The Kracken

Tara and I just got home from a trip to Vietnam.  It was my first proper vacation since visiting Korea last year.  We landed in Hanoi and drove north to beautiful Ha Long Bay for a two night cruise aboard the Paradise Luxury 4.

After dinner activities involved (more) drinking, a movie screening, sleep, or … squid fishing!!!  I don’t know why no one else found the last option irresistible but among the dozen or so passengers Tara and I were the only takers.  After dark the crew plugged in a large spotlight on the aft deck.  The bright light presumably attracted zooplankton which in turn attracted numerous small fish, including some very active flying fish.

The small fish attracted pods of elusive squid that would periodically dart through the glow of the light and then disappear again in the darkness.  There were several handpoles available, each with a bright-colored, weighted jig about two inches long.  Instead of hooks, the jigs had a dozen bent wire prongs on the bottom.  We stood on the deck and rhythmically jigged the lures up and down.  The squid hit just like fish but when removed from the water they sprayed ink everywhere.  The trick was to keep them at rods length while they expended the black goo without letting them wiggle free and escape back into the depths.

The unlucky cephalapods that were brought to hand were placed in a bucket with the rest of the nights catch (while all the guests were occupied with dinner it appeared that the crew had taken the opportunity to relax and catch some squid themselves).  I was disappointed that fresh squid did not appear on our menu the next day but I am certain that the crew must have enjoyed them thoroughly.

A squid boat at anchor. Note the row of large light bulbs hanging over the cabin. The bulbs are lit at night to attract squid.

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