Pole-and-line fishing is a common practice in Indonesia. The poles are prepared with hooks and colourful lures. The fishers take baitfish out into the open ocean, and chuck the bait into the water whilst the boat sprays water onto the ocean surface, a process called chumming. The chummer is one of the more experienced crewmen, their role is to use enough bait to attract a school of tuna but conserve the bait as it is a precious resource when out at sea.
The tuna are attracted to the bait and spray, which give the impression there is a shoal of prey in the area. The tuna are sent into a feeding frenzy, and the fishers lower their poles and hooks into the water to fish an individual tuna, which is released onto the deck of the boat and is immediately stored on ice to maintain freshness.
Check out our video ‘A day in the life of a pole-and-line tuna fisher, Indonesia’ below to see the process for yourself!