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Sea Fishing in the Philippines

RT Cunningham | July 28, 2020 (UTC) | Food and Drink

fishingI’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know much about sea fishing, or fishing in general, other than what I’ve seen or experienced myself. I went fishing with my father and other relatives when I was young (before the age of 17).

The sea fishing I’ve seen up close was net fishing on a beach in Olongapo. I have yet to see sea fishing for large fish up close.

Sea Fishing for Food

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).

Sea Fishing for Sport and Recreation

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.

Many of my youthful days were spent watching my father sit on the end of a pier in Hawaii, for hours at a 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 some type of red fish (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.

Uninterested in Fishing

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 fresh tuna or lapu-lapu. Tuna torta with a plate of rice is a treat I’ll eat as often as I can. Even though I’ll eat almost any kind of fish, 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 go fishing 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 go fishing, but it has to be with a rod and reel.

Photo Attribution: Béa Beste from Pixabay
Edited and updated. Originally published at one of my other websites in March 2014.

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