This study sets out to explore human–nonhuman encounters in the leisure activity of match fishing. Informed by practice theory, studies on the body and the senses, and the human–animal literature, it focuses on analysing the practice-specific, embodied and sensory doings and sayings of both humans and nonhumans during match fishing. The findings from three-year sensory ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Finnish Lapland suggest that human–nonhuman encounters can be characterised as partner dancing. That is, this phenomenon is tantamount to a dance between a fish and an angler taking place in a dancehall of water, in which the weather acts as an orchestra framing the rhythm and tempo of the dance. Considering both fish and anglers, the study emphasises the agential and embodied quality of human–nonhuman encounters. It challenges the dominant position of the human, suggesting a move from anthropomorphism to zoomorphism – animalising the angler in a dance with a fish. The study also provides novel insights into the dynamic nature of a waterscape, highlighting its dual nature consisting of the underwater world and the above-water world. In summary, this study offers a detailed account of the dynamic interactions between humans, nonhumans and the natural environment.
- Human–nonhuman encounter; body; practice; senses; waterscape; sensory ethnography; fishing