Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

 
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Sinker

kicautaq “sinker”
Language: Koniag Sugpiaq (Kodiak Island dialect)

It’s got a slip knot just tied around it so when you put tension, when this is stretched, it comes loose. So if a fish got caught on there it would pull that loose, that weight, and [the halibut] was free to roam around—pull or whatever, and that didn’t get hung up on anything. Then at low tide you would go back and get that rock and keep using it over and over again.

—Bobby Stamp, 1987, from the Alutiiq Museum oral history archive

A grooved stone sinker weighted down a wooden halibut hook so that it floated just above the ocean bottom. When fishing from a beach, the fisherman used a rising tide to float the hook; he tied on the stone weight with a slip knot so that it would come off when a halibut was on the line. At low tide he went back to retrieve the weight.

Culture: Sugpiaq (Alutiiq)
Region: Uyak Bay, Kodiak Island, Alaska
Object Category: Fishing
Dimensions: Length: 10.5cm
Accession Date: 1938
Source: Ales F. Hrdlicka (donor)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: A395441