In Sri Lanka, you will come across one of the world’s most unique ways of fishing – stilt fishing. In this technique, fishermen perch on top of handmade stilts to catch fish. To meet these fishermen, you need to visit Mirissa or Hikkaduwa Beach and its nearby areas. It is believed that this unusual method of fishing came into existence during World War II, when shortage of food and overcrowded fishing spots led some people to try fishing on the water. However, with time, they realized that it was not the most efficient way to fish and switched to either a different and more convenient method or opted for a different job altogether. After the devastating tsunami of 2004, this practice just went downhill. But there are still some people who are trying to keep the tradition alive.
Most travelers – especially photographers often show keen interest in these stilt fishermen. Because of this, many real fishermen rent their stilts to people who act as fishermen and pose for photographs in exchange for money. Even though it has become hard to distinguish between real and fake fishermen, one thing we all can agree on is that it is (or was) indeed a unique tradition and makes for an interesting photograph.
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