Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Chirstmas and a Happy New Year!

A very big thank you for all who have visited my blog. I take this opportunity to wish each of you a very Blessed and Merry Chirstmas. May the peace of Christmas reside in you and your families. And may you all enjoy a Happy New Year. May there be more joy and plenty more fish in the coming year.

English: Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Danish: Glædelig Jul og godt nytår!

Dutch: Vrolijk Kerstfeest en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar!

Brazilian: Boas Festas!

Finnish: Hyvää Joulua or Hauskaa Joulua - 0nnellista uutta vuotta!

French: Joyeux Noël et Bonne Année!

German: Fröhliche Weihnachten und ein glückliches Neues Jahr!

Italian: Buon Natale e Felice Anno Nuovo!

Polish: Wesolych Swiat i Szczesliwego Nowego Roku!

Portuguese: Boas Festas e um feliz Ano Novo!

Slovakian: Vesele Vianoce a stastny novy rok!

Maltese: IL-Milied It-tajjeb!

Slovene: Vesele bozicne praznike in srecno novo leto!

Sorbian: Wjesole hody a strowe Nowe leto!

Spanish: Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo!

Swedish: God Jul och Gott Nytt År!

Swiss (French): Joyeux Noel!

Philippine: Maligayang Pasko!

Chinese: 圣诞快乐与新年快乐!

Afrikaans: Geseende Kerfees en 'n gelukkige!

Bahasa/Malaysia: Selamat Hari Natal dan Tahun Baru!

Bohemian/Czech: Prejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce a Stastny novy rok!

Greek: Kala Christougenna Ki'eftihismenos O Kenourios Chronos!

Divehi: Ufaaveri aa ahareh!

Indonesian: Selamat Hari Natal & Selamat Tahun Baru!

Japanese: Shinnen omedeto. Kurisumasu Omedeto!

Korean: Sung Tan Chuk Ha!

Russian: Pozdrevlyayu s prazdnikom Rozhdestva i s Novim Godom!

Latin: Pax hominibus bonae voluntatis!

Mongolian: Zul saryn bolon shine ony mend devshuulye!

: Eg ynskjer hermed Dykk alle ein God Jul og Godt Nyttår!

Norweigan/Bokmål: God Jul og Godt Nyttår!

Romanian: Craciun fericit si un An Nou fericit!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Fly Fish with Mel: Cirque Du Soleil

Quidam - He who is annonymous

He was annonymous. Well, to me, in the beginning; he was. He was the one who offered Michael four tickets to watch his performance. Of which, one was for Huiru, Michael's daughter, and one was so kindly offered to me by Michael; denying himself a chance to watch. The other two tickets were also selflessly offered to a couple.

Even after a fanastic performance, He was still annonymous to me. QUIDAM was indeed a splendid blend of sights and sounds. A true feast for the senses and also, the intellect.

Annonymous, he remained. Until finally, he came by the shop when I happened to be there. From that moment a name replaced the annonymity. Tristan. The Guitarist; and fly angler.

From that day, it was to become a ritual. Michael and I would practice casting in the open field by the tentages. And without fail, Tristan would be attracted to us or rather, to the opportunity to practice casting. He would come by and greet us, shared a joke or two and then proceeded to have a hand at casting. "Don't you need to prepare for the show?", we'd ask. "I'm done with my sound check", he'd reply. "I've still got some time left."

Day after day, with helpful tips from Michael, Tristan's casting developed into a beautiful display of curves scything through the air. He'd learnt to slow his strokes down to the point where the energy transfer from arm to rod to line become one continuous flow. No jerks, no voilent movements. Just a rythmic wave of the magical wand that brought the inanimate line to life in an ethereal dance.

Soon, casting was just not enough for Tristan. And after hearing numerous stories of epic battles with monster Peacock Basses; and coming so frustratingly close to catching one, He was ready to for another try.

It was still dark when I rode my carriage up to his apartment. A warm smile greeted me as I shook hands with this tall New Yorker, holding his mug of coffee and eager to do his spot of fishing. During the short drive to my homewaters, White House, we chatted a bit about everything. He shared with me his life as a travelling performer and of his beautiful family; his wife, his daughter and his newborn son. While I told him about my hopes to become a fishing guide. Well, little did I know, that I was about to get my first taste of what it was like to be a guide.

Evrything else was as it would be like any normal day that I'd fish at White House. Only today, I'd be fishing with a 'clown'. Rigging up my '0' wt, I watched Tristan piece his '5' wt together, with the antipication oozing from every pore in his body. I asked if he had any flies and he showed me the few Clousers and Crazy Charlies he'd bought from Coho. He'd sent most of his flies home after performing and fishing in New Zealand. Knowing that he'd been longing to catch a PB, I knew I had to offer him my best performer. Just the night before, while preparing for this outing, I'd realised that my stock of 'Scintillator' flies were used up. Too late to do any tying, I was almost in a state of panic. Then I remembered my 'Sample' box. The one box where I kept the best tied of all my flies and also, those that have so kindly been offered to me by friends. True enough, there in it's irridescent glory, sat one solitary scintillator. That was for Tristan.

Standing a couple of feet from the water, Tristan pondered what to tie onto the business end of his line. I could see the coffee working hard to stimulate the brains to make the decision. So out came the Scintillator and it was Hobson's choice. Not really. That's because a friend of Tristan's had tied a 'Cirque Du Soleil' fly. A small streamer tied in yellow and blue, the Circus's distinctive colour. But it was to be the guide's recommendation that got the chance to start the day.

Nestled against the weed on the left of the grass patch was a nice little spot where I used to pull a couple of PBs every trip. So there it was the Tristan made his first cast. Explaining to him how to lay the line with a slight mend and how to work the fly, I let him enjoy working up his rythmn. The first dozen or so cast didn't even draw a follow.

Seeing this, I quickly led Tristan along the edge to the right. Acting as a spotter, I walked along the bank, a few feet back from the water's edge. In the ever brightening light, I had to put on my polarised lenses to see the fish more clearly and two rod-lengths down, a vague outline suddenly emerged as the slow waving tail of a Peacock Bass.

Half whispering, I called out to Tristan to drop his fly a few feet beyond where the fish was.

The first cast went sailing past the fish but was too far out. The fish was hugging close to shore. But not to waste the cast, I got Tristan to work the fly back in erratic retrieves. This was the time to test the mood of the fish. If it was in a feeding or aggitated mood, it would leave cover and bludgeon the fly. But the fish showed no signs of interest. On the next cast, Tristan laid the line directly over the fish. Fortunately, the fish was not spooked.

This time, as the Scintillator drew over the top of the fish, A huge swirl erupted from beneath, yet the it was a negative hook up. However, this sort of woke Tristan up from whatever state of consciousness he was in.

With renewed vigour, he ploughed the fly over the fish a half dozen more times before a huge bow wake homed in on the fly and Tristan was onto his first Singapore Peacock Bass.

Beneath that slight grimace on his face, a radiance beamed from within. No amount of fish that I would have caught that morning could give me the same joy that I felt watching Tristan relish each headshake, each run, each turn of the spool. When the fish was landed 5 minutes later and safely cradled in his hands, I took that all important photo of the beaming clown and his equally colourful adversary.

With the release of his fish, Tristan came over and said to me:"You have all the qualities to become a fantastic guide." Praise that was music to my ears but did I really deserve it?

Along that bank, we walked, spotted and cast to a few more fish. They weren't very co-operative that morning but Tristan still managed to pull another PB from it's sanctuary.

As I led him to the small outlet, I eplained to Tristan that it would be a different ballgame compared to the banks. The water was deeper in most areas but rocky bottom would ensure a one-way ticket for most flies. However, if you did not work your fly doen near the bottom, the fish may not be interested. And true enough, a couple of white Wooly Buggers were lost without a take from a fish. Then, Tristan tried a red and white Clouser and that too was lost.

Remembering his friend's 'Cirque du Soleil' fly, he tied it one and gave it a shot. No one was willing to rise to the occasion to hit the fly. Then with a loud 'Clink', the fly disappeared off the end of the line. The fly had hit a railing and the loop snapped. And the fly was never to be seen again.

This final setback signalled the end of a rather interesting morning of fishing. Though the fish were not really co-operative, Tristan still managed to tussel with and land two great fish. If only there had been more but my friend, the clown, was already laughing within; with only a hint of a smile on his lips.

Off to breakfast, a feast of 'Roti Prata' and fish curry, and a strong cup of 'Kopi-C' or coffee with evaporated milk. A perfect way to end a perfect session.

Till next we fish together, my friend.