Mt. Sasalaguam Guam Home Marianas Islands Pacific Worlds Home



The Sea

The Land





Seaside |  Beaches |  On the Reef |  Fishing |  Language |  Sources & Links
On the Reef


Reef flats

The terraced fringing reef just outside the pools at Inarajan.


"Here in Inarajan bay, you have different types of reef fishing,” Joe explains, “and it all depends on the location of where you’re going to fish."

Reef fishing is very prominent in Inarajan, involving a variety of methods in a variety of locations, focused on a few particular varieties of fish. “On the reef flats," Joe continues, "the types of fish that you can catch there are mostly the small reef fish: parrotfish, sergeant fish, rabbit fish, overgrown rabbit fish, and crabs, different crabs. But for that type of fish, you do that with gill net fishing, or a spear — not underwater spear fishing, but above-water spear fishing, where you go into the holes and spear the fish."



Earl Paulino

Earl Paulino watches for rabbit fish near Gef Pa'go.


“Rabbit fish come in — the small juvenile rabbit fish that come in — their season is in May-June-July," Joe remarks. "I remember summertime always doing that, rabbit fish fishing. Rabbit fish, or mañåhak, run in towards the side, feeding off from the coastline. They don’t come into the bay area. They go into the reef flats area. They are very good eating. There are two ways to cook them: you fry them, and that’s the best way to eat them; or you salt them and mix it with lemon, or tuba vinegar."

Earl Paulino is from Inarajan, and we met him fishing just behind Gef Pa'go. He explained, "The kind of fish here that I catch is the big rabbit fish, they call it hiteng. About eight inches long. I catch them with the throw net. They’re tricky, you just have to look carefully. Sometimes they stay on the bottom, sometimes they come up to the top and you can see them swimming around the rocks. They go about four or five in a group. They’re reef fish, and they like to hang around in murky water. Good for frying, coconut milk and all."


"I fish here, and I go rod-fishing too — we go down to the Bear Rock area. Nighttime is good for rod and reeling. Catch mafute’, tagåfi', and river fish. Mostly down Bear Rock area, towards Lada, along the coast. And then there’s the preservation area, where you can’t go fishing, down entering Merizo, down to Achang Bay.

"Mainly I just go on the side, reef fishing. I just go to the places where I throw-net or rod-fish. There are very few places now, because of the preservation. You know, to me that’s good too. That way, the younger generation can grow up and see what they do have here."


Throw net



"My father does fishing, my brother, mainly me, my oldest brother and my father. And my brother-in-law, he likes to go spear fishing, underwater, nighttime, evening time. Down past the pools, inside the reef. I haven’t tried diving outside yet, but swimming, yes. It’s nice underwater. Sometimes you see turtles out here in the bay, when you go throw-net out in the corner, you see them. About maybe a good two feet, two and a half feet long. They’re protected here, you don’t want to get caught with them. The old-time people used to eat it. I hear it’s good, but it’s not good when you get caught!"




Puteng fruits.


“Of course, further out of the bay, you go into more night fishing, spear fishing,” Joe adds, “which is much more contemporary." Bill agrees: “As an adult in junior high, I remember going out with spears. Spear fishing was introduced in the late 60s when the spear gun became available. But before that there was this thing called puteng.” This is a fish-poisoning tree. Bill explains:

“We’d gather together the fruits, and what we’d do is we’d smash them and we’d go when it’s during low tide, and we’d just throw it right into the water. And before you knew it, fish would start to die. I don’t know whether it has any affect to the human body or what, because I’m still alive, but it’s very potent. It helped us catch the fish."


"There are all kinds of fish, like for instance the kichu. That was a very common fish, kichu. It’s a type of fish that you see in abundance at a certain time, so you catch them with puteng. It was a common practice.

"Then it was outlawed, I remember, in the early 60s. Just be careful because somebody just might catch you, so after probably the early 70s, you don’t see much of that."


Adult Hå'tang Rabbit fish.
There are two varieties of juveniles, or
Mañåhak: Hå'tang is smaller, darker and rounder; as adults they become Sesyon. The second is called the Lesso' which is shinier, slender and light-colored. They become Hiteng.
Photo by Robert F. Myers



Inarajan is also known for seasonal mackerel runs. Continue on to hear about this traditional method of fishing.



Seaside |  Beaches |  On the Reef |  Fishing |  Language |  Sources & Links
Arrival |  A Native Place |  The Sea |  The Land |  Footprints |  Visitors |  Memories |  Onwards
Inarajan Home  |  Map Library |  Site Map |  Pacific Worlds Home