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Saturday, June 18, 2011


In my experience, a child of 10 of either gender loves to fish. When The Daughter was 10, she fished trout in the streams of the Smoky Mountains. We had chanced upon a stream that was reserved for children. It was located right next to a trout fishery which released hundreds of trout into that stream every Tuesday.

We arrived on Tuesday. The Daughter caught enough trout to feed us at dinner. The Husband set up the barbecue pit with apple wood chips and we had truly the best freshwater fish ever that night.

Then, we brought the family up to the Appalachian Mountains. Outside the rental cottage was a large pond with plenty of hungry fish. So The Daughter had a lovely time fishing there too using bread balls as bait. We have a video of her pointing at her little fish in a pail saying "I caught that!!". One American GI retired with injury stared at her with frank admiration whilst she baited her hook with a cricket. Yup... The Daughter could bait a hook as well as Huckleberry Finn.

Coming home to Singapore, The Daughter lost interest. Then she grew up and fishing became relegated to the list of activities that one remembers as part of an interesting childhood in the sun.

Now, Little Boy is 10 and specializes in fishing freshwater bream. These are fish the size of my palm if I am lucky. I gotta eat a lotta them to fill me up. The last trip, Little Boy hooked 16. The trip before last, he hooked nothing. On trip before that, he hooked about 5 in quick succession... at a rate of about 1 every 2 minutes. I don't know how Little Boy does it. He seems to be extra sensitive to the line and knows when a fish is biting. And he knows how to jerk the line up and hook the fish' mouth and then pull it up.

They catch fish. I eat them.

My kids are spoilt though. They expect quick bites and have no patience to wait. If no fish bite within 15 minutes, they get restless. Having a fish bite within 2 seconds of dropping in hook, line and sinker is highly unusual. Nonetheless, both my kids have experienced this a few times in their lives. Beginner's luck possibly.

We went fishing today. We caught nothing at all. I sat through about 45 minutes of lesson with the guy who wanted to sell me fishing tackle. He taught me how to knot and tie hooks. I brought along prawn and small fish. I went about it like a pro, and tried to impart my knowledge to my little family, and our friends (who came with us). In the end, I felt a little stupid for I began to seem like all talk and no substance.

We caught nothing at all.

With all the last minute fishing lore crammed into my head, I couldn't beat Little Boy's craft. A line, no rod, drop it in, feel the line and pull up. VoilĂ ! A fish. Henceforth, I will stick to eating fish.

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