Fishing isn’t something I like to do often. I go fishing with my dad every now and then, but I mainly just lay on the boat to tan. Fishing takes a lot of patience to perform well and that’s not something I have much of. While in Fiji, we saw how Fijians had the same general idea of doing something but that looked completely different when executed. One of these things was fishing.
Fishing is huge part of Fijian culture seeing how it is a major food group for them. One of the careers within the island is being a fisherman. They view this title as extremely important and not for everyone. I got to talk to Api about being a fisherman and how one becomes one. He talked about how you must be chosen to be a fisherman, you don’t really choose it. Api said that there’s also skill in fishing. If two people go out and fish who do not know each other well and are not close, they will not catch many fish. If two people who are best friends go fishing, they’ll catch an enormous amount of fish. It’s as though the fish can sense the closeness of the two people and are drawn to their love for one another.
The Auburn students got a chance to go night fishing, and after being told that, I wondered how many fish we were going to catch. After being with each other for a few weeks all day every day we were all pretty close, but we were not the best friends in the entire world. I was going to be able to put the theory to the test. We loaded up the boat and headed out to the deep blue sea. We had six or seven people fishing off one boat so it was interesting to see everyone trying not to cross lines.
One thing that’s different about Fijian
fishing that we partook in is that we did not use actual rods and reels. Instead, we used empty plastic bottles and fishing line with a hook attached to the end. I had to bait the hook that was freshly caught that morning. Then I had to let out slack, sling the hook in a circle, and let it go in the direction I was aiming for. I ended up not being very good at the casting part, so I gave my line to Ollie and Kale to bait and cast. Then came the waiting game.
Waiting was actually really fun, because we just joked around and laughed while waiting for our lunch to get on the line. Nessie was the first one to get a fish and ended up catching a Barracuda! I caught one second and got a huge fish whose name is unknown to me. When I felt the fish on my line I told everyone I had one and started pulling it in. the problem was that this fish was too big for me to pull, and the line kept slipping through my hands. Do not worry though because Wati swept in like Wonder Woman to help me and pulled the fish in. After a while a few more were caught but not many. I guess that went along with the fish catching theory. We were not all extremely close so we did not catch all the fish in the sea, but we were all friends so we caught a few.
Fishing in Fiji is especially special because the fish we caught we got to skin, cook, and eat the next day. I was excited that I got to be a part of feeding my Auburn and Fijian family. The work that we had put in was being paid off through the smiling faces and gratefulness for the food. Fishing in Fiji may be different. They use different techniques, have different beliefs, but the overall outcome is the same. They catch fish and have fun doing it. It was an honor to experience something that is such a common activity in America and see how it can be done differently in other parts of the world. The way they do it is not wrong, it is just different.