I don’t really remember doing it all that much myself, so I can honestly claim I don’t know much at all about it. It was all pole fishing and sea fishing was a mystery to me until I saw it up close.
Fish is such a staple in the Filipino diet, it makes sense for me to mention sea fishing at least once. Now, fresh water fishing also takes place in the Philippines, but I’ve never actually seen anyone doing it. I’m told most of the fresh water fish comes from fish farms or caught using cages in the rivers and lakes.
Every morning, street vendors are walking the streets of Olongapo and selling fresh fish from just about any kind of container imaginable. Saltwater fish isn’t the only item on the agenda. Squid and octopus (pusit and pugita) and other sea creatures are also available for consumption. Later in the day, dried fish (tuyo and danggit) seems more prevalent than fresh.
I’ve seen nets filled with fish being pulled toward one of the beaches (I even helped once). I’ve seen people using nets from bangka boats (outrigger canoes). I have yet to see anyone do it with a pole.
I often wonder if fishing for sport and recreation exists in the Philippines. I’ve never heard anyone talking about it and I’ve never seen it here.
I spent many of my youthful days watching my father sit on the end of a pier in Hawaii, for hours at time. He obviously wasn’t interested in catching fish because he rarely caught anything. Every once in a while, he’d hook a perch or something. Every once in a while, he’d catch something he didn’t intend to catch, like a lobster. He used squid for bait and I have no idea if that was a good idea or not.
I fished off a reef in another Hawaiian spot and caught cod (the kind with teeth). My younger brother and I fished for food, not fun. Most of the fish eaten in our home for a time was what we caught and not what my father caught (if he caught anything at all).
In my teen years, it interested me for only one reason: I wanted to eat fish. I don’t like fishing for sport or recreation. Spending hours at a beach, a river bank or on a pier doesn’t interest me at all.
Frankly, I’m more interested in spending my time eating the fish than wondering where it came from or how it got to my plate. I like grilled fish, like barbecued (ihaw) fresh tuna or lapu-lapu. I’ll eat tuna torta with a plate of rice as often as I can. I’ll eat almost any kind of fish, but there are some sea creatures I just won’t eat. I don’t even want to think about them.
Yes, I’ll leave the fishing to the fishermen. I don’t intend to ever fish again, whether it’s sea fishing or any other kind of fishing. That is, unless the fishermen of the Philippines decide to stop for some reason. In that case, I think I can at least remember how to fish.
Originally published in March of 2014. Updated for readability.