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In Sri Lanka, on the way to Tangalle,  on the southern coast around Kogalla, I saw  the iconic stilt fishermen…


They were perched precariously on a vertical pole planted into the reef, holding the stilt with one hand and a fishing rod in the other.


They catch small fish like herring with just a crude fishing pole and a hook with no bait. Many say that this originated after the Second World War when the fishermen had to contend with rocky beaches and found this method a good way to fish inside the deep waters.

Why on earth don’t they use nets? When fishing with nets, the fish get disturbed and may disappear, not to return for years…Stilt fishing is very unobtrusive and banks on the fact that the less the fish get disturbed, the longer they will stay.


Of course nowadays with it becoming a tourist attraction, many of the wily fishermen demand a sum of money from the tourists before they allow you to photograph them fishing on stilts! Or sometimes you are paying for a photo to recreate  a fishing scene…


My guide tells me that stilt fishing is still practiced by around 500 fishing families around Galle, in southwestern Sri Lanka.  (I am not quite sure about those figures, though..)

What I know is that it’s a really romantic sight at sunset…



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