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Fishing snakehead at night

HA TINH – It was getting dark, Mr. Dao Dinh Duc, 24 years old, living in Cam Son commune, Cam Xuyen district, along with dozens of other people carried rods and plastic buckets to the field to fish snakehead.

With a flashlight on his head, Mr. Duc walked along the edge of the field looking for a position to place 60 fishing rods. The rod is 1.5 m long, is sharpened from a bamboo rod, the tip of the bow is tied with a 1m long line. Fishing hook with sharp prongs bent from small steel thread. The bait is earthworms or clones, baby frogs.

“In September, the rice is blooming, the water from the irrigation canals pours into the field approximately 20-40 cm, which is a suitable environment for snakehead fish to live and grow. Field fish this season is considered a specialty when cooked. It’s greasy, the meat is very tender,” Duc said.

Fishing snakehead at night
Mr. Duc prepared dozens of fishing rods to plug around the field. Photo: Duc Hung

In order for the fish to “stick to the trap”, the most important step is to attach the bait. When hooking earthworms and fishing hooks, workers must leave the bait long so that snakeheads can quickly detect it, if the hook is not prepared, it will easily be eaten by crabs or small fish.

There are many types of snakehead fishing, but the traditional way is often chosen. The 1.5 m long rod is deeply embedded in the banks of the fields. After about half an hour, the “fisherman” will go and observe once to see if the fish is hooked or not. If you leave the fish in the hook for too long, it will die, leading to rottenness, not eating well.

Snakehead fish has the habit of hunting, feeding, and finding a place to sleep near the field at night. “I and a group of friends go to the field at 19:00 every day, in addition to avoiding the hot sun, it is easier to make a sentence at this time than during the day,” explained Mr. Duc.

People remove hooks from fish. Photo: Duc Hung

Snakehead fishing is a part-time job for people in Cam Son commune. In leisure time, anyone can go to the field to set bait for a month when the rice is in bloom. When the rice is ripe, the water in the field is drained to harvest, the fish will follow the water to swim to the canals, irrigation ditches, rivers, and lakes to grow.

Every night, from 19:00 to 22:00, Mr. Duc caught about 3 kg of snakehead fish, each weighing 1-4 kg, some weighing nearly a kg. When pulling up the fish in the field, it is necessary to hold the fish tightly to prevent it from struggling, then slowly remove the hook. If you put your finger in the fish’s mouth to remove the hook, it is easy to get hurt when they thrash around.

In addition to letting live fish in plastic buckets, some people burn rice straw briefly, then bring it to the market in Cam Son commune to sell it for 80,000-100,000 VND per kilogram. “Working hard also earns nearly 300,000 VND per night, with more money to cover some items for the family,” Mr. Duc said.

In addition to snakehead fish, sometimes there are perch and catfish that are hooked. Photo: Duc Hung

According to Mr. Than The Lam, 41 years old, residing in Cam Son commune, night snake fishing does not cost much. With 50 poles, just need to invest about 300,000 VND to buy a fishing line and hook, which can be used in several seasons. Some people save money by flattening one end of the wire, sharpening it with a file, and bending the hook with pliers.

Fishing is also potentially dangerous. In the evening, insects and reptiles like snakes go to find food. To avoid stepping on snakes and being attacked, when going to the field, workers must wear protective gear, boots and gloves.

Snakehead fish, also known as fruit fish, calamari, lives in fields, rivers, canals… At rural markets in Ha Tinh, people buy snakehead fish to process dishes such as grilled, braised, and grilled. , grind balls, cook sour soup or porridge…

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