"Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it."
Norman Maclean

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Catch & Release

Catch & Release

It has been a long time now that I had posted anything on my photo-blog. Most of the pictures are uploaded onto my Facebook.

Tomorrow is my birthday. I’ll be one year older and hopefully a wee bit wiser.

Time really flies. With a wink of an eye, my kids are bigger and have grown taller. They are fishing whenever their mum allowed them to. They could tie their own flies too and refuse to let me help them when fishing.

“Papa, I want to catch a fish on my own.” Yong Yun will tell me. “Yes, on our own, and I’m not going home till I catch one myself.” Yong Zhi will add.

Yong Zhi can vary the rate of retrive with the spinning reel, and he jerks the rod just like Uncle Wong did. So far he is ahead with the number of fish caught and Yong Yun has got the record for the bigger fish.

Well, I can take comfort that they’re not hooking me with their flies now when they cast the lines.

It was still dark when I reached the Lower Pierce Reservoir. The car park was full and I had to park on the grass verge, risking a summon. Uncle Wong was already at the dam. The Taichi masters were all there in force. Some Qi Gong group lay their mats near the edge of the reservoir and “sleep”, I think. Caught two Peacock Basses by the jetty with my Winston bamboo. No rangers today. Uncle Wong tried the Winston and caught a few too. A biggie snatched the fly and took off, broke the tippet and took the fly with it. Should have used a stronger 6 pound tippet instead of the 3 pound fluorocarbon that was holding the fly this morning.

Ah Hoe’s as usual before giving a Uncle Wong a ride home. He is on the fifth and sixth LeoRod. The sixth is a #2 weight Baby Catskill. I can’t wait to try it out when he’s completed it.

After completing the chores my missus had ordered me to do, I managed to steal some time to go down to Springleaf for a stroll and recce. The afternoon thunderstorm had receded and the concrete is much cooler to walk on today. The weather had been rather hot recently and February was the driest month in history. The water at Upper Seletar Reservoir is still very low. The water at Springleaf was mulky after the rain. About 10 lure fishermen were trying their luck in the “milo” coloured water. None of them caught anything.

Then I saw a guy with a cast net and a bucket. The bucket was half filled with earth-eaters. Wang is a construction worker and is having a break from work because of the rain. No overtime for him today. I asked his permission to take some photos of his catch with my HTC HD2. Then ask if I can take some photos of him casting his cast-net. The first cast wasn’t taken properly. But he was sporting enough to tell me to take the next cast. He will try to cast and form the net as round as he can. "It will look nicer." He said. He lived with four friends in Yishun. They are from China and all are construction workers. He will clean and keep the fish and have them for dinner over the week. Fish in the local market is too expensive for them. On the fifth cast, he caught a big tilapia. The earth-eaters will be fried. This tilapia will be steamed. Wang and his friends will have fresh steamed fish tonight. Something which they seldom have in Singapore.

While the campaign is being pushed by our Sport Fishing groups for “Catch and Release”. My heart goes with Wang, his dedication to bring back some fish for his friends. He was smiling when he caught the tilapia. They haven’t had steamed fish for a long time now, not even on Chinese New Year. I can see the happiness on his face. Before you guys start to condemn him, let me tell you this. He only keep those fish that he wanted to eat. He was releasing the smaller fish into the water. “For them to grow up first” he told me. He was so quick in his release of the smaller fish that I just couldn’t catch the act on my HTC phone. Finally, I asked him if he could release the next smaller fish more slowly so that I could take a photo of him releasing it. “They will die if not released quickly” he protested. But relented and slowly release a small Peacock Bass for me to snap a shot.

I am indeed humbled by Wang today. He cared for the fish as much as we do.

The local baiters can learn something from him.
Wang released the small peacock bass slowly so that I can get the shot taken.

1 comment:

Lefty said...

I agree that not everyone thinks fishing is commerce. It is actually not so rare for people who live off the sea to care for it. I met a few guys fishing in Singapore just off Changi, and they did the same, letting go small fry and stingrays. It was nice.