Fishing Lore of Tobi. Peter W. Black 1968, 2017

How a Boy Learned to Fish on Tobi
Santos Horisan Manifaramau

How a Boy Learned to Fish in Olden Times

Each boy would learn from his father. Before the boy started the father would explain the different methods and the importance of going slowly and learning well so people would not speak badly of him. Also the father would explain that there were certain types of fishing—Tur (Night Fishing Method 14), Petchami (Day Fishing Method 16), Hairir (Day Fishing Method 33), Hasu ((Day Fishing Method 27), Hachaiho (Day Fishing Method 23)—which if a boy did not learn from his father, he could never try. These methods were only for certain families [not clans]. This holds true even today; if your father did not know how to fish Hachaiho and people see you doing it, they will embarrass you.

When the boy is about 7 years old, his father takes him fishing for the first time. They go to the reef at low tide, and find a hole about knee deep and 6 feet across. Usually all the boys will be at that hole or one near it. The fishing is done with a 3-foot pole, very thin line, and tiny Hapi Sehe (#6) or Fahum (#1) hook. This fishing is called Baur Ni Cheh and the boy will catch Richoh if he uses Umen (hermit crab) for bait. All the other boys will be doing this and will tease the new boy if he doesn’t catch many fish. After two or three months of this, he can go to Baur Hari, which is the same except that Hari are a little bigger than Richoh. He does these two types for two years, then he can start in a canoe doing simple fishing near the reef with his father nearby. At this time, Man Waru Hoch (Day Fishing Method 15), Hamaneningat (Day Fishing Method 37), and similar types are learned. This phase lasts from his 9th year to his 15th year, then he can start easy night fishing like Hapeh Hapeh (Night Fishing Method 1), Haheh (Night Fishing Method 2), Firong (Day Fishing Method 18). When he is about 20 he can try the casting net and Tur (Night Fishing Method 14), and from 25-30 he starts on the difficult types of fishing like Fen (Day Fishing Method 21).

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Updated: January 19, 2017