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Enquiry from Online Galleries regarding "Northwest Coast Nootka Indian Carved Cedar Wood Halibut Fishing Hook"
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The bone barb lashed to the point with spruce root
Aged smooth silky patina
Circa 1800 – 1820
Size: 16cm high, 15.5cm wide – 6¼ ins high, 6 ins wide
cf The James Hooper Collection, S Phelps; plate no. 185 illus no 1500/01/02
Single large hooks such as this were hung from the ends of a stick and lowered to the sea bottom on lines made of kelp stem weighted with a boulder. The buoyant wooden hooks would float up to a fixed and carefully calculated distance from the bottom. Tremendous stress was placed on the hook by the power and weight of the fish, but the design of the hook applies a mechanical leverage to the fish's jaw enabling its capture. Nootkan fishermen claim that the halibut submit to the hooks and allow themselves to be hauled in with little resistance.