Handcarved Alaska Native Halibut Hook

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  • Item Category: Ethnic, Folk & Native American Art
  • Source: eBay
  • Sold Date: Mar 19,2007
  • Channel: Online Auction
Alaska Native Halibut Hook

For countless generations this ingeniously designed halibut hook has supplied fresh halibut to the indigenous tribal people of the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia , Southeast Alaska, Prince William Sound and as far as the Kodiak region of Alaska . It is purposely design to effectively fish the smaller halibut (30 - 50#). The Natives found the smaller fish easier to handle and more suitable for drying and eating. The larger fish were let go as "breeders". These hand carved hooks consisted of two pieces of wood that formed a "V" and a bone barb. The hooks were usually decorated by finely carved intricate totemic or fetish designs to attract the halibut. Spruce root or cedar bark cordage was used for lashing until the Russians and other Westerners traded cordage and twine. The hook would float off of the bottom of the water a few feet anchored by a rock. Sometimes two or more hooks were set together by using a "ground line" and float system. The barb was baited so the fish would take the upper part of the hook into his mouth but not be able to swallow because of the lower part of the hook. Then, the halibut would not be able to let loose of the hook because of the barb. This particular hook was skillfully handcarved by an Alaska Native traditional woodcarver from yellow cedar driftwood and has a glass bead for the eye.

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