Fishing in India – Part 3 – My Fishing Experience

My Fishing Experience with my Dad in the Backwaters of Kerala

My dad, a fisherman and I went fishing in a handmade canoe with nets.  The fisherman paddled us about 3 meters from shore and then dropped a large net 5 meters deep by 25 meters long into the water. The net was placed in a straight line and had styrofoam buoys on the top of the net. When fish swim into the net, they got caught and make the buoys move. This movement indicates to the fisherman that he has caught something. The fisherman threw another smaller circular net into the water and it sunk to the bottom about 10 to 15 meters. Ten seconds later, he brought it up. This took a while because the water and the mud from the bottom were heavy. He only caught six fish using this strategy. Then, he brought us to shore because it was going to take some time for the fish to get caught in the larger net. About 30 minutes later, the fisherman went out on his own again and picked up the large net and caught about 40 to 50 small fish. He was excited about his catch and planned to sell these fish for about 300 Indian rupees ($6 CND) the next day.

Setting Out for Fishing in the Backwaters at Night - Scott & Matt

Setting Out for Fishing in the Backwaters at Night – Scott & Matt

Fishing in the Backwaters at Night - Scott & Matt Silloutte

Fishing in the Backwaters at Night – Scott & Matt Silloutte

Fishing in India – Part 2 – Chinese Fishing Nets

Chinese Fishing Nets – Backwaters of Kerala near Kollam  

The Chinese fishing nets came to Kerala in the 1300s to 1400s from the council of Kublai Khan. These nets sit at the end of the dock about 20 feet out from the mainland. Two long poles act like a neck and there are four other poles that reach over the water with the net attached to the end of each pole so that it looks like a diamond shape. There are weights attached to the end of the ropes that are connected to the top of the Chinese fishing net. These weights act as simple machines to pull the net up and down. There is another rope that is connected to the cone shaped center of the fishing net. When the net is put into the water, the ropes are released and the net drops into the water, with the cone shaped area dropping deeper. The purpose of the cone shaped area is to capture the fish when the net is lifted out of the water. Electrical wires run from the shore and are connected to the frame of the net.  At the top of the net, there are four light bulbs. The fisherman fish at night and use lights to attract the fish (which is illegal in Canada).  This type of fishing is still used quite a bit today in Kerala and will probably continue to be used for a while.

Chinese Fishing Net - Out of the Water

Chinese Fishing Net – Out of the Water

Chinese Fishing Net - Out of the Water

Chinese Fishing Net – Out of the Water

Chinese Fishing Net - About to be Dropped

Chinese Fishing Net – About to be Dropped

Chinese Fishing Net - Dropped In Water

Chinese Fishing Net – Dropped In Water

Chinese Fishing Net - Multiple Dropped In Water

Chinese Fishing Net – Multiple Dropped In Water

 

Fishing in India – Part 1 – Ropes and Nets – Odayam Beach, Kerala

Ropes and Nets – Odayam Beach, near Varkala, Kerala

I have never before seen the method of fishing that is used by the fishermen on Odayam Beach. At sunrise every morning, the fishermen use ropes and nets to manually fish from the beach. The size of the net is about 2 kilometers long and 5 meters deep.  The net looks like a giant slingshot because there is a 15-meter rope attached to each side of the net. The first part of the net has holes that are about one foot apart, then the size of the holes get smaller and smaller until they are less than 5 millimeters apart. About 8 men row a large boat from the beach out about 2 kilometers to drop the net in an arch. There were about six men in the water inside the arch of the net and their job is to scare the fish so that the fish will swim towards the top of the arch. At the same time, ten men on each side of the arch begin to pull the net in (some are in the water and some are on the beach).  For at least one hour, they work hard to keep pulling in the nets. Eventually, the fishermen that are in the water pick up the net and the fish that remain in the finer net are carried ashore. Most days the fishermen catch thousands of small sardines and butterfly fish. One day they caught a huge butterfly fish that was worth 2000 rupees ($40 CND). All the fishermen were so excited with this catch. On another day, they caught thousands of small shrimp, one squid, and one jellyfish. The fishermen were very happy. All of the sudden, at least 30 fishmongers appeared and bought all the shrimp, but they did not want the jellyfish. This type of fishing happens two or three times a day except on Fridays because most of the fishermen are Muslim and Friday is their holy day.

Setting the Nets - with Matt

Setting the Nets – with Matt

Pulling in the Nets 2

Pulling in the Nets 2

Pulling in the Nets

Pulling in the Nets

Pulling in the Nets - Close Up

Pulling in the Nets – Close Up

A Catch of Small Fish

A Catch of Small Fish

A Large Catch

A Large Catch

Drying and Mending the Nets

Drying and Mending the Nets

Drying the Nets

Drying the Nets

Fishmongers Arrive!

Fishmongers Arrive!