How to Hunt and Dig Out Octopus




About: I like to invent and modify things. When i was 13 i fixed my dad's old Lancia Fulvia motor. I builded my first mod PC in 1991 using a mobo builded in a VCR box. I am first using all my inventions. I love eve...

My friend TimAnderson in his istructable 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!!!



    • Paper Contest

      Paper Contest
    • Sweet Treats Challenge

      Sweet Treats Challenge
    • Warm and Fuzzy Contest

      Warm and Fuzzy Contest

    22 Discussions


    2 years ago

    i cought an octopus ti went around my hand and then jumped into the water how doi prevent that also i go to a rocky beach filled with holes rocks everywere but yet in 3 years i found one at sunset is there a needed time? a needed place ? can i use my hands only to catch

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    The octopus when they caught they grab your hand and they plan to go to your neck to strangle you. Yes it happens once with an eight year old boy the octopus get in boy's neck and was a parent there and save him. Anyway...when starts to get around your fist just then grab the upper part of the head (its like a hood) and just pull the inside out....that makes the octopus to have less oxygen and finally loose the power. Then go to nearest shore and start hiting octopus on a rock to get soften...

    The morning at 7-8:30 is the approprate time. The Octopus live and hunting mostly the night hours so the morning is weak and sleepy.

    Yes you may catch only with your hands but remember to avoid near better if you wear a pair of gloves just 2mm thick is fine (dive gloves)..I use to hunt like you say but also having a knife with me and those gloves i said.


    3 years ago

    Not octopus, octopi


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Great advice! I was looking for this mainly out of boredom to see people's ways. I like this one specifically because it is very similar to my way. I live just by the Mediterranean Sea and love hunting octopus although I enjoy to catch them show them to my sisters dad e.c.t. And then real ease them. My method is I fact just with goggles, a snorkel and my bare hands. I do this by turning over rocks and hoping there is an octopus there, sometimes your lucky and sometimes there is nothing. I also like to check small caves in between the large rocks that make up the groynes. If any octopus happens to be under a rock it will either try and escape or just 'cringe' and change colour if it cringes I just reach down and grab it then it will try to flee. Sometimes it is successful and swims using ink and it's jet to a new rock or cave and tries to hide there. If that occurs I simply keep an eye on it and then swim towards it's new rock and try all over again and get it. The only 'danger' is if a poisonous scorpion fish emerges from beneath the rock instead of an octopus but if that happens my reaction takes over and I bolt away although they are more scared of me than I am of them. Another 'danger' is the weever fish although they tend to be under the sand and not under any rocks so where weever fish are octopus aren't near them simply because they hang out in other areas of the beach. So happy octopus hunting/catching and good luck.

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I am pleased you enjoyed it.....Zak Coousteau had said that octapus are the kittens of the deep blue. Had right. Octapus are very cuddly if you approache them quietly and just reach to touch them. baby octapus are closing their eyes like kitten do.

    This summer I hunted about 15 octapus only big one and never in reproductive days (february to May and end of August). Both the males and females of the species will die after the eggs hatch. An improvement beyond the knive and bare hands (actually gloved to prevent urchines spins) is a hook fited in wooden stick of about 50cm long. The hook can be done by strong wire like those they make the hangers or any other. Might be shiny metal so the octapus when see it will try to grab it. After it attached to the hook its easy to take it out from its nest. Also if the octapus try to escape and drops a lot of its ink that means it's really depert and its baby octapus. An adult octapus never spends its ink at once. Also most of escaped octapus are try to hidding to near stones and rock so after some time your view is clear again after the ink you will find it in near rocks and most of the times in a depth not more than 2-3 meters.

    good luck and thanks for the comment


    5 years ago on Step 2

    Thanks agis68 and web_18designer. I saw one this morning in a hole. It won't go out so I think of using a harpoon dart.

    1 reply

    6 years ago on Step 3

    foberos xtapodakias milame..
    Poy einai oi photo?
    H mixani 5ara einai?dixronila kai etsi?

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Step 3

    efxaristo!! To meros einai Galaxeidi fokidas, apenanti apo Itea kai kato apo Araxova kai delfous. Exei polla nisakia gyro gyro kai apisteutes paralies kai mpoliko psari. H varka einai Souidikh toy 79 kai h mhxani kainoyrgia (eixa mia 4) kai ayth einai 9 tetraxronh kai a8oruvh kai paei sfaira


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Octopus = acreature that may be smarter than Man !!!!!!!!!!!
    So............... Lets kill them all off.

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    It's smart indeed but Man smarter...No I never said to kill them all or to vanish them. No way..That's why I support the hunting of older octopus...and not of the younger...
    Now cause your comment is kinda of heretic and provocative....please keep your opinion for yourself...and don't eat vegetables...and loose your teath


    8 years ago on Step 2

    Saw your instructions and had to give my feedback. I cought hundreds (if not thousands) of octopuses in my life and your instructions, while informative can be greatly improved.

    In particular the catching of the octopus, while a knife can be used it is not the best way - at least if you dont have a ton of experience.

    The best, easiest and safest way is to either use a Forked spear (with 3 tips) or a 2 or 3 inch hook soldered to an iron rod.

    Once the octopus is found, one should not delay. At this point simply check the enviroment, if the octopus is in the open (not in a hole) act fast and simply use the forked spear on it - else it will escape. (If this is not done the octopus will feel thretened and simply escape after seeing you)

    If the octopus is in a hole, inspect the hole and see if the hole is deep or not. If its not deep/large, simply use the forked spear and thats all - as easy as that.

    If the hole is deep and you are afraid that when you will use the spear it will escape(by going deeper in the hole), you can either take your chance or use the hook explained preciously - this way once you hook it thers no escape.

    A kinfe is not reccomended for newbies, I personally use a knife but for the simple reason that with a knife its much faster to just use it to scare the octopus out of the hole and then catch the octopus by hand - obviously this is more dangerous and risky but if you re used to do this its very easy

    Happy hunting!

    2 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

     My dear friend,

    Thanks for your advices, I prefer knife, I learned to get then with knife since I was 6 years old. Of course you may use the spear but you may lose the adventure!...Every season I gather around 100-130 octopus!!! (my season is counting for just 20-30 days of vacations). And the spear sometimes can't be used if the past to nest is very thin. Knife and a little  dead fish is the best.

    Anyone on his forces.....


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Hi Friend,

    Thanks for your comment. I would like to clarify a little bit my previous comment. I use a knife myself, so I'm not saying that a knife is not a good tool.  I use it for the simple reason that its much easy to take an octopus out of the knife(once its cought), instead of out of 3 tiped spear. (Actualy a knife can be replaced with any pointing object, it dosent really matters)

    Anyways, my suggestion of using the 3 tipped spear (There are many variations and there are some specific for octopuses which are small and are designed to enter in holes easily) is not a way to say that a knife cant be used. Obviously it can. But from a beginner point of view "Trying to CATCH an Octopus with a knife" is not an easy task - therefore the spear is raccomended to get started.

    Most people reading your instructions will never had cought an octopus in their lives, and using knives for these individuals would be dangerous and with a higher risk of loosing the catch(Especailly if the octopus in questions is a big one! one wouldnt simply want to catch a big one with a knife - it would be extremply dangerous). While if using the standard weapon of choice the above problems are all sorted easily :)

    Btw in here, there are many octopus catchers(some do it full time) and my feedback is simple common knowledge :)

    It i were you i would add a special section for beginner catchers :) It would sure help them out!



    9 years ago on Introduction

    Mhhhmmmm, octopus! I'll probably never hunt one myself, but i like to eat them (in germany you only get them frozen)..