Philippine boys fishing with roots

Rice Field Fishing with Nets (and Roots!)


Walking past these kids, I couldn’t help but ask what they were up to.¬†They said they were “going fishing” but instead of a cane pole and some worms they were carrying tangled roots. This would require some investigation…

Turns out these roots are called tobli and if you pound them you can extract some juice. This tobli juice when put in the rice field ponds will slow down the fish enough to catch or will even kill them outright if you use enough. Good luck with your root fishing boys!

Later, I happened across this older farmer using a more familiar fishing method. ¬†Here he is sorting out his fishing net after bringing it out of a rice field pond…

Rice paddy net fishing on Siargao island.

Seeing my interest, he showed me a few of the small fry he was picking out of the net…

Rice paddy net fishing on Siargao island.

We had a chuckle together about how that would make for a small breakfast and then I ambled down the road a bit to look at some egrets…

Rice field egrets on Siargao island
These egrets of course are set on fishing too. They just use slightly different methods and have bills well-specialized to the task.

Just a minute or two later I heard the old farmer/fisherman calling me back to his nets; turns out he had caught something larger he wanted me to see…

Rice paddy net fishing on Siargao island.
Nice catch! Looks like some kind of catfish.

The catfish was still alive and flopped around the road a bit before I got this picture..

Rice paddy net fishing on Siargao island.

So whether it’s boys with roots, old men with nets or egrets with their pointed bills there’s lots of fishing activity in the Siargao rice fields these days.

Update: October, 2017.

Siargao rice field fishing
The morning catch: Sunday morning pond fishing in the #Siargao rice fields near Borawin. An eel and a (small) catfish seen with bamboo rods and some fish hooks

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