For 40,000 years, humans all over the world have been practicing different types of fishing methods as a way to provide sustenance for their families. 

Those methods have passed on from generation to generation, evolving into a pastime that is now done not only for food but also for fun. 

In this article, we take an in-depth look at the 16 most popular types of fishing. Let’s dive in (or cast out)!

Different Fishing Methods Overview

Different types of fishing equipment include three artificial baits, flies, lures, rigs, and plastic spools

Before we look at the various fishing methods, it’s important to understand how those styles developed

As you already know, there is a multitude of styles, from bait fishing to fly fishing. These different fishing techniques are categorized based on the fisherman’s purpose, location, and equipment.


Today, fishing is mainly done for three purposes:

  • Commercial
  • Recreational
  • Sport

Commercial fishing is done to make a living and bring food to the table, whether locally or globally. 

It’s also one of the most dangerous professions in the world due to harsh work conditions, hard labor, and hazardous, unpredictable circumstances out at sea.

Recreational fishing, on the other hand, is enjoyed as a passion for relaxing and socializing. Fishing puts you outdoors in nature, with no pressure of having to feed your family. 

In some regions of the world, such as Florida, fishing is deeply ingrained in the culture, from kayak fishing in marshes to offshore fishing, spearfishing, and or even bass fishing in retention ponds on the side of highways.

Sportfishing is similar to recreational, except it’s done on a competitive level to catch a specific type of fish or a particular weight. Generally, the fish are released with recreational and sport fishing.

Location & Equipment

Location is important because this dictates the type of fish you’re catching and the equipment needed based on environmental factors.

There are two broad categories: marine and freshwater. The different fishing styles can be divided between these two locations, determining the type of bait to use, whether you need a boat, net, etc. 

16 Types of Fishing Methods, Styles, and Techniques

Now we’ll look at the different types of fishing techniques, how they developed, and the resources needed for each.

A man wearing a light green shirt, khaki pants, and dark green boots sits on a green camping chair and is lake fishing


This uses a fish hook with bait attached to a reel and pole. You can also use a fishing lure instead of a single hook with bait. Fishing lures come in all shapes in sizes and may have multiple hooks attached.

Angling is done in saltwater or freshwater, from the shore, or on a boat.

Bank Fishing

This simple method of angling is done off a shore bank with a rod and reel.


This interesting fishing style originated in the Southern United States to catch flathead catfish. It involves no bait or equipment- just the fisherman or “noodler’s” bare hand.

For a bit of background, female flathead catfish will find a hole underwater to lay their eggs, and the male catfish will stay in the hole and guard the eggs.

The noodler must first scout out the holes, which may be in a few feet of water or deep- sometimes more than 20 ft underwater.

The noodler then sticks his hand inside the hole, hoping to make the catfish latch onto his hand in defense. If the catfish is large enough, the noodler can hook his hand over the gills and pull the catfish out.

A man wearing a black shirt and black cap holding a big catfish in a river

Flounder Tramping

This is another unique fishing technique developed in the Scottish village Palnackie. It’s a special occasion that has been occurring every August for centuries. And, no equipment is needed for this type of fishing.

Hundreds of people walk out into the mudflats and use their bare feet to feel for flounder underneath the mud. When a fish is detected, they “tramp” upon it or use their feet to make the catch.

Charter Fishing

This is a hired fishing excursion that usually takes place on a boat with or without a guide. It can be for a specific type of fish, utilizing any fishing techniques.


Spearfishing has been around for centuries, with early civilizations using sharpened sticks to spear the fish from river banks.

Nowadays, the primitive spear has evolved to accommodate different aquatic environments, including spearguns that use elastic slings, compressed gas pneumatic-powered spearguns, harpoons, and tridents.

Spearfishing is typically done via scuba diving, snorkeling, or free diving.

Fishes caught in an orange net


As the name implies, you use a net to trap fish. This is generally done to catch multiple fish at one time. There are many different types of nets depending on the purpose and species you’re after.

  • Trawl net: This is a large net that is dragged behind a boat called a trawler. This is done to catch large quantities of fish for commercial use.
  • Cast net: Also called a throw net, this is a smaller, round net edged with tiny weights. You’ll typically see this type of net used for recreational fishing to catch live bait. This requires a special manual technique of throwing the net out flat so that the weights don’t tangle, instead covering, instead, a large area with the weights sinking quickly together to trap fish.
  • Gillnet: This type of net is suspended vertically in the water from a line of surface floats. Gillnets work by trapping fish that happen to swim through them. Their bodies become wedged or tangled in the mesh.

Fly Fishing

This angling method uses a special type of fly rod, a weighted line, and a lure called a “fly” that resembles an insect or baitfish. The casting technique is different due to the lighter line.

Flyfishing can be done in salt or freshwater, commonly for species such as trout and salmon.

A woman wearing a yellow shirt and light blue pants lake fishing with a rod

Bottom Fishing

This is another type of angling that requires a heavy weight to hold the baited hook at the bottom of the water. The purpose is to catch bottom-dwellers and is generally performed from a boat or shore.

Bottom fishing is versatile, and you can use any creative combination of bait and tackle to fish for a variety of species of all sizes.

Pitch Fishing

This is a fishing technique where the fisherman casts the line at a low angle so that the lure entry is quiet. The objective of this technique is not to scare any fish away with a loud splash.

Ice Fishing

Ice fishing works by drilling a hole through ice on a frozen body of water and lowering the fishing line down into the opening.

There is specialized equipment for ice fishing, including lighter rods, ice drills, and fishing lures designed for vertical jigging.


This is a popular way to fish from the shore. It involves a special rod that can cast long distances from the beach.

A man in sweater and dark blue pants holding a kite while on a boat in the middle of the ocean

Kite Fishing

Have you ever seen grown adults flying kites from the back of a boat? No, this isn’t a fun game to see whose kite can fly the highest. It’s a fairly new fishing style that involves flying a kite to catch fish.

Kite fishing has two main advantages. First, if you’re fishing from shore, it allows you to cast your line much farther than you would be able to achieve with a pole. 

For boating, you can set several pieces of bait on the line and keep them bobbing along the surface of the water where game fish are likely to feed.

It’s a technique that takes patience and skill, but you can set out multiple lines and potentially bring in numerous fish at once when mastered.


This is one of the oldest fishing types that takes advantage of the changing tides to trap fish in homemade barriers.

Modern fish traps are made from chicken wire and a steel frame. Fish swim inside but are unable to escape due to the narrowing of the chicken wire.

There are also basket weir fish traps, which are woven from branches. This type of design also lets the fish enter the trap, but they aren’t able to exit.

Fish trap baskets on the shore and three small boats and a jet ski on the beach

Cormorant Fishing

A cormorant is a water bird that dives underwater to catch fish. Fishermen from China and Japan trained these birds to fish for them, a practice that has been traced back to the 14th century.

A special ring is placed around the bird’s neck so it can’t swallow the fish after catching it. Instead, the bird swims back up to the surface, where the fisherman retrieves the prize.


This is a type of fishing done for scientific research. Fishery scientists apply electricity to the water to stun fish, then collect the fish for surveys. This allows them to monitor freshwater fish populations

It sounds harsh, but when performed correctly, no real harm should come to the fish. They are returned to the water after the data is collected.

Final Thoughts on the Different Types of Fishing 

There are so many different types of fishing techniques that will no doubt continue to evolve as time goes by. After all, fishing has been an essential part of human life for centuries as a means to feed ourselves and, nowadays, for socialization and enjoyment.

To conclude this article, it’s important to remember those fishing techniques depending on the purpose, location, and equipment. Whether you choose to hire a charter or stick your hand in a mysterious hole under the murky water, there’s a method for everyone!

References and Resources:

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