Character Talents and Skills: Fishing

As writers, we want to make our characters as unique and interesting as possible. One way to do this is to give your character a special skill or talent that sets him apart from other people. This might be something small, like having a green thumb or being good with animals, to a larger and more competitive talent like stock car racing or being an award-winning film producer. 

When choosing a talent or skill, think about the personality of your character, his range of experiences and who his role models might have been. Some talents might be genetically imparted while others are created through exposure (such as a character talented at fixing watches from growing up in his father’s watch shop) or grow out of interest (archery, wakeboarding, or magic). Don’t be afraid to be creative and make sure the skill or talent is something that works with the scope of the story. 

medium_11386040013Description: catching fish and other sea- or fresh water faring creatures for sport or food, using a rod and lure, net, trap, projectile or simply fast reflexes. Fishermen may work on a large commercial boat and use nets and other equipment  to catch large hauls, or fish as an individual, both to put food on the table and for sport. There are many types of fishing: catch and release (sport fishing), rod and reel, nets, traps, spear fishing, ice fishing, hand fishing, and fly fishing to name a few. A person can often find fish or other edible creatures in lakes, rivers, streams and the ocean, making it a good source of food, especially in survival situations.

Beneficial Strengths or Abilities: Good eyesight, fast reflexes, strong balance and knowledge of the environment (be it river or ocean, fish and other creatures thrive in certain areas which can shift due to weather, currents, seasons, mating times, etc.) are important. Knowing where fish will be and when will help one’s success rate, as will being able to find or create the best lure/bait to attract a specific type of fish. Boating can be a useful skill, but not necessary. Upper body strength is especially important when it comes to deep sea fishing.

Character Traits Suited for this Skill or Talent: patience, focus, determination,  introverted, clever, attentive, easy-going

Required Resources and Training: This skill one learns by doing. Fishing often, in different conditions and areas will give your character experience. If he or she relies on fishing to provide food for the table, there is an increased incentive to become skilled quickly. Having a mentor who knows local fishing, possible dangers (and how to avoid them), would be an asset.

Scenarios Where this Skill Might be Useful:

  • Providing food for one’s family, tribe or clan
  • Sport fishing competitions to win a coveted prize or bragging rights
  • To gain esteem in the eyes of others
  • In survival situations where land-based food sources might be scarce
  • As a way to contribute when the character has a deficit of some kind (like an injury causing limited mobility, for example)

Resources for Further Information:

22 Steps for Fishing

How to Fish Without Equipment

Emergency Fishing Techniques

You can brainstorm other possible Skills and Talents your characters might have by checking out our FULL LIST of this Thesaurus Collection. And for more descriptive help for Setting, Symbolism, Character Traits, Physical Attributes, Emotions, Weather and more, check out our Thesaurus Collections page.

photo credit: Mustang Joe via photopin cc


Angela is an international speaker and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also enjoys dreaming up new tools and resources for One Stop For Writers, a library built to help writers elevate their storytelling.
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9 Responses to Character Talents and Skills: Fishing

  1. Pingback: Monday Must-Reads [05/05/14]

  2. Thanks for another arrow for our writing quivers. Great post.

  3. This is perfect for me, thank you.

    My protagonist is going to have a fixation with fishing as it is done in the “civilized” world. In his Congo rain forest home, they fish by building a small damn to trap the fish, then stun them with a mild toxin.

  4. I’ve always loved fishing, wish I could do it more.

    • It seems like one of those things that really allows one to get quiet and think about life. I admit I like the idea of fishing, but struggle with the idea of killing it to eat it. I mean it’s silly–I buy mean, I buy fish. I should be able to do what needs to be done to harvest it, and if I can’t, then maybe I should be eating meat.

  5. :Donna Marie says:

    Whenever I think of fishing, my first image is of a row boat on a lake, relaxing and serene 🙂 But, of course, there’s the kind of fishing that’s MUCH more treacherous (think “Deadliest Catch”)! I’ve never done it myself, but do like the image of the lake 🙂 And, for me, one of the best images that comes to mind is that of Jesus approaching Peter (Simon) and his brother Andrew letting down a fishing net: Matthew 4:19 And he said to them: “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

    As always, great post, Angela!

    • I agree, it is a tranquil image–being alone on the lake, enjoying being unconnected to all the little stressors yet connected to life! But as I mentioned to Traci, I struggle with the “kill the fish” to eat it part. And I don’t think I’d be good at catch and release. To me, it makes no sense to put a fish through that trauma just for a past time, but that’s just my own thoughts on that sort of thing.

      • :Donna Marie says:

        Well, as a pastime—no, not unless you intend to eat it! But I have no problem with eating a fish or it having to die. The trauma isn’t great, and I would think fishing nets are more humane in that way. Again—back to Jesus and the fishermen 😉

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