HOW NATIVES ONCE FISHED
Women Got the Octopus With Spears.
The Hawaiians have five methods of fishing: by spearing, hand catching, baskets, hook and line, and with nets.
The Ia O is the spearing of fish and is of two kinds, below and above water. That below water is the most important, and is generally employed for the different kinds of rock fish. The spear used by the diver is a slender stick of from 6 to 7 feet in length made of very hard wood and sharply pointed at one end, but more tapering at the other. Since the possession of iron, spears are always tipped with it, but perfectly smooth, without hook or barb. Diving to a well-known station by a large coral rock or against the steep face of the reefs, the diver places himself in a half crouching position on his left foot, with his right foot free and extended behind, his left hand holding on to the rock to steady himself, watches and waits for the fish. Fish in only two positions are noticed by him, those passing before and parallel to him, and those coming straight towards his face. he always aims a little in advance, as, by the time the fish is struck, its motion has carried it so far forward that it will be hit on the gills or middle of the body and thus secured, but if the spear were aimed at the body it would be very apt to hit the tail, or pass behind. When the fish is hit, the force of the blow generally carries the spear right through to the hand, thus bringing the fish up to the lower part or handle of the spear, where it remains whilst the fisherman strikes rapidly at other fish in succession should they come in a huakai (train) as they usually do. Continue reading