Ocean fish hunting

This is not a game to shoot fish for money on machines, in Phu Quoc, ocean fishers are still working hard to make a living with this profession …

Mr. Hoang gave notes when shooting ocean fish /// Photo: LAM NGOC

Mr. Hoang noted when shooting ocean fish.PHOTO: LAM NGOC

At 5 am, An Thoi fishing port is clear, drizzling rain, I and two famous fish shooters in Phu Quoc are Nguyen Thanh Hoang (living in Duong Dong town) and Nguyen Dinh Trieu Phuong (43 years old, living in Suoi Da hamlet. , Duong To commune) went to sea.

Fish shooter

The small boat running by oil engine carrying 6 people through Hon Dua, Hon Roi, Hon Thom still did not stop. “There are not many fish in these areas, if they want to be full, they have to take the trouble to go further to the island, there are many coral reefs, and the fish live a lot so it is easy to shoot”, Mr. Phuong said.To May Rut island, we camped. Drinking water, bags and barrels are taken on the island and the boat is away again. Mr. Phuong is a famous fish hunter in the world, he used to “bombard” for many years in Nha Trang waters , after returning to Phu Quoc. 

In addition to his main job as a diving instructor, since 1997, Mr. Phuong has developed an affinity for fishing.Over 30 years of being friends with fish guns, Mr. Phuong is fond of diving and hunting techniques as well as the characteristics of many marine fish species. Want to dive long must take breath from the belly. Depending on the location, each person can dive about 40-45 seconds. Long people hold their breath for 3-4 minutes, then dive underwater for 1-2 minutes. Mr. Phuong set a limit for himself to only dive up to 20 m when hunting fish. He said the deeper the dive, the greater the water pressure. As soon as they feel ear pain, the diver must quickly release the pressure relief ear valve. 

If not promptly handled, divers can rupture blood vessels and die immediately upon diving. “Shooting fish must go with the team to support each other in special situations”, Mr. Phuong shared. After equipping us with the basics of diving, Mr. Phuong gave each person a respirator with a snorkel to experience. We are only allowed to dive close to shore at depths of 2 – 3 m and do not bring guns or protective gear. Take a deep breath from my stomach for the first attempt for about a minute. Under the water is a field of colorful corals. 

Hundreds of fishes are far away from the fish school … “Small fish are for watching and playing. Professional shooters have to hunt large fish with a weight of fewer than ten kilograms, ”said Phuong, pulling me up and signaling the boat to leave the island further away to start the fish hunt.

Ocean fish hunting 1The booty of the fish hunt

Stingray hunting

People who hunt fish often go out to sea on the day of birth around 5-7 and 20-27 of the lunar month because at this time the water stands, the amount of food is high, the fish race together to feed, so it is very convenient to hunt.Taking advantage of the time sitting on the side of the boat, Mr. Hoang and Phuong started to wear swimsuits and put on propellers. Most fish hunters choose full-bodied, camouflage swimsuits so that when diving to a deep floor, close contact with the fish will not frighten them. 

It is considered one of the little camouflage tips that beginners must learn. Shooting guns are usually made of wood, aluminum, or carbon tubes, and act as a bow and arrow. However, because of the underwater shot, the traction is heavy, the hunter must find a way to reduce the pressure and the direction of the arrow to go in the right direction. Mr. Hoang said this gun is usually only available in the developed countries of the sport of hunting fish and is licensed to use as fishing gear.

Next, Mr. Hoang tied a small knife to his ankle: “This knife is to protect himself in case of trouble. When being pulled by fish or obstacles, quickly cut arrows or cut guns to escape. Forget about this knife is considered a bet your life “.The preparations are complete. The hunter group divided their direction and dropped themselves into the sea. While they were diving in the depths, we passed the time by releasing our tongs, and squid fishing.

More than 5 hours passed, the sun was shadowed west, a call from afar: “Come here”. Mr. Hoang floated to the surface of the water, around him were dozens of fish of all kinds weighing several tens of kilograms floating around his stomach. He quickly climbed into the boat to open the fish sponge barrel. Removing his diving suit, he said that he had just lost track of a large swordfish of about 20 kg.Seeing our regret, he once said that he once followed a stingray weighing 80 kg while hunting in May Rut island (Phu Quoc). 

It was one of those hunting trips that I still remember admiring myself.“That day, when I discovered a stingray about 30-40 kg, I followed it. Still uncertain, I dived down again to probe. Seeing the fish seem larger than initially observed, I cautiously took a deep breath into the water, then dived closer to the fish and pulled out the arrow. At this time, the water pressure was high, the fish also seemed to feel the danger so suddenly changed the direction of swimming. 

The arrow did not hit the head but hit the tail plus the loud gunshot caused the fish to panic. It struggled, dragging the arrow with me and the gun. Within 15 minutes, Mr. Hoang was shocked many times, not remembering how many sips of water he had to drink. Finally, the fish was exhausted. He asks for your help to hunt it to the shore. Suddenly, when weighing a fish weighing more than 80 kg ”.In 2018, Mr. Phuong also shot a tuna with more than 60 kg in Ong Islet (Quang Ngai). “I discovered it from the water, so I immediately went with it,” he said. 

Down to a depth of 22 m, I felt the time was right, so I quickly hit the fish with a single arrow. With a name, the fish panicked and dragged the buoy frantically for more than 30 minutes. When the fish got tired, I shot another one and then dragged the fish onto the boat. When meeting big goals, passion and desire to conquer are aroused, making the job more interesting ”.

Do not shoot fry, avoid destruction

The fishermen said they realize that shooting fish as well as other types of fishing at sea are for their livelihood. They only shoot fish weighing 4 – 7 kg or more. This selection will help preserve the fry and avoid extinction.

Lost gun, lost my life

It is difficult to hit the target on the shore, in the water, the difficulty is 4-5 times more difficult. At the same time, the fish shooter must use skills of swimming, diving, aiming and shooting arrows. That is not to mention the pressure from water, flow … Therefore, hunters have to equip themselves with many special techniques to be able to handle the arising situations when diving and shooting fish. At a depth of more than 10 m, the seawater pressure is greater, the thrust is also more while the fish on this floor are always moving, to shoot the fish must understand the personality of each species, guess the direction of the fish.

Mr. Hoang revealed: “If you want to hunt the big fish, you must hit your target once, and paralyze your target. If not, when hit by the arrow, the fish in pain will drag the name with the gun and the person anywhere. The fish that hit the name without dying must definitely cut the name. If you do not hurry, the fish will be pulled deeply, at this time, you will change the pressure and you will die too much. In fact, there were people who had accidents and died on the hunt.

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