Stilt fishing , a unique Sri Lankan tradition, requires a great deal of patience. From a high position, the fisherman casts his line, and waits until a fish comes along to be caught. This method of fishing generally targets small fish. It involves waiting for several hours in complete silence to catch the fish. The majority of fishermen who practice this method of fishing are those who do not own modern fishing equipment. In this simple method all what they need is the stilt which is made by tying a small cross bar on to a pole, and the fishing rod. Fishermen themselves create these equipment, using the skills passed from one generation to another.
Ritipanna is the Sinhalese term for stilt fishing and it is practiced by fishermen along the southern coast of Sri Lanka. This art is popularly seen in areas such as Ahangama, Koggala, Welipenna, Kathaluwa and Thalarambe.
Sunrise and dusk are the ideal times one could catch a glimpse of these stilt fishermen in the Southern coastal belt. Fishermen complete their morning session by about 9 a.m; thereafter they sell their day’s catch to the buyers who come to the location. Some of the foreigners who witness this method even climb the ritipanna to experience this remarkable activity .