Experience fishing at the sea with fish hunters on Con Dao Island

Tuesday - 28/05/2019 10:12
Do not know by luck or by the "help" of an invisible man that every day in Con Dao, I have opportunities to see more interesting things. I have the opportunity to sail with fishermen and anglers (professioners) for fishing "very big" fishes, experiences a sense very close to the sharks, "the killer of the ocean", scoop up squids swimming with a racket ...

Be stolen by skiller of the ocean

While wandering in Ben Dam port area??, where gather the entire fishing boats of fishermen fishing in Con Dao, I overheard the conversation of a group of men with a harbor boat owners on the embankment. That made me curious and I stopped to listen. They were from Ho Chi Minh City to Con Dao for fishing. I accosted them and expressed my intention for participating. A man about age of 50 introduced his name Van, said: "It is ok if you want to go. There are full of professional anglers so we sail very far to fish large fishes. This boat is small and wave is very big, can you bear this? Think carefully, one day will be wasted if you get seasick. I have a hesitation in moment after hearing that but curiosity made me risk to nod. Seeing me nod quickly, Van laughed and said: "Ok, 4 am tomorrow, we will start here. Take lightweight belongings, not to carry expensive cameras because sea water can damage it".

Photos: Phuc Lap

Next morning, I arrived on time, people also gathered in sufficiency. Group included 5 anglers and 5 helpers. All of them are professional. They went fishing many times, only I was "heathen". However, the owner of the boat, Mr Liem assured me: "Do not worry, sea is very calm today." After nearly 1 hour at the sea, boat reduced and stopped. Liem used GPS and found fishes machine to determine the anchor point. He said, should have learned long experience in personal characteristics, where they normally lived for fishing. In many cases, drop bait far away a few meters, we did not see it. But if you drop bait at right spot, right before their eyes, because they see their prey hovering in front of their eyes, they snap away from itchy eyes but not feel hungry.

As soon as stabilizing, everybody quickly hook bait and wait in silence. Each angler has a helper who support them to attach bait, remove fishes, ... Van said: “All of his tool are big enough to drag fishes with tens of kilograms. After about 15 minutes we drop bait, I felt a chippy because the boat kept bobing. Right then, the fishing rod of Tran Van Khanh, a famous angler was suddenly bent, drag down, the machine continuously worked hard because of a strong traction from underwater.

With many years of experience as a angler, after a few minutes did, machine stopped. Sitting beside him, Liem said:” the fish gave up”. This time, Khanh began pull the fishing -  rod. Everyone looked toward the fishing - rod, hold our breath to wait for the first fish of the day. Looking the curved rod, everyone thought that the fish was surely big. But luck was not smiling at Khanh, when the rod was curved suddenly become straight. Khanh pulled the rod in suspense, when the head of the rod pop up out of the water, Khanh shouted with a fitful accent:"Sharks stole it!". Everybody looked closely, all remain that was the big head of the head, like a big coconut in the hook. And the body was cut by shark as they use a sharp knife! About 1 minute later, I heard Liem shouted: "Everyone pulled leg up". It turned out when fishing, everyone sat in the boat, dropped feet into the water, swung.

The first fish was stolen by a shark. It took a robbery on hand of our angler, leaving only the head, "It is a luck because the fish was in the distance, unless it can bite our feet” Liem said. That made everyone scare the life out of us.

The 30kg grouper 

After almost 2 hours drop the bait, we gain many fishes on the boat, but there were not any “very big” fishes. After lunch, Liem suggested us to move to another place, far away this some hundred meters. But as he prepared to lift anchor suddenly the water bottles as floats on his fishing rod submerged under water, curved rod, wire in tension as a storm, the machine hissed, wire released quickly. Van tried his best to keep the rod, his face was flushed. People were quick to help him. But rod and wire become rigid, almost impossible to lift wire, while wire is still released. If not collected, the wire can be broken out at any time.

This time, Liem quickly began to lift anchor and drive the boat to run in the direction of rod. The wire started sag again. Van began to collect the wire. Everyone turns to keep the rod, lift the wire. All of us were purple with rage and puffed. Perhaps the big fish was also tired and tamed so it gradually approached the boat, but occasionally it pressed the rod back and then rush out like crazy. It made everyone get shortness of  breath with it. After over an hour of struggle, finally, the fish also approached the boat, people removed buoys. Suddenly, I heard someone shout of joy: "grouper". Soon, everyone went on the boat and shouted "Grouper! Champion! Champion!" ...

A very big grouper

I looked down and saw a grouper in flicker blue water, a grouper with many strips on its skin as a multicolored cloud slowly emerged. Add a few clicks of lift the wire, the fish floated with the belly up on its back. Four strong anglers took 15 minutes to pull the fish up the boat. Although very tired, but everyone still screamed like crazy. Then, we took turn to "take a selfie" with the hug fish. I estimated the fish was more than 1 meter, maybe near a hug. This is the biggest fish that I was looked with my own eyes and  touched by my own hands. Van said:”This fish is about 30kg, without the genuine rod, strong wire, we can not gain it. Furthermore the experience is very important. There is a coral reef in about two hundred meters so if we can not keep, let it swim to there and get into some coral reefs, the cord is sure of breaking."

When night fell, the boat began to move to the shallow water to net and fish squid. "How to move into shallow water? There is no cuttlefish so? "I asked. Liem explained: "There are squid but not much. In shallow water, about a dozen meter we can drop nets to bottom of the sea".

Angle and scoop up squids

Squid are still alive when we get them

Tracking the team of anglers and helpers prepare, I knew that baits are imitative  shrimps. After being drop into the water, these imitative shrimps glowed and attract squids. Anglers pulled gently the bait, to close to the water, they used a racket to scoop up squids. While anglers were fishing squids, Liem turned on the lights on one side of the boat and neted. The net touched the bottom of the sea and formed an arc embracing the boat. After more than half an hour of atracting squids by the light, the net was narrowed and pulled up, squids were catched within the net. All of us used rackets to fish out jumping squids and took up to the boat. After 1 day and 1 night at sea, we fished more than 200kg of fishes, including more than a dozen categories, such as mackerel, parrot fish, battered green, pine grouper, red grouper, star rays ...

Some booties  (mackerel, ken, star ray and groupers)














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