Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

Related Objects

Halibut hook

náxw “halibut hook”
Language: Lingít

Octopus was the best bait because when it was underwater it would soak and last a lot longer. They would place it over the barb… And then the line here went down and was wrapped around a sinker rock with a slip knot in it. And in turn that line went to the surface of the water where it was attached to a wooden float or an airbag…

—Donald Gregory, 2005

Two-piece wooden halibut hooks were rigged to hover near the ocean bottom where the big fish feed, tethered to a stone sinker below and to a wooden buoy or inflated seal stomach above. A human or animal image was carved on the hook to entice the fish to bite. Fishing for halibut was seen as a kind of war. Clarence Jackson recalled that, “The old folks, the old man used to talk to the gear, you know. He said, ‘Jeendagút‘ (charge!)… I’m coming down – I’m going to fight with you folks.‘“

Culture: Tlingit
Region: Admiralty Island, Southeast Alaska
Village: Angoon
Object Category: Fishing
Dimensions: Length 30cm
Accession Date: 1926
Source: George T. Emmons (collector)
Museum: National Museum of the American Indian
Museum ID Number: 149612.000