Mafia of the Seas

Fish are devious! 

If you think they are simply swimming around aimlessly beneath the waves, frolicking away until they’re outsmarted by man and his many superior gizmos… think again. Fish are running a major organized crime syndicate.  What are their main activities you ask? Robbery. Fraud. Their victims? Innocent holiday fishing folk.

I went on a short fishing holiday for some much deserved R&R. A spot of fishing should do the nerves good, or so I presumed. As I baited my hooks with fresh squid, I thought ah, I shall catch me a nice little fish at first… maybe palm sized if I was lucky. So, I cast my rod with a flourish and heard the weight hit the water about 20 feet away (this entry may contain some embellishments). Then, I held on to the rod, waiting to feel the little tugs that would summon the hunter  spirit from within me. Before long, I felt it, and I began reeling it in. Gently at first, then a quick yank out of the water. No fish on the line.  So, I baited the rod again. Cast. Wait. Tug tug. Reel in. Empty line; bait all gone. They were artfully nibbling the bait away. I paid more attention to the baiting process. Cast. Tug. Reel in. Bait gone!

This went on for two days.

Went to the store and bought fresh bait and sharp new hooks. Bait, cast, gentle tug, reel in. Bait gone! Just as I was about to give up, they sensed it. This time I reeled in a token fish the size of my pinky. Arrrrgh!! Finally! Could not practice catch and release after my ordeal. This was my trophy; my reward after 48 hours and 20 ringgit spent on bait. This fellow was coming home with me. It spurred me on, ah maybe the curse was broken? I used more rods. Baited them all! Cast, tug, reel in. No fish! No bait!

Had to up the arsenal! Bought some live worms, baited the squirmy little buggers and cast away. Tug.  Reel in. No fish. NO BAIT! Back to the store, bought a net like contraption designed to be cast from a rod. The only thing the net caught was a seashell. Just one seashell. And it wasn’t even a pretty one!

Each time when I was about to quit, the syndicate would reward me with one of the small fish (always the victim). Once in a freak accident, one of the hooks found its way into the tiny jaws of a 4 inch mantis prawn. Looked more like a sea monster; the highlight of my fishing expedition. Took about a dozen pictures of it posing for the camera. 

Mantis Prawn - Hopeful
Mantis Prawn - Unhappy
Mantis Prawn - Being a Diva


Five days – and all I had to show for it were 4 pinky-finger-sized fish (and the unfortunate mantis prawn). An excellent deal in favour of the fish, considering the amount of prawns, squid, worms and even bread at one point, that they swindled from me. They must have been watching. Monitoring my level of enthusiasm, studying my body language, timing each random catch with cunning precision. Fish. Now when I see masses of them murdered on the market tables; I sneer. They can’t outwit the best of us.

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