In my world, there are giant fish, reptiles, and bugs. My question is, how would you be able to put a harness or saddle on a fish?


  • Swamp bio being ridden by humans
  • Fish range in all different sizes but are mostly bigger than the average adult
  • Fish have different plant life growing off of them but can be trimmed if needed
  • Possibly a saddle and reins deal
  • All primitive materials like plants: vines, spider slick, leaves, wood; also basic metal skills.
  • There are no mammals so no fur or leather
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    $\begingroup$ We can't come with a unique solution if you don't define the body shape of the fish. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Oct 1, 2019 at 14:18
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    $\begingroup$ You can make leather from fish skin, FYI. There are even commercial enterprises operating today that will sell you stuff made from it. $\endgroup$ Oct 1, 2019 at 14:20
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    $\begingroup$ Also, when you say "ride", what will be doing the riding, and in what environment? A humanoid biped, riding at the surface? Something else riding at the surface? "riding" under the water? You're gonna need to be a bit more detailed here! $\endgroup$ Oct 1, 2019 at 14:21
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    $\begingroup$ Who is doing the riding ? Are they water or air breathers or amphibians ? Do they have legs (how many ?), arms, hands, claws, suction cups ? If there are no mammals this suggests they (the riders) are also not mammals so what are they ? $\endgroup$ Oct 1, 2019 at 14:51
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    $\begingroup$ Why not ride inside the fish? For example, some Amazonian species' fathers keep the hatchlings inside their mouths except when skipping out to feed. So get yourself a nice big, preferably vegetarian, fish and train it to spit you out when destination reached. $\endgroup$ Oct 1, 2019 at 17:46

4 Answers 4


Water is 1000x denser than air, and much more viscous. So saddling fish only works if you are going to be riding on the surface. That's on top of the fish having a shape that allows for saddling.

Here's Arthur riding a horse

If you are going to be underwater, you'd better be horizontal and grab the animal by some means. If they have shark skin, you might be able to hold on to them (you'll need a thick skin yourself, or gloves, or you may bleed).

Riding a whale shark

If you wish for something more natural than a saddle and hardier than plants, remoras will do:


Or if the fish is male, you can hold on to them by the linus. Sharks and rays have two of these. This may also be used to cause the fish to release some nutritive, protein-rich secretion.

This may be somewhat NSFW

Aerial fish may be surfed on. There is plenty of literature on this:

Freestyle aerial fish surfing

Rein-style aerial fish surfing

And here is a real life example, as seen in Sharknado 2: The Second One:

Surfing on a flying shark

In the comments, user3819867 called to my attention that just you might also like to ride inside a whale's innards. While whales are technically not fish, they are the best marine fauna for this mode of transportation.

Real life whales have their throats too narrow to swallow an adult. A workaround would be having them swallow a human infant, which would them grow up inside the beast.

But since we've already delved into DC physics here, you may wish to get inside marine fauna as an adult and ride it from there. I searched for images of people getting inside sharks and whales but everything I got was gory, so have an artistic rendition instead:

That's Pinocchio's dad by the way

Then again, that's not much controllable. You might want to do like they do it in Windforge, a game which is all about hunting whales for sport and turning their carcasses into flying contraptions:

Oh the memories

Don't buy that game though. The developers abandoned it halfway through development.

Finally, if you really wish to invest in fish husbandry, you can start with barreleyes, which have transparent heads:

I actually think they're cute

And turn them into submarimons:

The writers of Digimon had access to some really good pot, there is no other explanation

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    $\begingroup$ This is gold, awesome collection. $\endgroup$ Oct 1, 2019 at 14:48
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    $\begingroup$ Coffee just came out my nose....Haters gonna hate indeed $\endgroup$
    – Paul TIKI
    Oct 1, 2019 at 16:26
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    $\begingroup$ Come to think of it, the OPs riders are probably aqua-men... So yeah, the DC literature applies. Haters gonna hate :-) $\endgroup$ Oct 2, 2019 at 7:53
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    $\begingroup$ real life [...] Sharknado. $\endgroup$ Oct 2, 2019 at 10:43
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    $\begingroup$ "Aerial fish may be surfed on. There is plenty of literature on this" This is gold. As for the "horizontal grab", maybe some kind of saddle that you can hook on (with just your hand) would be better. $\endgroup$
    – Asoub
    Oct 2, 2019 at 11:03

If humans ride it strictly on the surface, a saddle-like seat made out of vines is a good anti-slip material for the rider. The contraption is a belt which wraps around the body like a belt, with loops into which the dorsal fin and side fins can fit. This will hold the seat in place and prevent it from sagging and turning. (Yes, fish skin is very slippery). Reins for controlling direction work well too.

If the fish is ridden underwater too, you have a serious issue with water resistance. The saddle would be modified to allow the rider to lie down on the fish's back. He/she may need to strap his/her waist to the saddle and the feet holding on to the stirrups, which are strapped to the saddle. The rider needs to release him/herself quickly for air, in case the fish does not rise to the surface for a reason.

Saddle parts https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saddle#/media/File%3AEnglishSaddleParts.png Can be modified to suit the task.


The experiment has been tried successfully at least once and is in the literature.

Chap called Jonah traveled for a while inside a fish.

The details are vague but we must assume that he dined on the fishes innards since he didn't take provisions and got his oxygen from air pockets or gas filled bladders.


I would like to suggest the low-tech solution of utilising the skin plant-growths on the animal itself to weave a sort of harness or net/basket, while preserving the physical attachment to the animal. This method uses minimal material and also enables a variety of option of riding in a saddle, a mounted platform or while being towed.

I think it also allows for a little more fish shape/species diversity as a system e.g. horse, elephant and chariot styled fish vehicles.


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