Nature Nugget – Fishing Techniques

Fish are in the middle of the food chain. Many types of predators, using various types of techniques, prey upon them.

The Bulldog Bat of Central and South America hunts both freshwater and saltwater fish at night by using echolocation to detect ripples on the surface of calm waters. When a ripple is detected, the bat swoops down and skims the surface, trailing its feet about an inch below the surface sweeping for the fish. Its feet have long, sharp claws for grasping the fish and flattened toes, which cut down on water resistance.

Found nearly worldwide, the Osprey uses its sharp eyesight to spot fish. When a fish is spotted, it hovers above it then plunges from as high as 100 feet with wings swept back and talons thrust forward. Its head enters the water first, and it frequently completely submerges. The Osprey grabs the fish with its talons, which have rough pads on their bottom to help them grasp the slippery prey. Ospreys also have an opposable front toe that they can rotate backwards to give them a more balanced hold on the fish. After capture, the Osprey adjusts the fish in its grip so that the head is pointed forward to make it more aerodynamic.

A relative of the Osprey, the Bald Eagle, also uses sharp eyesight to spot fish, which are its main diet. When a Bald Eagle spots a fish, it skims the surface of the water with its talons to catch it, rather than plunging like the Osprey. Unlike the Osprey, which can catch fish several feet below the surface, the Bald Eagle can only catch fish that are near the surface. Its rear talon is over an inch long and is used to puncture and kill its prey. Bald Eagles will also steal fish from Ospreys by diving on them and chasing them until they drop the fish, which the eagle will then catch before it hits the ground.

Found in large rivers, lakes, and oxbows of southern North America, the Alligator Snapping Turtle is the largest freshwater turtle, reaching up to 300 pounds. To catch a fish dinner, the turtle wiggles the pink worm-like lure located at the end of its tongue to attract a fish. It sits still on the bottom; its algae-covered shell camouflaging it, with its mouth wide open. When a fish comes close to take the lure, the turtle’s jaws snap shut on it like a trap.

The Six-spotted Fisher Spider of North America uses water tension to sit on the surface of the water while fishing. It plunges one leg below the surface to use as a lure to attract small fish. When a fish comes close enough, it plunges under the surface, and after catching it, bites it, injecting a poison that dissolves the body. The spider then sucks out the fish’s body juices—a type of “animal slurpy.”

Christ calls upon us to be fishers (soul winners) of men; He says, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19. Although the God-given talents and gifts of each individual are varied and useful in soul-winning, there is one main technique or method which God wishes us to learn to be effective “fishers of men.” “If you are in communion with Christ, you will place His estimate upon every human being. You will feel for others the same deep love that Christ has felt for you. Then you will be able to win, not drive, to attract, not repulse, those for whom He died.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 197.

David Arbour writes from his home in DeQueen, Arkansas. He may be contacted by e-mail at: