I’ve always wanted to go out on a traditional Mediterranean fishing boat to see how they lay the nets
More interestingly, I also wanted to see what comes up when they pull the nets in
I’ve always wondered how many fish come up? And what kind of fish do they pull up? Do they keep them all or throw some back? I’ve also wondered how the nets actually work.
Watch this video and you’ll see the whole start to finish fishing net process
You’ll also see some amazing sea creatures – an octopus, flying fish, jelly fish, a very dangerous fish, stingray and the ‘Common Torpedo,’ a fish that gives off an electric shock.
See what happens when our host fisherman gets zapped aboard the traditional Sicilian Fishing boat!
After you’re done watching the video, read below for the full story. And just a couple notes: You might get seasick watching this video – It was very hard to gain any sort of stability so you’ll see that the footage is all over the place. Furthermore, I was too scared to bring my 35mm camera so the photo’s are not very good. I took everything on my iPhone and the light was not good. That being said, I hope you can at least get an appreciation for our amazing trip 🙂
Being a sailor, we always give fishing boats and nets a wide berth
The last thing a boater wants is a net caught in a prop. In fact, while sailing our last boat out of Portsmouth Harbor, we experienced a fishing net caught in the prop first hand! It prevented us from using our engine – we lost control in one of the busiest harbors in the world. Read this for the full story: Experiencing engine failure and living to tell the tale
On the flip side, however, fishing nets are good thing – how else would we be able to taste the amazing variety of fish and seafood without them?
My dear friend, Mark Roope, from a neighboring sailboat, Cygnus III, mentioned that he wanted to go out with one of the fishermen from the Marina. At Marina di Ragusa there’s a whole row of traditional fishing boats that exit and enter the marina throughout the day and night.
Fortunate for Mark and I, his lovely wife Angelina loves to make friends with everyone
Knowing the son of one of the fishermen, she did her magic.
Around 1pm on the 17th of November, I heard Angelia yelling out “Kim” from the jetty through to my companionway. I jumped up on deck and exchanged our usual pleasantries. Then Angelina explained, “I’ve arranged for you and Mark to go out on a fishing boat today – is 4pm okay to lay the nets? And then tomorrow at 6am to pull up the nets?”
My head started to search for excuses – my immediate reaction was fear
I’m afraid of everything! One on hand I wanted to go out and on the other I worried about getting seasick, being unable to cope and the dreadfully simple fear of the unknown.
Without letting myself think too much, I responded with a ‘Yes – as long as Mark is going!’
I figured that if it all went bad and I was laying on the deck puking, I could at least have him affix a seasickness patch behind my ear and make sure I was returned to land.
For the few hours I had to wait I just kept telling myself to think of something else. An hour before the trip, I pulled out all my wet weather gear, a life jacket, and filled my backpack with crackers, seasickness pills and patches.
I also filled a hot water bottle just in case it got really cold
When Mark met me at the end of my boat to collect me, I didn’t feel too overdressed. He had his wet weather gear on too! When we saw the fishermen, Horatio and his son, Lorenzo, we then however realized that we perhaps overdressed. The two men were in t-shirts! They must have looked at us and thought we were hitching a ride to the North Pole.
The first trip out was incredible
We went out for no more than a couple hours. Horatio looked for fish on the fish finder and then decided to start laying the net. On board there were two separate nets. I believe that one was for small fish and the other was for larger fish.
As you’ll notice on the video the fishing net is simply fed out the back of the boat
We seemed to go in a moderately straight line. Once one net was out, Horatio chose another location and let out the second net.
When all the net was out, we went back to the marina to wait until the following day when the net would be pulled up.
Horatio and his son were so kind. They showed us everything that we pointed at or presented an interest in. Fortunately, Horatio did speak a lot more English than Mark and I could speak Italian so we did enjoy a few laughs.
I’m so much more comfortable with charades these days – if I can’t speak it, I act it out
The next morning at 6am, Mark and I climbed aboard the fishing boat once again to see the second phase of net fishing. I was so excited – the anticipation of what might be in the nets caused me to feel like a little kid.
Furthermore, it was my 40th birthday so I couldn’t think of anything more memorable to do on the special date
The net gets pulled back onto the boat by using a circular contraption to wind them onboard. For a few minutes nothing came up and then I saw a tiny fish. I started to think that there wasn’t going to be anything but soon after another fish appeared and then all sorts of things started to come up.
I assumed we would catch just fish but up came octopus’s, crabs, conch sells, starfish and jelly fish. The fish that surprised me the most was the sea creature called a ‘Common Torpedo.’ As shown on the video this creature electrocutes you if you touch any one of the black spots on it’s back.
Horatio got zapped and then he tried to get me to touch a black spot
I really wanted to do it but chickened out. I did, however, touch the creature and it felt soft and mushy. For some reason the fishermen kept it off to the side rather than putting it in with the other fish. I notice that Mark kept eyeing the Common Torpedo. I’m totally speculating on Marks thoughts but his body language looked as if he was having an internal dilemma over touching the fish.
I think Mark really wanted to man-up and get a zapp but he just couldn’t bring himself to even touch the mushy creature
After all the nets were pulled in and things were tidied up, the boat headed back for the marina. They fishermen pulled up around 30 fish, six calamari, a couple octopuses and range of crustaceans.
Overall, the experience was absolutely amazing. It was great to have my friend, Mark, with me – we tried our best to figure things out and have a joke and a giggle. If you haven’t met Mark from Cygnus III, he’s hysterical. Mark has a great blog and his write up about our adventure will make anyone laugh out loud. Read it here: Mark and Kim’s Bogus Fishing Journey
And Horatio and Lorenzo were so accommodating
Every fish that they pulled up was put on momentary display for our cameras. Once again, I couldn’t help but feel extreme gratitude for the incredible events of my life.
Check Out Some Other Areas In Sicily & The Mediterranian
If you’d like a good summary of our time in Sicily, read Visiting Sicily. And if you’d like a breakdown of all the places we’ve visited while sailing the Mediterranean please read our destination overview: Sailing The Mediterranean. Otherwise, check out more posts about our time spent in Sicily.
- Malta to Sicily
- 12 Day Trips To Take In Sicily
- Marina di Ragusa Review
- Sailing To Catania
- Riposto Marina Review
- Taormina Bay
- Sailing Around Stromboli
- Salina Island
- Sicily to Corfu