“Ikan Tawah” known in english as “rabbitfish”, is one of the most favorite reef fish to eat of the Balinese. There are 2 kinds: One with a yellow spot next to the tail (Gold-saddle rabbitfish) which can grow up to 2kg, or the white spotted rabbitfish which can grow up to 300-400 grams. Don’t let the size fool you. The small rabbit fish is very tasty when deep fried or grilled. If you manage to be around Sanur at the beach you will see several fishermen up, even up to 50 at a time fishing for rabbitfish.
To start learning spearfishing in Bali it is best to start with them. Some areas are harder than others because they keep a distance when the water is clear. Sometimes, you will have no problem being surrounded by a school of the yellowspot rabbit fish. but please note that they are very fast to react. You will find them close to reef, the bigger sized ones will be seen in schools of 5- 10 fish or sometimes even 50-100. Most of the time you will see them in pairs. Their main diet is seaweed so you will find them everywhere around Bali. Great to eat! I highly recommend shooting one if you are in Bali.
1. If you see them with a group of other species of fish, then you should descend in front of them (with some distance), then wait for the fish to gather around you, as they will be curious, then you shoot them.
2. If you only see the rabbitfish, then you have to use the ambush tactic, where you need to find a good hiding spot around them, wait for their curiosity to bring them close, and shoot them when they are swimming towards you with their body slightly slanted away. When they react to your trigger, their instinct is to turn away and it leaves their body in perfect position for the shot. (This is a good tactic and should be applied for most reef fish in general.)