Peculiarities of Fishing in Sućuraj

Lov na tršiku (fishing with reed)

Fishing with “tršika” involves the use of a reed pole (locally known as “tršika,” Latin: Phragmites australis), to the top of which a rope with a hook is attached. This very rudimentary fishing tool yields excellent results when used on the southern shores of Sućuraj and its surroundings, under favourable meteorological conditions, which in this case means a southeast wind, known as “jugo.” Although not the only target, the most popular catch for “tršika” fishing in Sućuraj is the giant goby (Latin: Gobius cobitis), known as “fortunjak,” which during the “jugo” wind retreats into crevices near the shore. Fishermen try to lure it out by lowering the “tršika” with bait from the shore into the vicinity of the crevices and cracks. Successful fishing requires a good knowledge of the local terrain.

Reeds were harvested at several locations in the area (around 7 locations) and at 4 locations outside the settlement. Crab Pagurus bernhardus, which inhabits the abandoned shells of marine snails, marine worm (Latin: Polychaeta), Eupagurus bernhardus, snail Viviparus viviparus, or patella were used as bait. “Eška” (bait) was also captured using adapted “tršika,” which, in this case, did not have a hook but a split at the top. This split would be used like tongs to gather snails from the seabed. The fisherman would carry a small basket called “krtol” containing the necessary tools (split, spare hooks, lead, a small hammer for breaking snail shells) and the caught fish. Sometimes, the caught fish would also be carried “on a string,” meaning they would be strung on a branch of myrtle or another shrub.

Lov pod mačinu (fishing with a“sword”)

A fishing method that is attested to in some other Dalmatian places but has mostly been abandoned in the context of the island of Hvar and its surroundings, except in Sućuraj, where it was practised until the 1980s, which is why there is still a living memory of this ancient type of fishing.

Fishing with a “sword” was conducted at night using artificial light. The equipment for fishing included a “mačina,” a tool resembling a blunt sword with a tip curved upwards and a light source that changed over time. In the beginning, it was likely a burning pine branch on a small torch, and later, acetylene lamps (locally known as “garbitače”) or other local innovations were used. For example, the older generation of Sućuraj residents still remembers a shoemaker named Franko Prizmić, who, in the 1960s, used scraps from rubber shoe soles, which he burned on an iron stand for “mačina” fishing. This fishing technique was popular due to the terrain configuration, as there are shallows along the coast around the settlement (from Mlaska in the north to Židigova in the south), where fish would gather in shallow lagoons and rest at night. Fishermen would search for and attract fish with light, and when the fish approached, they would quickly extinguish the light and strike the water with “mačina” later collecting the catch. Fishermen also carried small spear or tied a fork to a short stick in case they couldn’t reach the fish with “mačina” due to the depth. The most common catch was mullet, which was found in schools in shallow waters, but other species found in the shallows were also caught.

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