Nature’s finest fishing equipment

While humans spend money on fishing tackle to bring home the catch, here we take a look at the finest fishing equipment money can’t buy.

Fishing tackle straight from nature.

Sword fish


You wouldn’t want to get caught on the end of one of these!
Source: Brian Skerry

Just like a 19th century able seaman armed with a British naval cutlass, a sword fish uses its proboscis to hack and slash its prey into submission. But the swordfish’s best bit of natural fishing equipment is speed.

As a 60mph swimmer, the swordfish is one of the fastest fish in the world. Although overfished – restrictions on long lining in coastal areas have helped to bring about an upsurge in swordfish numbers in those areas.

Catching one can be a risky business though, and there are reports of swordfish having smashed their way through the planking of small boats.



Did you know octopus saliva is paralysing?
Source: Look at my Happy Rainbow

These eight armed denizens of the deep feast on fish, worms and crabs.

Their sharp parrot-like beak is the only hard part of their body and they use this to drill into hard shelled prey. Octopus saliva is paralysing – one nip is enough to immobilise a fish long enough for it to be devoured alive.

Octopi are truly amazing creatures. They have three hearts, blue blood and are so intelligent they’ve been known to break into fishing boats to steal the catch.

Electric ray


These mythical creatures are brutal killers too.
Source: California State University

There’s no need for a fishing rod and reel when your body is a fish stunning machine.

Twin batteries on either side of the electric ray’s brain can deliver a pulse equivalent to the power released by dropping an electric hairdryer in the bath. That’s more than enough juice to incapacitate your average fish.

Electric rays were long thought to be magical creatures and were used by the ancient Greeks to numb the pain of childbirth. So there you have it – grateful mothers popularised the name Ray. (I made that last part up).

Blue whale

blue whale

The biggest creature known to man
Source: iPad Wallpaper

Who needs fishing tackle when you have a mouth that holds up to ninety tonnes of water and food?

Blue whales – the biggest creature on earth – guzzle up to three and half tonnes of krill in a single day. The longest blue whale ever recorded was a staggering 110 ft in length, but despite its enormous size, sadly the creature is no match for man. Before the introduction in 1966 of a total ban on hunting – blue whales had become virtually extinct.

Now numbers are thought to be hovering around the 5,000 – 12,000 mark. A far cry from the quarter of a million thought to have existed before the introduction of commercial whaling.

Great white

great white

You wouldn’t want to bump into of these.
Source: Ghosts of DC

Over 20 ft long, teeth as sharp as razors and with serrated edges, a top speed of around 25 mph and a liking for the taste of blood – here’s one apex predator.

Great whites feast on other fish, dolphins, seals, sea turtles and birds. But if you think Great Whites are a man eating killing machine in the same vein as Speilberg’s ‘Jaws’, think again.

This shark is a discerning feeder. It selects its prey carefully before ambushing it from below in a single devastating attack. Big sharks go for high fat marine mammals – so you’ll be fine – probably.

Angler fish

angler fish

The closes to human fishing equipment!
Source: World’s Most Amazing Thing

The sea fish that comes closest to using fishing tackle, the deep sea angler fish makes use of a lighted proboscis mounted on its forehead to lure fish within reach.

Its ingenious fleshy fishing rod can be moved in all directions, allowing the fish to jiggle its light like a lure. When our intrepid angler snaps its gaping jaw shut, long needle like, inward pointing teeth skewer the prey.

There’s no escape from there. Angler fish have dislocatable jaws and distending stomachs and can swallow prey up to twice their own length.