The first way that I observed was by spreading a long net out in the water. Then the children and teenagers would ‘pait’ (hit) the water either by jumping up and down or literally slapping the water starting from the shore and ending at the net to scare the fish right into their net.
The second way was with a homemade spear gun. Guns in Papua New Guinea are illegal for anyone except the police, so this spear gun was handmade with some wood, a spear, some plastic tubing, and a rubber band. They would either stand on a rock or ride in a boat to shoot the fish.
My favorite way to fish was with a pangal. This device was made out of a bamboo rod, fishing line, and a hook (like a fishing rod). We’d collect hermit crabs, crack their shells, and use them as bait at the end of the line. Then we’d stand either on rocks off the shore, or in the water about waist deep continually throwing our lines out into the water and watching carefully for any fish that nibble. I never caught any fish this way, but I did catch a crab!
Fish was a large part of my village family’s diet. One night I had the opportunity to watch the Jesus film in Tok Pisin with my village family. There was a lot that they didn’t fully understand, but when it came to Luke 5 (Peter catching a large number of fish because of Jesus’ instruction and his call to be a fisher of men) they were transfixed. It is amazing how in every culture and in every place around the world, God has created a way to make Him known.