FISHING

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Along with hunting, fishing was one of the secondary occupations of the inhabitants of the area, coming as well from prehistory.

Crișul Negru basin, with its numerous tributaries, provided a generous area for fishing. Fish species that inhabited the site´s specific aquatic ecosystems were: clean, broad snout, barbel, carp, pike, catfish, trout, etc.

Traditional fishing was practiced, either directly to the roots, under the rocks, or by hand or with specific traditional devices. Among them, the fishing rod, the most popular today, was not very common in the past. The most commonly used were rows of iron hooks connected by strings and thrown across the riverbed, usually overnight. Local blacksmiths also made out other devices like ”ostiile” some kind of hooked forks that had to be put in a timber and carefully handled. They were stuck in the prey fish on the bottom of rivers. This kind of fishing was practiced also by night, using a source of light which usually attracted fish.

Fishing with special baskets called „vârși„ was also frequent. They were made of wicker basketry, linked with vines. Usually conical, with a length of 1.50-2 m, the baskets had an open mouth in a semicircle, with a straight base to fit the bottom. The mouth had another plaiting, of the same model, with the surface upside down, which allowed the entry of the fish, but not their out. With minor differences in design, pots could be placed upside against the current, in the case of small water courses. The course was filled with these baskets, and the borders of the river bed were blocked with earth or stones, forcing the water current, including fish, to escape through the shed where the fish remained trapped. In larger waters, quiet the same type of „ vârșe „ or a similar one was made, with the mouth on the current flow downstream. These baskets usually had dough as a bait, this remaining after the extraction of oil from sunflower or pumpkin seeds. The dough attracted fish that, once entered into the baskets, found no way out. Every evening and morning the baskets were checked and fish was caught out by a special door and bait changed. Fishers usually put river stones in the baskets so that the water shed could not carry them away.