Traditional Halibut Hooks by Jonathan Rowan
Tlingit Master Carver Jonathan Rowan creates these traditionally, a náxw, or “halibut hook”. Traditional hooks were carved out of two pieces of wood attached with cordage (natural fiber) to form a V-shaped hook. A piece of bone (later metal) would also be wrapped to the bottom piece of wood and angled towards the inside to create the barb. The upper piece of wood might be plain or carved, with a fishing line attached. The line would run to the surface, where it would be affixed to a wooden float or inflated buoy made of seal stomach, while the fishhook could be weighted at the bottom with a simple stone sinker. The finished assembly was designed to keep the hook near the ocean bottom, where large halibut feed.