By Angel Nuñez
Besides the art of knitting gill nets, another dying art is that of the heart-shaped fish wire traps constructed along the coastline. In fact, San Pedro has gone from about 25 wire traps to about four or five at the most. For about one thousand dollars, you can build yourself a fish trap, which may yield three to four thousand dollars during one season. This all depends on the location, how hard you work your trap and of course your "good luck".
First get all your building materials to erect a brand new fish trap.
1 roll chicken wire - 4 feet wide for the tail
2. I roll chicken wire - 6 feet wide for heart
3. 200 poles - about 7 & 8 feet in length
4. 2 or 3 rolls tying wire.
5. A pair of pliers
Now select a good location for your trap. The entire length of the island is marked by small basins and points. Do not build at the basin but rather at the "points" because it allows for your trap to shoot farther out into the sea. Then you mark the area where the trap will be built. It takes the shape of a heart with a tail leading to the beach.
Poles are stuck into the ground and then the wire is rolled out against the poles. Next you stick another set of poles alongside the inner poles and you fasten them together with the tying wire.
Fish moving along the coast will meet with the tail of the trap. They will swim along the tail and enter the heart-shaped part or body of the trap. The heart shape is very important according to expert fishermen. Fish will swim along the wire and pass by the mouth or entrance without a thought of turning around and exiting.
A fisherman should check his trap every day. During the snapper season, September and October you may reap as much as 5 to 8 hundred pounds of snapper. You are liable to catch large barracudas, large groupers, grunts, shads, mullet, jacks or even turtles. Fish traps on good spots have been known to catch a quantity of lobsters. And do not be surprised when you visit your trap and you find one or two dolphins jumping in and out of your trap as they too enjoy a special treat of fresh fish.
Building a wire fish trap is an art. Checking them every morning is an exciting experience. Reaping them is a profitable business. But do check them every day, or somebody else will reap from your art.
Hats off and congratulations to our remaining fish trap artists like Wil Alamilla, Cesario Rivero, Arturo Lara, Florencio Sansorez, and Aldo Marin. Fish traps work well in front or in the lagoon area or west coast.
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