Don’t ask me how I know about trout tickling, but I do.
Trout tickling has been practiced for many centuries – it’s even mentioned by our old boyo, Billy Shakespeare in his masterful 1601 classic, Twelfth Night:
‘Close, in the name of jesting! Lie thou there,
for here comes the trout that must be caught with tickling.’
The technique reached its peak popularity during the 1930s depression. Poachers and working men alike would use the technique due to the serious economic stress that the country was under. It was popular due to its lack of equipment that was necessary. All you need is your hands. Truly a five-finger discount for a fish supper.
Anyway, you know how Offie Mag’s Clickbait series can get. We’ve done a countdown of the best Aldi product names and the best urban scavengers, so trout tickling feels like the next step. So, here we go – your comprehensive guide to trout tickling:
- First, Make sure you’ve got the right kit I’m talking some quite serious wellington boots, some waders (I recommend the Vass 700E Nova Heavy Duty PVC Chest Wader, they are quite pricey but the quality cannot be matched) and some sort of woodland camo hat.
2. Enter the water but be careful, need to make sure that you enter the river in a safe place, preferably lookout for a shallow bank that you can exit and enter with ease. You should be able to spot the trout from the edge of the bank.
3. Don’t be too stealthy and I know this sounds silly, but this part is key. Listen up. This is where almost all ticklers go wrong. Find the perfect middle ground between aggression and stealth (think Manny Pacquiao). Approach the trout from the opposite bank and slightly upstream from the target. Trout like to use the current to aid their escape and downstream . They’re a lot quicker than upstream.
4. Crouch & Reach is a technique that was adopted many moons ago, crouch and reach slowly behind the target, keeping your hands in a ‘V’ shape, this will form a barrier and a funnel so that if the target tries to escape, you’ve got more of a chance of making the catch.
5. Avoid any direct contact with the fish especially it’s head, tail or sides of the fish. Imagine you are holding the corners of a rug in each hand and you are trying to slide it under the fish.
6. LET THE TICKLING COMMENCE! Keep your hands pressed against the river bed and gently stroke the belly of the trout mimicking pond weeds floating in the current. Now you must make contact with the trout itself – make sure you do so very gently as to not alarm the slippery customer in question!
7. Grasp hold of it securely making sure not to injure the target, but using enough pressure that it is unable to escape your grasp. Make sure your hands are positioned as such: one beneath the trout’s head and gill plate, the other at the wrist of the tail. Yes, fish have wrists.
8. This grip probably won’t hold for long so as quickly as you can, get the fish out of the water and onto the bank.
Hey presto – a successfully tickled trout!