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Trout Tickling (wikipedia.org)
66 points by kw71 on Aug 1, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 25 comments

Ha! My dad can do this. People always call me a liar when I tell them about the technique. It’s all about patience and wile.

When my dad sets out to do it what he’ll do is find a stream and walk along the banks but a good 10 feet back watching for fish. When he sees a fish he’ll go down stream a bit and then crawl up the bank slowly and quietly. When he draws just behind the fish he’ll put his hand in the water and ever so slowly work his hand up under the fish, tickling its belly as he goes. Once he gets up to the front he slips his finger into its gills and pops it out of the crick onto the bank. He makes it look easy. You can then dump the fish back into the crick.

Fantastic story, thanks sharing. Wonder who discovered this first? One of those strange human achievements. Also, we should call you Danny.

I learned to do this 5 years ago as part of a wilderness survival program. I was highly skeptical at first, but it was much easier in reality. I believe the practice is banned in most states because it is so effective at catching fish.

How bizarre that such a primitive technique could be banned. You’d think elaborate fishing lures and rods would also be illegal if using your hands is wrong.

I guess it’s a form of tonic immobility. Which reminds me of one of the oddest things I’ve ever seen on TV. This young lady who appeared on Letterman who immobilizes lizards and then dresses them up and poses them.


Surprisingly discussed once before, in 2015: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10527891.

The fact that you knew that really tickles my trout.

edit: that sounds dirtier than I intended, but I still like it as a cliche.

>The practice is currently illegal under most circumstances in Britain.

why? i mean i understand when for example explosives or highly maiming (while not very efficient at actually catching) types of hooks, spears, etc. are banned, or nets. What is wrong with tickling?

It was a technique used by poachers, not Gentlemen. Laws around hunting in the UK have a strong scent of class about them (Eg hunting with a bow is illegal, hunting with dogs was legal far longer than it should have been). My grandfather had a loose coat with a slit in the lining that would take a salmon.

I think the reason is it's easy to do without a fishing license. That's why poachers would use this technique - if they get caught by the authorities there's no incriminating equipment, they just claim they were going for a walk.

Fishing rights in the UK are very strictly protected. The are many places where the public can walk along a river but are not allowed to fish.

Plus you need a government (Dept of Environment) supplied rod license to fish at all [1]

[1] https://www.gov.uk/fishing-licences

“You need a rod fishing licence to fish for salmon, trout, freshwater fish, smelt or eel with a rod and line in:

England (except the River Tweed) Wales the Border Esk region of Scotland You must always carry your rod fishing licence when you’re fishing or you could be prosecuted.”

That licence is for fishing with a rod or line, might tickling still be legal?

Maybe the british don't consider it sporting?

Nope, they just wanted to keep the trout away from the poor people.

Using a snare is possible too I am told. Like tickling, but you slide the snare over from the tail end up to the gills.

There are lots of 'poachers tale' type stories like this inn the UK.

Are you sure? Fishing in my neck of the (American) woods requires a $25 license every year, and even the poorest families in my town get them, because it's just that profitable to supply yourself with fish for a whole year.

The money is used to protect the rivers and water bodies from foreign predators and pollution, so that those families can rely on this source of food for decades to come

Yes. Hunting/fishing rules/regulations in most of Europe reflect a society where (until recently) only the upper classes owned land and it was illegal for commoners to take any resource from that land without the permission of the landowner

My dad always claimed to have tickled trouts and I was always suspicious of this claim. At least I know now that it's possible.

When we were children, my aunt used to take us to a trout farm to get dinner.

The farm owner taught us to tickle and the trout we took home were always caught that way by us.

It was a lot easier than tickling in a trout stream, they were in ponds, but fun for pre-teen children nonetheless.

Ok, where the heck did I see trout tickling in the last couple of days? I want to say it was the biography of Montaigne, something about The Compleat Angler.

The response I got from my wife when I asked her if she has ever heard of trout tickling is priceless.

(Gasps) "hunny, it's the middle of the afternoon!"

Is this surprising? It's almost a trope in fantasy and historical fiction.

The one that I find nutty is noodling for catfish. That's one of those cases where you wonder who was the first to decide that was a good idea.


+1 was thinking about this happening in Wheel of Time at least once, and definitely in some other fantasy series I've read. It's got that feel of old-timey-ness that just feels right for a tension breaking scene (like splitting wood, stoking fires, playing dice, and moving through a forest without stepping on sticks)

I had a roommate from rural Oklahoma who first explained noodling to me. As a city dweller, it blew my mind that this was a thing.

It’d be really hard to get that close to a trout and I’m calling bullshit on this.

Wait, what do u know, a bunch of videos of trout ticklers on YouTube. Thx internet.

Yeah, I've fly-fished for 20+ years now, and if I hadn't seen this on TV I wouldn't have believed it either. Trout are skittish things.

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