Montreal fishing spots

Montreal fishing spots

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Thursday, May 23, 2019

Fishing etiquette in the talmud

Much of the time spent carp fishing is the waiting game. Once rods are setup up, there can be hours between bites on a slow day. Especially when fishing alone, I'll take along a tractate f the talmud to learn while fishing. The solitude really lets my mind get into it, without any interruption between bites.

The talmud was written about 1600-1700 years ago, in what is now modern day Israel and Iraq. The various tractes discuss most of what comprised Jewish law at the time. Most interesting to me, are the tractates that discuss monetary laws and litigation. I recently got started on tractate Bava Batra, which is the longest tractate in the talmud, and quite complex as well.

Every once in a while, I'll come across a passage or discussion related to fishing, which I find quite fitting when I'm actually fishing while learning it. Of course, the fishing practiced in talmudic times was sustenance based. I'm quite sure anyone practicing catch ans release in those days would have been committed to the insane asylum...

Prospecting a new carp spot the other day, I came across a discussion related to fishing laws, which  would probably fall under etiquette in modern times.

To quote page 21B:

If a fisherman discovered the lair of a particular fish, and spread his net between that fish and it's lair, other fishermen must distance their nets from the fish, as far as the fish swims in one spell, up to one "parsah" (equivalent to 2.5 - 3 miles). Even though the first fisherman has not yet acquired the fish, he can prevent other fishermen from taking it. Once fish set their sights on food, they will certainly swim to it. Therefore, if a fisherman sets a trap with food near the lair of a fish, the fish is viewed as if it were already in his hands, If another fisherman would then take the fish, that would be tantamount to taking it directly from that fisherman (theft).

Evidently, talmudic law would have something to say about modern days "googans" (aka spot thieves), especially ones fishing a spot pre-baited by someone else.

Equally interesting to me as a carper, is the fact that people were prebaiting for thousands of years, as in all likelihood, the fish referred to in the talmudic passage were probably carp. The talmud was compiled in the Galilee, where the only bodies of water are the Kinneret and Jordan River, and native species of kosher fish big enough to fight over were likely carp.

Funny how some things don't change with time.

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