Monday, February 21, 2011

Fishing Rod and Lure

Fishing Rod and lure
This is reproduction number 11 of 17 in the Central Arctic set.  Its a fishing rod, line, and lure.  I used a piece of  split spruce for the rod, sealskin and braided sinew for the line, and antler, caribou teeth, and sinew for the lure.  Like all the other pieces in this set, the original artifact is in the collection of the Canadian Museum of Civilization.  You can see it here:

81 cm rod with 2.4 m long line
As you can see in the photos in the link above, the fishing line is wrapped around the rod which made working out the length of the line and details of its assembly a little tricky.  The line is definitely made from two materials - sealskin and braided sinew.  The braided sinew is attached to the lure, which must mean that the sealskin is attached to the rod.  I couldn't see any obvious method of attaching the sealskin to the rod, until I figured out that there is a second shorter length of braided sinew attached to the opposite end of the sealskin line.  The sealskin thong is in the middle of the line attached to braided sinew on both ends.  On one end, this sinew is tied to the rod and on the other sinew is tied to the lure, making a three part composite line.

faux polar bear fish lure
The fishing lure is barely visible in the reference photos, but it is a polar bear tooth.  The client opted to have the lure made from antler instead of using an actual tooth, so I shaped and stained the antler to match the look of the tooth as near as possible.  I made it 11 cm long, because that seemed about right from the photos and scale.  There appears to be 3 holes in the lure - one to attach the line and two for small movable caribou teeth to be tied through.  One of the two holes for the teeth is vacant.  You can see more detailed photos of other polar bead tooth fish lures here.  I used the lures on that page as references to fill in some of the details, like the incised line design.

arrow nock (light) fishing rod (dark)
According to the measurements given in the artifact catalog, the rod is about 70.5 cm, although the client asked me to make the reproduction about 10 cm longer than that, so the rod in the photos here is about 81cm long.  Often fishing rods from this part of the Arctic had notches on both ends and the line was wound end to end - like the one in this link.  There is a notch visible on one end of my reference artifact and I've mirrored it on both ends of my reproduction, although the second notch is not obvious in any of the reference photos.  If that second notch was ever there, then it was broken or damaged.  If that's the case, then I'll wind up breaking the notch from one end of the rod before I ship it off, but I wanted to record it with two notches before I go ahead and do that.  I also don't want to do something that I can't undo before I'm a little more certain.  Maybe I'll find a better reference photo somewhere.  Curiously, the notch on this particular rod is very shallow and is similar to the string nock on an arrow.  The rest of the rod also matches the dimensions of an arrow shaft, which makes me wonder if this whole rod wasn't made from a reused arrow.

Photo Credits: Tim Rast


  1. Moc se mi to líbí,jen nechápu jak funguje ta návnada aby se na ni chytla ryba

    I really like it, just do not understand how to work the bait to the fish grabbed it
    Tom -

  2. Good Question! From the descriptions that I've read - the lure is used in shallow water to attract a fish to withing striking distance of a leister. Here's a quote from the CMC website:

    "The hunter held the lure, which usually had some small movable teeth attached to it, with a line of braided deer sinew. Standing in the shallow part of the river, he moved the lure up and down to attract the attention of the salmon. Once the fish came near the bait, the hunter speared it with a kakivak, a fish spear with three prongs."

  3. dík to mě nenapadlo :-)

    Thanks, makes me think of :-)



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