Hooked on fishing
Francis Ng started fishing back in 1993 and enjoys the “tug of war” with the fishes.
When Francis Ng moved to Pasir Ris back in 1993, he noticed a fishing pond right in front of his flat. Since he stopped radio control car racing as a hobby, he decided why not pick up a new hobby – fishing.
Quite a different hobby but that did not stop the 80-year-old from giving it a try. The father of two recalled, “I didn’t have the slightest idea of fishing in the beginning. After I acquired the simple fishing gear, I started fishing as a hobby. At that time, the pond operator released a lot of fishes every day into the pond. Without experience, you can catch fishes easily.”
He added that his first fish he caught weighed about 800g. “The thrill and excitement of catching my first fish is beyond description. From then onwards, you could say I got hooked!”
At the time, he was working as a personal assistant to the managing director of a fresh fruits importer and exporter. On Sundays, unless he had meetings, he would go to the fishing pond run by D’Best Recreation and spend about eight hours fishing. “I just like the feeling of the fishes taking a bite and starting the tug of war.”
He is more than comfortable fishing on land rather than out in the sometimes choppy sea – “I suffer from motion sickness from a young age till now. I never go to the open sea to fish.” He also likes the fact that the fishing pond is near him and is not looking at jumping ship anytime soon.
Francis used to fish alone but over the years, he made friends with other anglers and they now meet up on Sundays at the fishing pond. He still happily fishes at the Main Pond, even though there are other ponds that will further challenge him.
Fishing is not just about the connections he has made, Francis also gets excited when he lands a big fish that weighs above 2kg. He shared, “When I land a big fish, it is a memorable moment for me. The tug of war with a big fish is full of fun and excitement, and the bystanders and other anglers will cheer and applaud the catch.”
He has had tug of wars with many fishes over the years and some have sadly lost the fight including fishes of all sizes and types like the seabass, various kinds of snappers, tilapia, grouper, Taiwan Ngor, etc. After he successfully catches the fishes, he doesn’t release them back in the pond but shares them with his neighbours, son’s friends, or they become part of a tasty meal at his home.
Francis also takes part in the fishing competitions. He recalled that his most memorable fishing competition was the one organised by the Tampines East Community Centre in 1993 at the start of his fishing journey. It was a sweet occasion as he won the first prize of S$2,000 and a big trophy with his catch of a 4kg codfish.
He has also participated in D’Best Recreation’s fishing competitions each year where he enthusiastically shared that he has won a bicycle and a 17-inch TV. He added that the fishing pond operator would organise fishing competitions where bigger fishes (some about 25 to 30kg in size) are released. That also means bigger prize money and attracts huge crowds of anglers from the region. “I have no plans to participate in any future fishing competitions because if I hook a big fish (one weighing more than 10kg), I don’t think that at my present age, I would be strong enough to handle the fight in landing the fish. Maybe I might be pulled into the pond by the fish!”
Though he enjoys fishing a lot, he nonetheless wouldn’t recommend fishing to other seniors unless “they can withstand the hot weather and rain at times”. If this is not their cup of tea, or bag of fish, he recommends other hobbies like stamp collecting, photography and mahjong that will help keep seniors’ bodies and brains active at all times.
** If you want to have a go at fishing, try D’Best Recreation’s five-hectare fishing pond at Pasir Ris Town Park. You gain improved dexterity and coordination when handling the fishing rod, a better level of focus and concentration, and the ability to maintain nerves of steel as the fish takes the bait. Southeast Asia’s largest saltwater pond operates 24/7 and has a variety of ponds for you to try. The Sure Catch zone is where you are guaranteed to leave with a catch, while the Main Pond is where the general crowd go to hang out and socialise.
There is also the Premium Pond where beginners and seasoned anglers can catch seawater fishes such as mangrove jacks, golden snappers and red drums, weighing up to 20kg per fish and the Pro Pond which has fishes weighing over 30kg. There is no special pricing for seniors but standard rates apply, however, there are different pricings for the different ponds, time slots and days of the week.