Introduction: How to Hunt and Dig Out Octopus
My friend TimAnderson in his istructable https://www.instructables.com/id/ClutchFingerKnife/ reminded to me with his knife the summers where i go octopus hunting and he suggest me to do this instructable so I dedicate it to Tim.
In Mediterranian sea we love everything that is coming from sea. The sea is our life. I swim everyday for 4-5 hours and i have many activities than a sumple swiming. I love fishing and me and my family we eat all the "fruits" of sea. But far more we adore octopus. Why? Are delicious when are grilled but can be cooked by several ways (stew, conservated in vinegar and garlic etc).
Zac Kousto said that otopus are the cats of the deep sea and is true. When i meet a new baby octopus i can touch them, are innocent without fear of man, and are coming when u swim and play in your feet like cats do. And when you touch them smooth they close teir big eyes like cats do. So now we have a rule. WE DONT TOUCH BABY OCTOPUS WITH A HUNGER WAY. NO NO NO!!. Besides doesn't worths because the real hunting is an adventure for real man. I hunt octopus since my childhood and always with just a knife and bare hands. No weapons, no harpoon nothing.
OK dudes lets start the course...wear your gogles sharp your long knife and go...
Step 1: Some Knowledge Base
There are many species of octopus. We hunt the type of the photo below. DON'T try to hunt any other type. Some fluorescent skin octopus have lethal poison. Thank God in our seas we don't have them. They live in tropical waters in Australia, in Indonesia etc.
Now the Octopus they can change easily their color skin according to their enviroment. But generally have the color of the first pic common Octopus Vulgaris. Where they live? Nice question!. They are cosmopolitans they live everywhere and with their flexible body can fit everywhere. In beer botles, in deep rock holes, in any available well protected space.
Now a secret. Mom octopus lives is open waters up to 150 meter deep but she is giving birth of some thousant (~200.00) of eggs in calm waters of the littoral zone in any available space ( they adore the bottles adn the tires because are well protected). From the 200000 they grown up some 200 and they develop to a grown up octopus just 20. They live for 12 to 24 monts. The better season for hunting is during August and Octomber. The mom octopus during the first period of her baby life are very dangerous and avoid them. Also don't hunt the mother beause u will accelerate the vanish of the babies.
Step 2: Real Hunting
Now with your gogles try to separate the different colors in rocky area in the coast. This is very basic. Because octopus are around you and you don't know how to recognize them. So give yourself some time to recognize even the smoother difference of the colors. Now swim in all the rocky coast (u need rocks to meet ocotpus because they avoid the sand and the algae areas) NO ROCKS NO OCTOPUS!!!
Now look in the rocky areas for holes, even deep even sallow and try to watch inside them. Usually the Octopus is in these holes forming its body a circle. But u will see a red-rose color with the cups in ping then u r in. Now don't get excited and scare your victim. Be sure that is big enough and has at least 30cm long feet because then u broke the ruleof babes octopus. Never look the octopus on its eyes. They have huge memory and their eyes gonna remember you for ever. Also don't try to pull the octopus out of the hole. If is small ok but if is big has extra power and is trying to appart your hand from shoulders!!!. Remember is a wilde animal. The better way after u find it is to give him some space. Watch it but from distance. Also take some fresh fishes or crabs and feed it. In that way is starts to loose his focus on u and loose his attention and some times gets out of the hole. Give him some space again and try o swim in distance. Always the octopus when they go out of the nest are going somewhere near to cover and they attach to some rocks but u can easily watch them. Now is your chance. Circle the victim and come above him with his head in the direction of your body. Now u are sure he can't see. Like the photo below the victim has a small blind area.Now take your knife (wich must have all long about 50cm) and nail it at his head area.
The octopus as reaction to that start to twist his legs to the blade and drops also ink. If your nail was strong don't warry you will not loose your victim. If not, because of his ink dropin produce some istantly push of his body in the water (like jet engine)try immediately after your nail to hold it nailed. Now if u are in deep water go calm in sallow area and then take the capsula of his head and turn it inside out. In that way the octopus gets suffocation and paralyse. But is still active.
Avoid his teeth are like the parrots mouth and is very painful. Octopus has the bad habbit to twist in your arm and their aim is to twist on your neck and kill u. In Greece some years ago we had some deaths of kids from that reason.
After some minutes the octopus is dead under suffication. Now take your knife and cut the ink glans, the eyes and the teeth and the intestinal organs. clean it out . Almost done because the octopus cannot be eaten like this. U have to beat it some times to get softener else is like the sole of your shoes.
Choose a rock not sharp but smooth and beat it strongly for 5 to 10 times and then take some sea water and on the rocky surface twist the octopus like when u do with a mop. If gets out some white bubbles is ok. Another test is the following, touch the suck cups if they works needs more if not is ok....
Now u have an octopus to cook!!!
Step 3: How to Cook Octopus
When u cook octopus there are 3 unbroken rules.
1 Never add water to your food. Octopus is full of water and gets out during the cooking
2 Never add salt. If u add then your food is too salty.
3 No matter what way of cooking u choose use a mixture of vinegar and wiane 2:1 to get softener the meal.
In Greece we cook it in grill or in cacerole like stew or in tomato sause with spaggeti, In inslands they cook it after some days drained to sun. Then they grill it in open fire and is served with lemon and vinegar (3:1) Is yiammy. look here:
I hope helped u with this instructable. U will need time and some strength, no expenses and the result gonna fix your dinner. From me Just respect the sea and have bon appetite!!!