Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wednesday Search Challenge (3/7/12): Fishing over your head?

One of the most remarkable stories in the annals of fishing is the tale of one particular boat that let anglers fish in a way that was completely unexpected.  While the fishermen relaxed or did other chores, their hooks, lines and floats would be well over their heads.  I don’t mean this metaphorically, I mean it literally—the fishing gear would be many tens of feet above them... and the fish as well!  

As remarkable as that is, the real question for today is this:  
There was one particular boat that became best known for this style of odd “fishing above the head.”  Can you find the name of that boat AND who the boat was originally built for

As usual, be sure to say what queries you used to find the answer and tell us how long it took you to discover the story behind "fishing over your head"! 

Search on! 


  1. I don't know anything about boat fishing, so my first search was "fishing boat types" (no quotes) But i didn't bother with search results, i went to images. Once i saw the images of the "walkaround" and "sports fishing boats" i knew i was on to something. So i searched for each, and turns out that the term "Sports fishing boats" (no quotes) fits best. then i searched for the term "famous sport fishing boat" (with quotes) and didn't see anything at first. But switched to images, and the first bunch of images are all models of a boat. I moused overed the images, and it referenced "PILAR" and "ERNEST HEMINGWAY's FAMOUS SPORT FISHING BOAT" so i'm pretty sure the answer is "Pilar" and "Hemingway" also after that, i searched specifically for "Pilar Hemingway" (no quotes) and the first post is about "Saving Pilar and Hemingway" and a nice writeup about it.

  2. I don't see the connection between Hemingway's boat and "fishing above the head". So far the only thing I've found that fits is kite fishing (query: "remarkable fishing"). It seems that George Farnsworth introduced it in the US but I can't find any reference to a boat he had built (he was skipper of the Mable, then became captain). I'm beginning to doubt I'm on the right track, certainly Hemingway sounds a lot more famous!

  3. But what about the "fishing over your head" part?

    1. Knowing that an overhead road holder is called a rocket launcher, searching "recreational fishing boat rocket launcher" turns up this as the first result:
      "No Problem (Hull #23) was built for Jo Jo Del Guercio took delivery in 1975. A cold-molded hull, the boat included a lengthened deckhouse and raised sheer that improved exterior lines, interior layout and overall balance. The boat also had the first "rocket launcher," (a device to hold fishing rods for trolling) an idea of Del Guercio's carried out by Merritt."

  4. "The fishing gear would be many tens of feet above them... and the fish as well!"

    I see you edited this sentence to add the last part, that should clarify that kite fishing is not the way to go :)

  5. Your addition also helped clarify that the animals that were caught were actually fish, so you're not talking of "fishing" birds or something like that. Also, "flying" birds don't really fly that high so that isn't an option either. Fish do fall from the sky sometimes but it is so rare it wouldn't warrant building a ship for that purpose. I can think of some weird geographic configurations that would allow the fish to be above a regular boat (apparently fish don't fall down waterfalls so that isn't an option). But of course the most obvious course of action is to look for submarine fishing boats... I just can't find any! Besides... I'm not certain if a submarine would qualify as a "boat".

  6. Found this:

    And searched Google Books for the original article to discover vessel name:

    Called the H-5

    Searched "submarine h-5" to find this:
    Originally built for the Russian Government

    Is this right?

  7. My other post hasn't cleared moderation yet, but the original search to find the article was "fishing history submarine"

  8. USS S-40 (SS-145) or Submarine H-5 — built for the U.S. Navy 1919|1921 launch, San Francisco, fishing in ≈90' of water between L.A. & Santa Catalina during training.
    "This method of submarine fishing was given a try-out recently by an electrician aboard the submarine H-5. He baited four lines prior to making a dive, and when the boat came to the surface he had three yellowtail, weighing twenty-four, twenty-eight, and thirty-two pounds respectively. A fourth fish had taken the bait, but got away."
    Dr. Todd
    Goo Books/The American Angler
    USS S-40
    search path:
    looked at various fishing methods for about 20 minutes - no luck, left > came back & saw comment about Pilar, enjoyed reading about her and "Papa" and saw your comment, Dan - re read the question and keyed on the floats being overhead and decided to check submarines and found Fishing for History, the Google Books article and the sub history... so total time was around 6 hours - about an hour of active hunting... another 20 to type up, I'm slow.
    H-5 in action

  9. My guess.... The H-5 Submarine running from Los Angeles to Catalina in 1920.
    I took a guess at what fishing over your head would look like, and searched "Submarine fishing". The 9th link referred to a Popular Mechanics article about it.

  10. ... meant to include this shot of where the H-5 kept her "fish"
    “Forward Torpedo Room US Submarine H-5 cica 1919”

    Bow torpedo room on Submarine H-5 (SS-148) about 1919
    Note the two torpedoes in the lower storage racks
    U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph # NH 4674
    photo source

  11. The name of the boat was the H-5, a submarine built by the Electric Boat Company in 1915. It was originally built for the Imperial Russian Navy. this took me about 90 minutes, but most of it was wasted researching kite fishing. I was going off the non-updated Life Hacker article. Once I went to this site and saw the correction, I abandoned the kite fishing idea, and tried a query on submarine fishing. This led me to the site: which described an article from 1920 about a submarine fishing off of Catalina Island called the H-5. The rest of the information came from a Wikipedia article on the USS H-5. Interesting challenge.

  12. man, did I bollix up the sub's identity & original commissioner - even though some the links had the correct number... that's embarrassing! additional photos here - J. Edwin Hogg is the photographer and was the author of the American Angler & Popular Mechanics articles... mea culpa, sigh, TBL... thanks Barry for straightening that out.
    H-5 (SS-148)

  13. This doesn't change the answer to the search challenge, but in the spirit of "going deeper" and fact checking... does anyone have an idea what happened to the "missing" Russian H sub? 18 ordered, 11 delivered, 6 purchase by the USN... = 17?... just wondering.
    and why did it take 11 years from decommissioning and the 6? USN subs being sold for scrap in Hampton Roads?
    Taken to Norfolk in 1922, H-3 scrapped in '31, the remaining 5 in '33.
    "The Imperial Russian Navy ordered 18 H-class submarines from the Electric Boat Company in 1915. Eleven were delivered, and served as the American Holland class submarines, but shipment of the final six was held up pending the outcome of the Russian Revolution of 1917, and the boats were stored in knockdown condition at Vancouver, British Columbia. All six were purchased by the United States Navy on 20 May 1918 and assembled at Puget Sound Navy Yard"
    Lehi Utah 1922 photo
    bottom entry-6 subs+2S1 Hollands
    and how does SS-145 get built after H-5, but H-5 is SS-148?
    a S-1 Holland