Silhouettes of traditional stilt fishermen at sunset near Galle in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankan Stilt Fishing, Galle
If you want to see traditional stilt fishermen, book yourself on to this tour in Galle. Watching these skillful fishermen is a treat for the eyes, not least because they make it look so easy out there. But in actual fact it’s a style of fishing which requires a lot of skill and balance.
Looking at the scene of these impressive fishermen at dawn or dusk, you’d be forgiven for thinking this is an ancient method tangled up in hundreds of years of history. But it’s actually a fairly modern technique that started up during WWII when food shortages were rife and competition for fish common. A bunch of clever fishermen decided to head where others weren’t - directly into the deep waters!
They achieve this by embedding a vertical pole with a cross bar into the seabed, from here they are seated just a few feet above the water meaning they have the element of surprise. Back then they would use the wreckage from the war – capsized ships, broken aircraft – to create their fishing equipment. Over the next few generations the technique has been improved and remains popular with modern Sri Lankan fishermen.
During the trip you’ll have a chance to meet the fishermen and even have a go yourself. Your driver will be able to translate for you and barter on your behalf. Afterwards, if you’re hungry, you can grab a table at The Fortress Resort & Spa and enjoy a fresh lunch. You might even see a few friendly Sri Lankan squirrels, which look a bit like chipmunks, while you tuck into your meal.
See the skill and balance of stilt fishing in real life
Tuck into a delicious lunch