Collections Catch of the Week: The Reel Sounder

Reel Sounder, used by John Inge Hansen
Reel Sounder, used by John Inge Hansen

Submitted by M.Lenz and Y.Rancourt, Collections Assistants

In the days before SONAR, fishermen had to be very resourceful to find their catch. While last week we looked at how depth sounders helped to find fish, this week we’re going a little more low-tech in the search. This artifact is a reel sounder, also known as a reel feeler, and this particular artifact was used by Norwegian fishermen looking for herring on the west coast.

They would send a scout ahead of a herring seine boat in a small skiff. The scout would attach a weight to the line and drop it into the water. He would then ‘feel’ the wire for any vibrations. As the line passed through any schools of fish, it would vibrate from the fish swimming by it. An experienced fisherman would know how the fish felt on the line and be able to direct the seiner to the school.


Posted by m.horita
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