tips and tricks on diving for fish

Discussion in 'Diving, Collecting and Environmental Discussions' started by magman, 25 Apr 2012.

  1. magman

    magman

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    There is nothing nicer than diving and collecting fish for your tank, I would rather pay R1000 in diesal to drive and catch a goldie, than pay R100 for one at a lfs,

    Fish you have caught always have the most place in your heart. So with long weekends etc coming, I thought I would post some tips for the guys who don't get to the coast much, or collect fish much.

    Finding the fish
    Finding the fish is the first task, knowing where and how to look, and then like everything else in the reefing hobby, patience and taking your time is a must.
    Sometimes I take friends diving with, they zoom off looking in the distance, andthey whinge that there is nothing in the area, only to be amazed at what you caught in 10m of reef, simply because they not looking properly. You have to take your time and search every nook and cranny, under ledges, dive down and let your eyes focus into the back of the cave, it’s all about being relaxed, and taking your time. When I dive my favourite is I usually hunt around the edges/cliffs of the reefs, and look for cracks, overhangs, or any breaks in the reef, I have found that this holds the best fish, especially when the juvies are here, from Dec-April. If I am targeting wrasse, I usually look on the bottom, between rocks, if you approaching a reef, then look ahead and approach it slowly, as some shy fish will hide as you approach. Just stay relaxed and enjoy the dive, unless you just targeting one fish.

    Secondly there is different ways to catch different kinds of fish, some will bolt straight into their hole in the reef and need to be chased out, some need to be cornered between nets, some you just chase and scoop, but either way, a bit of patience and you should catch them.

    Most of the fish species will have a hole that they will dash into when you get too close, fish like your triggers, goldies, damsels, chromies, some of the surgeons (I think more the bristletooths though), others like convicts will go under a rock and park there. If they in a small hole, try with a thick heavy duty cable tie to tease them out, try not to put anything in that is too hard, because like triggers they will not move for anything, and you end up hurting the fish. If a fish wont move, I use the back shaft of my other net, and feeling the rock, I gently try and pry the fish out. Some cracks are long and you can get the shaft of a second net in and to the back of the crack and then you can push the fish out into your waiting net. Juvie angels are always found in cracks, little caves in the reef, here I usually bend a net to fit, lay the net on the bottom of the crack, then with shaft of the other net, I try and herd it above the catching net.

    If the fish have rocks they hide under, or you got it between rocks, you can corner them, and this is much easier. Take your two nets, and slowly approach the fish, when you see the fish wanting to try and bolt, slow down, it is about patience, make sure your nets are covering as much escape route as possible, and try and use one net to herd the fish into the other net, if the fish is cornered lakka, this is a lakka feeling. Sometimes give the one net a shake, and chase it into the other, but slowly try and close the two nets onto each other.

    Some of the fish, especially adults or fish like idols, I just chase, till they tired, then you can usually corner them like this, try and herd them down or between rocks where you want. Some fish, you may want to try and slowly herd away from their holes, then chase them, or corner them, this is especially effective if you can get inquisitive fish like goldies away from their little hole.

    Once you got the fish in net, you want to be careful it does not swim out the top, it is amazing how fast some fish can bolt, as you get it in the net, try and pull the fish in towards the bottom of the net by dragging the net hard in the water, if the fish is trying to swim out the top, push the net up and over then down, so the bottom of the net is now up, careful again, because now the fish may want to swim down again out the net, once you got it in deep enough though, you want to twist the net 90degs, so that it locks back on it’s self, then it is caught.

    For me, it is the pleasure of catching a fish, keeping and caring for it, and you will always remember where and when you caught it. In this regards, always try and know what you catching, if it is compatible in your tank. I wonder how many fish ID’s there are of newbies catching those brown spot damsels that look like neon tetras, but I guess all fish collectors have to at least catch one juvie brown spot damsel. I would still rather spend R1000 in diesel to catch one goldie, than to spend R150 on it in an LFS.

    Here is a list of the equipment you will need,

    Nets,
    I usually make my own nets, I still use the kiddies rock pool ones if I am too lazy to stitch my personal nets, but even the kiddies rock pool nets work fine if you can get the fish in the right place. Colours don’t make that much difference, the plastic one’s are nice, but do add drag. I have found preferably you want one net bigger than the other, but at the same time I sometimes always wish I had bought two smaller nets, or two bigger nets, there is always an excuse. I have tried diving with a bigger net, and on the other end a smaller net on the same net, but then this adds too much drag in currents, it makes you slow when you have to twist a net, and is maybe just too much luggage. Maybe one bigger net, to cover holes, and a smaller to fit in caves is probably the safest bet to go. Also if your net is too deep, it can play havoc in the currents, there is nothing worse than you about to catch a fish, and the surge blows the back of the net around the front.

    Fence nets,
    Basically a cast net with half the weights cut off, and then coke battles attached as floats to lift it as a barrier, I have only used this a few times, but only for bigger adult fish. It was always a pain though, as you have to be careful of the fish’s gills when they caught.
    [​IMG]



    Bottles,
    I have got some friends who only use coke bottles, and a little flasher, I sometimes take them, especially if I’m after flies, but will always carry nets, and I usually end up just losing the coke bottles, and end up sticking to the nets, again you sometimes wish you had a bottle, I would say just personal preference.



    [​IMG]


    Other equipment
    Gloves
    I use these spearing gloves for diving, I would say they are a must, sometimes if you diving in heavy surges, you need it to grab and hold onto a rock, you sticking your hands into caves, you sometimes use your hands to hold down on the reef, basically you want and need your hands covered. I use these grey spearing ones, they are a few hundred bucks, but they are very thin and offer lots of movement and comfort, but especially they even offer lots of protection from catching bugs/crays

    Catch Bottles
    I use these smaller one's on me, I just tuck them into my wetsuit, or the 2l ones for bigger fish attached to my dive buoy,


    [​IMG]


    Fins and weight belts
    I just use these spearing fins as I sometimes dive in heavy surges and currents during springs, but they will cramp your calves in 5 minutes if you not used to them, otherwise any standard fins will work, just make sure they fit properly and are comfortable. Weight belts, I just gooi the lead on, as I prefer a negative buoyancy when collecting, there is nothing worse than cornering a fish, and your body starts drifting up,


    [​IMG]

    Goggles and snorkels
    Again I just use my spearing one’s, all my diving is freediving, and usually you want as little space as possible, if you scuba, then I would presume the bigger goggles are fine. When you first buy a pair of goggles, take the inside of the lenses, and rub it full of tooth paste, this will help prevent the manufacturers chemicals and oils from fogging up the glasses, just spit and rinse them every time you dive then. Snorkels, I don’t like those purge valve one’s, sometimes they block, and you choke, sometimes they don’t last, I just use snorkels I have used for ages, just make sure the mouth piece is comfy, or you can hurt your lips.

    Transporting
    Other guys worry about heaters etc, for me and what works for me, when one the road I just chuck the fish in a 50lt drum, if you catching over a few days, just do a water change every so often, overnight a small battery air pump, and the fish are fine. Obviously be careful mixing species etc, like lions with cardinals etc, don’t put too many zoas in with fish, or those conch/cowrie snails, as they release a poison, and all the fish are dead, I am actually sure those conch/cowrie snails are illegal to collect anyway
     
    Broder, ken and viper357 like this.
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  3. Gesiggie

    Gesiggie Challenge accepted

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    Excellent write-up magman...some good tips. Thanks.

    Although, I do think that step 1 should be research. Think about what you are looking for, what your tank kan handle, and make sure you can identify that fish in all various stages of growth.

    That would eliminate having to first bring up the fish, ID it, then let it go again if need be...

    My 2c...
     
  4. fila

    fila

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    @magman 1 question that plastic net of yours, what plastic do you use to make it? I've been looking everywhere to try and find the name of it as I want to construct a net for myself I feet its better than buying 1
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  5. Mc

    Mc

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    Great write up. I would love to come diving with you if it wasn't so far.
    A good idea is to have a book something like two oceans, so that you can ID the stuff and put it back if it isn't suitable.
     
  6. Lord_Blackadder

    Lord_Blackadder

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    Cool write up, dude.

    I'm with Gesiggie here...know what you're catching. Probably about 90% of noobs I see are catching unsuitable fish. Either super aggressive, juveniles of something huge, juveniles of something that gets ugly, nearly impossible to keep fish, etc. I can't stress enough how important it is to get a good book. I recommend this one:

    http://www.kalahari.com/books/Coral-Reef-Fishes-Indo-Pacific-and-Caribbean/632/18514450.aspx

    It's got illustrations not pretty photos, but it's unbelievably comprehensive. Once you narrow down your catch in here then you can always look for more pics on Fishbase.org or something similar to confirm. The book has 2118 species + male/female and juvenile colours.

    Two Oceans is quite good for inverts and macroalgae, but its fish section is useless.
     
  7. Mc

    Mc

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    I will definately have to get that book sometime.
     
  8. Tremayn

    Tremayn

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    thanks for the awesome write up! :)
     
  9. AfricaOffroad

    AfricaOffroad

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    Buy the stuff they cover taxi seats with.
     
  10. brentv

    brentv

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    The Clear PVC plastic is good for goldies!
    Most other fish will go easier into a darker colour fine mesh net.
    If the hearding technique is done properly.
    Remember don't try scoop the fish guys, let the fish try actually escape or be cornered into the net;)

    For pond hopping it's easy to use a PVC and Mesh cray bag with a couple of clear plastic containers with screw on lids dropped in the bag around your waist.
    The longer the container the less likely a fish already caught is going to escape when you are putting another in!

    When pon hopping in shallow water it's easier having catch bottles with no holes and do frequent water changes in containers, coz you are horizontal most of the time and water does drain out leaving specimens high and dry, especially clambering up and over rocks the whole time.
    But you will want ones with lots of small holes near the top if you are going to be diving open water and/or scuba diving.

    The fly traps work well for deep water catching as they fold up small before use in your cray bag then you can take it out and attach to your dive kit, very easy to scoop fish from your net into these without having to open and close container all the time
     
  11. fila

    fila

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    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  12. Broder

    Broder Mudshark

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    Nice write up Dragfan. Thanks.
     
  13. SteveZi

    SteveZi

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    I was watching some old Jacques Cousteau movies the other night and specifically one scene where they caught tropicals for an aquarium - the fish were kept in plastic bags underwater and before long a whole bunch of predators were slamming into the bags.
    It was also disturbing to see how many fish/sealife were killed in the "old" days by these guys - nevertheless awesome movies to watch and more entertaining than most stuff, even today.

    All I want to add is to use a container that will keep the temperature constant (when travelling etc) - most fish die in transit or overnight due to temp fluctuations.
     
  14. brentv

    brentv

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    Haa haa.. I remember those guys catching.. entertaining! Yuri has Vids of guy catching hectic deep rare specimens, maybe ask him to post on here they have some weird techniques too!!!
    Use cooler box, heb cooler, polystyrene containers if you gonna keep them in for more than a day:)
     
    Last edited: 26 Apr 2012
  15. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

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    Agreed, great satisfaction to see and catch your own stuff. One appreciates to more.

    Lots of bottles are needed afterwards.

    Yum Yum yellow fins are a must to attract the Johnny's. :eek:

    Calling a mask, Goggles is a big round of drinks bud. You can buy us all at AquariumExpo2012

    Great post bud
     
    Last edited: 26 Apr 2012
  16. Broder

    Broder Mudshark

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    He'll be bringing lots of
    [​IMG]
    The yum yum yellow fins have long been replaced by
    [​IMG]
     
  17. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

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    And serve them at Hooters. :biggrin:

    You going to make it to the expo bud?
     
    Last edited: 26 Apr 2012
  18. magman

    magman Thread Starter

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    I buy it from a fabric shop called waste centre, they have a few branches in Natal,

    I did think of that, but thought I would rather keep it to catching only,

    thanks bud

    shot bud, I will answer your pm later,

    pleasure my bud, hope it helps!!!!!

    Let me know about next weekend,

    bud, I agree 100%, I much prefer the black one's, the plastic is like pushing a jojo drum against the tide, the only thing is the black don't last long, and mine take me like 5hours each to make, sowing with fishing line etc, I think the next ones I make, I will put a stream of the plastic around the wire, just to protect the black mesh against the wire and the rocks in caves etc. Also a cable tie running on the inside, almost as a rib, to stop surges from blowing it back and forth.

    thanks bud, learn it off by heart and hopefully you and dreadlock can catch something better than a seargant major:thumbup:


    lol, it's what you sodwana bubble blowers call them, the spearo's call them masks, and also fins, I am sure if I ever said flippers to another spearo, I would end up with a spear as a tail!!!!
     
  19. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

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    Goggles might get you something else in thr tail...:thumbup1:
     
  20. magman

    magman Thread Starter

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    I should of said in my first post, but the shafts for my nets, I use the shafts you get with tents, I have found they the best, they also great for building pinnicles for the aqua scaping
     
  21. conor

    conor

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    To Magma

    Please tell me where you got that material i have benn told most fish can`t see it i nwas in durbs a month a go and i got two magnificent tobies and in mozambique i ncaught a boxer shrimp,coacmen and a racoon and theardfin butterflies so please tell me where you got that material from:thumbup::yeahdude::whistling::lol::):P:tt2::eek::biggrin:thanks
     
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