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Mullet fishing with plastic bottles

DA NANG – Fishermen only need to mix a little flour into a plastic bottle, attach a piece of lead inside and tie a fishing line to drop into the sea, then wait for the fish to snuggle up.

After the Lunar New Year, every day the section of Phu Loc canal flows to Da Nang Bay, Thanh Khe district, attracting hundreds of people to come fish for mullet. People stand on the bridge or follow the rocky embankment along the coastal road to cast their bait.

Mullet fishing with plastic bottles
Fishermen standing on Phu Loc bridge and stone embankment drop plastic bottles to catch mullet. Photo: Ngoc Truong

Going to the rocky embankment near noon, Mr. Tran Van Phong, 56 years old, residing in Cam Le, took out a white plastic bottle from a plastic bag with the neck removed, the middle of the bottle attached a lead piece to sink into the water and connect to a string. fee. Dipping the bottle into the sea to get water, he scooped half a spoonful of flour into the plastic bottle and stirred it.

Loosening the reel, Mr. Phong threw the bottle into the sea, about six meters away, and waited. After a minute, he pulled the bottle up, replenished the bait, and threw it down. On the third pull, inside the bottle was a mullet the size of a big toe. “This species swims straight, every time the line is jerked, it knows that the fish is stuck with the bait, burying its head in the bottom of the bottle. The angler just needs to pull the bottle up without worrying about the fish coming out,” he explained.

About 15 years ago, Mr. Phong went down to the Han River to play, saw some Chinese people mixing flour into a plastic pipe, throwing it into the water and catching mullet. Curious, he went to try it, and one day he caught 10 kg of fish. Since then, many people have switched fishing rods to plastic bottles to catch mullet.

The mullet got stuck in the bottle and couldn’t get out. Photo: Ngoc Truong

Mullet is 12-30 cm long, round and flattened body, the largest one is about one kg, living in salt water and brackish water in estuaries. People in Da Nang often go to the mouth of the Han River and the mouths of fishing canals, most often in the Phu Loc canal because of the quiet waves. Depending on the season, they will choose the right bottle to keep the fish from escaping. Many anglers draw on experience, the water on the fish enters the canal a lot, the water is low, the fish goes to the sea, from which to look at the water to release bait.

As a retired railway employee, for the past three years, 62-year-old Nguyen Ngoc Anh has gone to the Phu Loc canal to fish mullet after helping his wife sell goods at Tan Chinh market. “This way of fishing does not cost money to buy rods, the bait is easy to mix and the best is clean. The fish in the bottle is poured directly into the bucket, without touching,” he said.

Looking at mullet fishing is simple, but in the early days Mr. Anh caught only a few fish. “I thought that if I cut the bottle, tie the string and release the bait, I would catch the fish, but it’s not. My bottle is too thick, the fish goes in to eat all the bait and then exits but still doesn’t know how to pull it up,” he said.

Every day mullet fisherman can catch about 5 kg, bring back to sell or prepare food for the family. Photo: Ngoc Truong

After a month of observing and learning from experience, Mr. Anh knew how to hold the reel so that it was straight, the plastic bottle must be both clear and thin so that the fish could see the flour and if the fish touched the wall of the bottle, the fisherman would feel. Every time he casts bait, Mr. Anh usually uses 50-60 seconds to pull up to change bait.

“Mules are easy to catch. In the season of many fish, usually in the 8th lunar month, each person can catch 5-6 kg of bait every time they throw the bait. But when the fish is small, only those with technical skills can catch it,” he said. Anh added. Many anglers sell mullets for about 50,000 VND/kg, but most bring it home to eat and give to relatives.($1=24,000 VND)

The January mullet is usually only about two fingers big. Small fish are often fried with ginger sauce, or braised rim, braised with sauerkraut. Fish can also be grilled with salt and pepper.

Photo: Internet (

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