Into the swamps with Hanoi's eel king

By Ngoc Thanh   July 26, 2017 | 03:36 pm GMT+7

A military career left this man with a skill you might not expect.

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For more than two decades, Nguyen Cao Son, 54, has been wading through the fields and swamps outside Hanoi on the hunt for eels.

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“I was in the military in the 1980s and I learned how to fish for eels from my commander. It's been a way of life since I left the forces,” Son said.

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Every day, Son leaves home with a stick, a reel of catgut attached to a hook, a bucket and bait. On a normal day, he catches several kilos of eels, but that rise into double figures when his luck's in.

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He uses tiny shrimp or worms as bait, and sells the eels he catces for VND100,000 ($4.4) per kilo.

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He baits his line and holds the catgut tight. “It’s easy to fool eels because they’re suckers for food,” he said.

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When he finds an eel hole, Son stamps his feet and stabs the stick deep into the area around hole.

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If bubbles appear, there are eels in the hole, so he starts shaping the ground and setting his trap.

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An eel rising from its hole. Sometimes Son waits for hours for the eels to appear.

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Son goes fishing twice a day, from early morning to 9 a.m. before starting the evening shift at 5 p.m. The more humid it gets, the more eels he can catch.

Tags: Vietnam Hanoi eel