BlogExperience Stilt Fishing Be that striking silhouette in the sunset! | SLCB

October 24, 2021by Ajantha Lakmal0

Stilt Fishing is an age-old tradition unique to Sri Lanka, practised by fishermen in down south coastal areas, which may look simple but clearly require much skill and balance.

They sit for hours on end on a crossbar perch, set against a vertical pole that is stuck deep into the sea bed a few metres offshore. You see these fishermen on stilts only down south coastal belt, specifically in Hikkaduwa, Koggala, Ahangama, Welipenna, Kathaluwa, Thalarambe and Mirissa and even on the scenic Madhu River. The stilt fishermen perfectly balanced on a stilt, patiently silent and still, painting stunning silhouettes against the glow of a beautiful sunset, is a spectacular sight to behold!

They seem to push limits of patience, sitting still on a stilt for their day’s catch. This two-metre-high stilt is to prevent shedding any significant shadows of the fisherman on the water, it being the science behind the act. The motionless stand against the painted sky at sunset in the art. But being ‘silent’ brings two-pronged outcomes: silence is to not disturb the fish and to not lose focus on the task. Well, for these stilt fishermen it all adds, to make them keep their heads above water.


Their feet may get numb but they certainly look a fascinating sight even with the sunlight stark in their face, as they sit still, on a single-seat stilt, on the job, until fish bite their line. They usually catch fish in the morning hours as well, having a bag around their waist or hanging from the crossbar to store the day’s catch of spotted herrings and mackerels.

Most tourists love to get on their stilt for the amazing experience and a memorable take-home selfie. If it takes your fancy to learn your new art of fishing, which in reality is an age-old traditional practice in the island, do it while you are in Sri Lanka. You may feel good to take a lesson from a friendly Sri Lankan fisherman who is willing to part with his trade secrets.

Even if you by chance slip balancing that long to catch a herring or three, the authentic experience is bound to etch happy and indelible memories of your visit to a beautiful fishing village in Galle, Sri Lanka.


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Ajantha Lakmal

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