cask was used as an assist...called a 'flunky buoy'..lol

    Sometimes when cork was expensive, fisherman made their own floats out of light wood..some had a center hole drilled to slip on the rope so looked much like the later plastic versions.

    Great pic Orca..the Inuit sometimes also used skin floats attached to a leather line when they speared seals from the ice or from a kayak.

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    Default Re: Fishing float history

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    The Scots herring fishers used to breed a small dog for their skins to use as floats, ...
    That is one of the strangest bits of trivia I've read on this forum. A googling of the topic only yielded a brief mention of dog buoys, but nothing more. Do you happen to know what these dogs were called, or anything else that would be a good search term?

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    Default Re: Fishing float history

    Quote Originally Posted by botebum View Post
    Got interested and did a bit of Google browsing and found this. Interesting article ... on Ebay of all places!

    Doug
    Thanks for the link, that was interesting. It actually perplexes me more, knowing that they were making those floats in Norway, but now they're extremely rare compared to the Japanese ones. Maybe it has to do with the respective sizes of their fishing fleets at the time or something.

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    Default Re: Fishing float history

    Quote Originally Posted by ShagRock View Post
    Great pic Orca..the Inuit sometimes also used skin floats attached to a leather line when they speared seals from the ice or from a kayak.
    I don't know whether Dad and Idlout were going after seals or beluga on that trip - probably wouldn't turn away either - but they were definitely harpooning.

    What are you doing about it?




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    Default Re: Fishing float history

    Quote Originally Posted by nw_noob View Post
    , so Ireland doesn't have them washing up on the beach like they do on the U.S. west coast.

    This begs the question: What were European fishermen using for floats on their nets back in the day?
    Quote Originally Posted by Hwyl View Post
    Cork
    The above was an attempt at a joke on my part, sorry

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hwyl View Post
    The above was an attempt at a joke on my part, sorry
    Whooooosh. I missed it.

    I remembered seeing cheap cork bobbers in the fishing gear section when I was a kid, and my mind went straight to cork when I first guessed an answer.

    It's funny though, both Donn and P.M. (Nick) mentioned some use of cork, albeit as a likely supplement to other floats.

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    Default Re: Fishing float history

    I haven't seen glass and cork floats on northern California beaches for at least 30 years. They were nice finds. I still find all kinds of plastic garbage from Asia, though.
    "Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting over." -Samuel Clemens

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    Default Re: Fishing float history

    After a few days of west winds Floats still come in here, Guys drive up and down the beach but there is a risk of losing your rig if a wave comes up and there is no where to go, The glass floats are worth money People used to leave them in the yard till people stole them, I found one glass float is all. They say somewhere in the Ocean Glass floats are drifting around still in good numbers, My friend did find 6 last year, My son brought me little ones from Alaska, He stopped by Beaches no one can go to after looking to see there were no bears around.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Fishing float history

    I used to have dozens of them. Left at my parents house, they probably got sold at a garage sale or somesuch. They used to be fairly common. I never made a point of looking for them, but was at the beach a lot: pypo boarding, surfing, partying, hanging out with a girlfriend or surf-casting. The biggest (and weirdest) one I ever found was almost 18" across. Weird because I found it in summertime. No storms for a long time. Weird because I found it still floating. I was on my surfboard at Indian Beach and it came drifting by.

    People really steal them these days? That's sad.
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    Default Re: Fishing float history

    You can still find them in the debris above the tide line on the more remote beaches on the west coast of Vancouver Island. I've found 2, a little 3" one hangs in our garden, the other one I gave away. Actually, I put it out on the beach where I knew a friend was going to find it, she had been watching for one for years. She's pretty demonstrative (Italian blood) and when she spotted it she went a little nuts. It was great.

    I hear that someone is making new ones and selling them in the tourist stores in Victoria now.

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    Default Re: Fishing float history

    Quote Originally Posted by gibetheridge View Post
    You can still find them in the debris above the tide line on the more remote beaches on the west coast of Vancouver Island. I've found 2, a little 3" one hangs in our garden, the other one I gave away. Actually, I put it out on the beach where I knew a friend was going to find it, she had been watching for one for years. She's pretty demonstrative (Italian blood) and when she spotted it she went a little nuts. It was great.

    I hear that someone is making new ones and selling them in the tourist stores in Victoria now.
    I haven't seen any of the plain green ones, but have seen lots of newly-minted, very decorative glass balls in galleries in Cannon Beach. We can thank Dale Chihuly for that, I guess.
    David G
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    Default Re: Fishing float history

    Quote Originally Posted by nw_noob View Post
    That is one of the strangest bits of trivia I've read on this forum. A googling of the topic only yielded a brief mention of dog buoys, but nothing more. Do you happen to know what these dogs were called, or anything else that would be a good search term?
    Edgar March is my source, from Herring Drifters. He mentions the dogs at Buckie, and has two good photo's of the "bladders" drying between tides. I doubt that the breed had a name, the locals would not have needed a special name for them. March also mentions Mollags, being the Manx version of sheep or dog skin net floats.

    Shagrock,
    Don't forget that Americans call a Great Line of hooks a trawl, whereas over here a trawl is a net bag dragged on the bottom, hence the need for spherical floats able to withstand the pressure at depth.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: Fishing float history

    It is really bizarre when both you and your bobbys sock puppet are talking on the same thread, David. I understand if not particularly condone when you might choose to do that on a political thread, to give yourself an automatic foil for your. arguments, but why on earth do you see the need to do this on a factual thread? It's weird and uncomfortably schizo, my friend(s).

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    Default Re: Fishing float history

    Quote Originally Posted by nw_noob View Post
    Thanks for the link, that was interesting. It actually perplexes me more, knowing that they were making those floats in Norway, but now they're extremely rare compared to the Japanese ones. Maybe it has to do with the respective sizes of their fishing fleets at the time or something.
    I was thinking it might have something to do with the rocky shorelines of northern Europe. Having never been to northern Europe, this could just be an incorrect impression I have of the average type of coast there.

    Doug

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    Default Re: Fishing float history

    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Orca View Post
    kinda looks like a giant inuit version of haggis
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Fishing float history

    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    It is really bizarre when both you and your bobbys sock puppet are talking on the same thread, David. I understand if not particularly condone when you might choose to do that on a political thread, to give yourself an automatic foil for your. arguments, but why on earth do you see the need to do this on a factual thread? It's weird and uncomfortably schizo, my friend(s).
    James...

    Of course we talk on the same thread sometimes. We ARE two seperat... hmmm...

    I mean - don't you think that doing it this was adds to the impression that... hmmm...

    Or, rather - I'll talk that over with bs & see what he th... hmmm...

    I mean - you're probably right... but in the end, I HAVE to do what the voices tell me. Right?

    But... back on topic: do you, or any of your friends have glass balls? <G>
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    Default Re: Fishing float history



    Doug

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