Before I started kindergarten, I was trained on how to do fishing first, involved many types. The first one is fish net casting throwing, the idea is to cast the net in a way that will spread the net evenly in a circle, the net will then sink down and blocked all the fishes and whatever living things down there from escaping, then slowly pull the net up and fishes and shrimps and whatever will get caught into a pocket of the net. Back then I practiced by throwing the net on land first, then do it in the water. I remembered my first one I caught a few small fishes and shrimps and the casting wasn’t perfect at all, I guess back then fish and shrimps are still plenty but now a day they all died due to the chemical use to grow rice in a big field. One scary moment that I encountered was pulling up a water snake and I thought it was an eel or “Ca Loc” before knowing it was a snake I actually jump down the water and started to grab it prevent it from escaping, it was scary, my heart was pounding, people told me some snake are poisionous and deadly that why I was scare. Sometime we gather in a large group and take an hour trip walking to a big farm field to catch fish and shrimps, it was fun and put food on the table for our family, we’re peasants.
There was even a myth, I don’t think it’s true but been spreading at the time, some good fish like “Ca Loc” a really big one someone caught it but it disappeared from their bucket and they know for sure it was there and with them at all time, no way it can escape, they call it “ghost fish” “Ca Loc ma”. There are also time where we went to other people’s farm land and try to catch fishes there they came out and chase after us with a big knife as big as a sword. I remember my cousin “anh Phi” he ran to my uncle nearby house and asked to borrow an ax and ran chase after the man with knife, off course the man with the knife ran home, I thought it was funny and daring actually at the time, we tried to catch fishes at other people’s land and threaten with an ax.
Crabbing was one of my todo for the family, it’s seasonal though, only when salt water mixed up with fresh water in greater amount where the crab will start migrating into our backyard creek. The technique of catching crab during this time was basically go hunt for a water snake or any snake safe to hunt, then chop it into segments of about 4 – 6 inches and make a ring from a coat hanger loop ring about 12-16 inches, then attach a strong string to a rod of about 3-5 feet, it doesn’t have to be long, and simply leave under water 12 inches or more from the water surface then wait for a bite and pull it up put in a bucket.
There are many other ways of fishing and shrimping. Summer time we catch “Ca Ro” from dried rice field, it’s usually underneath the dry mud. When it’s rainy, it’s the best time to do fishing.
When I was about 7 years old or so, my grandpa gave me a small pond trying to get some fishes. I believe it was about 300 feet by 50 feet, basically I created about 4 poles of fish home with bag of cooked rice let water get in, build a dam after water got in from high tide. The dam consist of a couple plugged bamboo tube tunnel which later use to drain the water out to catch the fish.
One interesting fish of all is “Ca Tra” this kind of fish look like a shark, but they eat human waste and water grass, back in the old days each houses in my country side have a pond where also serve as a toilet, basically you pee and poop down the pond from a private little hut builf 20 feet out to the pond and about 10-20 feet from the pond water surface, it has a hole about the size of standard American toilet except you don’t sit on it but you sit down with your two feet on it. Now a day I believe these fish “Ca Tra” are being raise properly eating just rice and rice and wheat. This are good to eat as “Canh Chua” and “Ca Kho To”