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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Fish Wars IV - A New Hope

Warning!!! - This post does not contain any exciting fishing encounters. Just more of my ramblings.

A Year in Perspective

As 2007 draws to a close, it occurred to me that I have not updated my blog for close to 8 moons. And for the many who have watched these pages closely, I offer my sincerest apologies. My writings have never been about the big fish or the many fish but I write with feelings that I gather while fishing. And it is this feeling that I've been lacking.

In terms of fishing, this year has been for me the closest to 'wandering in the desert for 40 years'. This has been the driest spell for me not having enjoyed fishing for close to 10 moons.

With the increased surveillance around our favourite bass haunts, it has turned many off from attempting to even fish, unless one is suffering from a severe bout of 'Cichla monoculus-titis' and in need of a temporary cure. Why do we have to feel like criminals, hunted down and persecuted for pursuing a perfectly legitimate past time. Just because fly fishing is not a recognized Olympic sport, we get no endorsement from the local sport council. And now, with the Marina Barrage being constructed, even the Singapore River, a favourite haunt for saltwater anglers, has been declared off limits to all fishing as it will soon become our new water catchment.

How does fishing affect our water source? Especially since many of us are fishing with artificials. Why are powerboats allowed to ply up and down in our reservoirs dragging wakeboarders while we are not allowed to haul our poppers and sliders in those same waters?

Do we dirty the waters more than our fellow sportsmen? Powerboats inadvertently will leak lubricants and petrol into the water, wakeboarders cover themselves with sunblock and then soak in the water waiting to start or at the end of their run. The wakes of the boats and the boards do more to damage the embankments more than what a hundred or more anlgers do while walking around the reservoir? Do not misunderstand, I have nothing against others enjoying wakeboarding. I only question why the double standards. Has it got anything to do with the potential financial gains?

If we are not being persecuted for dirtying the waters then why are we still not allowed to fish and why do the officers who apprehend us still use that as an excuse to discourage us from fishing? It was a good 8 months between my 'apprehension' and my receiving of my 'ticket' from the authorities. Why the long wait? Why can't I pay in advance for a license to allow me to fish peacefully and with dignity.

It has been so long since I've got a chaffed thumb from lipping a peacock bass or smelled the pungent, yet comforting 'fragrance' of my green slimy friend.

2007 has also seen my failed attempt to run a 'Catch and Release' fishery in neighbouring Malaysia. After 8 months of effort, I finally decided to pull out of the partnership. It had been a fantastic learning experience and I hope to be able to fulfill my dream of owning a fishing lodge in the coming years. If any guide or lodge owners are reading this, if you don't mind sharing your experience, please drop me a note.

And to add to my blues, my application to Games giant, Electronic Arts, was rejected. Trained in animation, I was not adequately skilled to work as a Technical Artist. So now I must decide if I should head off to pursue my further studies.

What prompted me to update this blog was a lunch appointment with a South African friend of mine who will be returning home for good. He has kindly invited me to fish for my first trout near his future home next Easter. It was not the prospect of fishing for trout that re-ignited my passion. It was Jeff's enthusiasm that rubbed off on me. If you are reading this Jeff, thanks for the invite and for re-igniting my fire.

And for those of you who have supported this blog since its inception, I just want to wish each and everyone of you a very "Merry and Blessed Christmas, and Fish-filled New Year".