Written by Josh Newmark
Traversing Lake Nicaragua, local fishermen are a common sight, using a traditional method involving a net which is cast out in a circle and then pulled tight with a rope. Jicaro offers guests the opportunity to learn this style of fishing and give it a go out on the water.
We started on the floating deck, where Zelso and Jobert, two Jicaro staff members who grew up by the side of the lake, showed us the technique for casting the net.
After my first attempt I could see why it has been labelled an “art”: although the fishermen throw a perfect circle each time and make it look like the easiest thing in the world, it’s a tricky method to learn. You have to gather the rope in one hand, find the halfway point of the inside of the net with your other hand, and hold it open with your teeth! Then, in one movement, you twist your body as you cast the net outwards in a round motion so that, ostensibly, it should open up in a circle. However, it took a few attempts before we were able to get the net open at all, let alone in a circle!
Nonetheless, the Jicaro staff were patient and helpful and clearly enjoyed showing us this locally-developed skill. Once people had managed to catch a few fish from the floating deck (all the fish we caught were released back into the water straight away), it was time to take it up a notch, and we got onto the boat and traveled further out onto the lake to test ourselves some more. It was great to be able to try out this activity which is an integral part of the life of the local community, and it was very satisfying to be able to catch a fish using such a manual, skill-based method. It quickly became addictive trying to see who would get the biggest catch, and before we knew it, it was getting dark. Time to head back to the lodge, after a great couple of hours learning something completely new and unique. Just one of the many great cultural experiences you can sample at Jicaro.