It shames me a little to admit that until very recently, the only kind of fishing I knew how to do – and gotten quite adept at – was the sort that involves landing compliments. I’m a little attention-starved that way, yes.
But one Sunday last September, I tagged along with my buddy on one of his weekend fishing expeditions and I finally got what the excitement was all about! I woke up at 5:00am, showered quickly, got dressed, and watched a bit of news while waiting for my friend to pick me up en route to a fishing village in Apalit, Pampanga where a few other friends will be joining us. It was a short, easy-breezy ride as traffic jam was nearly non-existent and our light conversation would only be punctuated by a bite off the bread I brought for the trip or the quick drive-thru at Jollibee for hamdesal and coffee. It was my first time to ever go fishing and I was totally awed by the lures, poppers, fishing rod, line and the reel which my friend proudly showed me! Evidently, he likes fishing a lot and it’s very refreshing to see someone actually take a real interest in anything and not just because it’s a fad or a novelty. He’s been fishing for quite sometime now and even has plans of going an some major fishing adventure in the Amazon or Mekong River. Now that’d be an adventure of a lifetime! I’ve been a big fan of Discovery channel’s Jeremy Wade of the River Monsters fame since I first chanced upon an episode some months back and I have often wondered what it’d be like to join him in one of his trips in search of, say, the Goliath Tiger Fish, Alligator Gar, and other feared predators of the river. I easily get terrified but my daring for adventure far outweighs my fear, so I reckon I’m going to do just fine. Besides, I like roughing it out.
We fished for 3 hours and I was the first one to land a fish. It was a catfish which was about the length of my torso! It was funny how I caught it, really. I got me a bird’s nest – that’s what they call the massive tangle of line that usually happens when you reel in awkwardly – and I was trying so hard to untangle by myself because I was already pretty embarrassed to ask my friend’s help as it was my second bird’s nest and I don’t even own the thing! As I was tugging, pulling, and peering through the reel – all in futility – I felt something tug at the end of my line. My heart skipped a bit but I ruled it out initially as, I don’t know, maybe a patch of weed or twigs my hook got caught in. But then it tugged again and again and again and that’s when I called out my friend’s name and told him I might have caught something. I was jumping up and down when I saw the catfish’s head break into the surface. I caught a fish and nearly peed my shorts out of sheer excitement!
I named my catch Henrietta the Hito, and no, it’s not named after someone I hold rancor against (I usually name them punyeta or some other fancy names, kidding!). I just happen to like the sound of the name Henrietta. After Henri, I would catch one more fish and this time, it’s a tilapia which I christened Terry. Now, as much as I like tilapia on my food plate (I seriously love tilapia – fried, grilled, cooked in soup, anything at all!), I decided to send her back into the water because I felt she wasn’t full-grown yet. But not after having some photos taken with her. She’s such a cutie, that Terry!
We only fished for 3 hours but we ended up with Henrietta and three other friends! But more than the thrill of the catch, I was more in awe of yet another discovery I’ve made about myself. You see, I have a very short attention span and I’m one of those who need to be moving constantly or I will die of boredom. And so it came as a surprise to me to be able to just stand in one spot (or sometimes sit on the portable chair my friend had in his car) and wait for the fishies to take the bait. And not once have I felt restless or bored. In fact, it was one very calming experience, almost zen-like. I wasn’t thinking about work, personal crises – both real and imagined – and a few other trivial things I often catch myself getting obsessed with. I was…happy! I didn’t know fishing can do that to someone like me – an adrenalin junkie.
It would take two more weeks before I would have another go at it. Fishing, I mean. This time, it would be at Aling Nene’s Pond – or ANP as it’s fondly referred to by the members of the Filipino Anglers Forum, of which I am now also a member. Well, more like a lurker as I haven’t really gotten into the whole angling craze just yet. I’m still contemplating whether I should buy my own fishing gear because I’m kind of in a transition period now. There are so many things happening and some really major ones about to unfold and I don’t want to take up another interest that I wouldn’t be able to sustain in the long run. Unlike running, of course, which I can do pretty much anywhere and which does not require me to be carrying a fishing equipment and a boxful of lures and hooks at all times. But I like fishing a lot and I’m open to fishing invitations so long as I’m not expected to bring my own gear. Hint, hint, hint…:)
Anyway, going back to my ANP trip. Unlike in Apalit, we were skunked in a major way at Aline Nene’s. Not uncommon in fishing, even if you ask rabid anglers out there. See that’s another interesting thing about fishing. Not too far removed from what happens to us out there in real life. Sometimes, even with the best equipment (talent, looks, etc), we still end up failing once or twice. I don’t think any one of us here truly leads a charmed life. We get skunked every now and then. Such is life.
But despite getting skunked, I still had fun because the place afforded me with a nice view of the sunset on one end of the spectrum and the serene beauty of the water on the other. Again, that zen-like sensation came over me like a fleece blanket on a cold, cold night. Too bad I didn’t have a decent camera and had to make do with my Blackberry in taking photos. The view was just spectacular.
So those were my two very memorable fishing trips. I don’t know yet when I’d be able to go on another but I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a haruan if and when fishing trip happens. We’ll see. Anyway, here are some more photos of my fishing trips. Enjoy!