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Oceanography/Exotic Camouflage Fish


Hey William,

This is more a marine biology question, but as there's no section on experts specifically for that, I'm thinking outside the box.

First some context.

I'm a screenwriter, in the middle of adapting a spy novel. I'm currently working on a scene where our hero first encounters the main villain. At a fish supper of all places on the deck of a yacht in a harbor off on the coast of Saint-Tropez.

Now through the dialogue, I want the villain to analogize the type of fish they're eating with the plight of my hero.

To explain, The hero was framed for something years before and, through plastic surgery and fake I.D. papers, assumed a new life. Until the Villain managed to track them down and lure them out of hiding by kidnapping a family member.

My thought process is that this lends itself to the analogy of a fisherman luring a fish onto his hook. Not only that, but if this fish were able to camouflage in some way, that would be a perfect comparison to my hero's attempts to blend in with his new life.

So to the question-

1) Are there any fishes or edible sea creatures (exotic, endangered or otherwise) that use chameleon/camouflage techniques to avoid predators. Even better if they can be found in waters in and around Europe (though that isn't essential).

2) Are there any unique fishing methods used to catch these fish either now or in the distant past. It would be great if my main villain could talk of unusual methods when analogizing the unusual method he used to lure the hero out of hiding.

Hopefully I've explained that well enough. I'm basically looking for an edible fish or sea creature that is hard for us to catch due to the ability to camouflage, but that fisherman have unique methods to lure out of hiding and into a net/onto a hook.

Hope you can help :)



Hey Alex

One of the more interesting questions I have received here.

OK - I think I have the makings of what you're looking for.

The octopus is our "Hero" - they are quite common in the Mediterranean, and considered a delicacy so they would be served at seafood restaurants.

The octopus is a master of disguise.  It can change color rapidly and is expert at "background matching" - such that it becomes nearly invisible on any rocky substrate.  Even divers or people on boats with "looking boxes" cannot see one if it remains motionless.

Enter the "Villain" - Tongan fishermen have devised a really unique and colorful means of luring the octopus to its demise (maybe the Villain knows a Tongan ex-pat??)

It's called the maka-fete (see picture)

Tongan fishermen glide over a reef, paddling their outrigger canoes with one hand and dangling the maka-feke over the side with the other. An octopus dashes out from its rocky lair and seizes the lure, mistaking it for a much-desired meal. So tenacious is the grasp of the octopus and so firm is its instinct not to relinquish the precious prize that fishermen can flip it right into the canoe.

The maka feke lure is expertly crafted. A carefully selected cone-shaped stone of enough weight to avoid floating, constitutes its main part. Half of this stone is covered with a cowrie shell. Palm tree root material is used to fix all components together. A line is tied to the lure with which it is lowered into the water.

This should be enough to get the weels spinning - I'm sure you can work this in.

Let me know if it gets to the big screen - or even the little TV.


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