5 Nov 2008

Fishing Tales - A background

Fishing & myself have some inherent connection. Not that I've been an ace angler or something even close. In fact I've never hardly caught any fishes other than a few minnows. (Oh and - i'm referring to fishes belonging to the aquatic kingdom here - so no naughty abstractions). Still somehow, the fishing hobby has always held my fancy.

Tracing back, I can recollect - it started with childhood days spent accompanying elders on occasional fishing trips in hometown Kerala. Of course these were once in a year sojourns - usually during school vacations but it was mighty interesting.

Valiyacchan (Father's elder brother) & his sons were pro's at these things. Seeing them around late evenings with some traditional fishing gear tucked behind their backs would be a definite signal that some adventure was in store for the day. During daytime they were the hard-working village folks that toiled on the fields with pride - tilling the fertile earth & raising crops. During evenings they would gather at the village square - pay obeisance at the local temple, indulge in card-games beneath the huge village banyan tree. Their voices could be heard during late-evenings, laced with humor & typical village lingo.

So it wasn't funny that most of their fishing expeditions started late night. Sometimes they would arrive at around midnight. Father would join them from home en-route to the river. Myself - would often be asleep at that time and miss a chance to see the process - only getting to see a share of the catch laid out on plantain leaves in the kitchen in the morning.

The techniques were quite varied too. From eel-fishing using bamboo net-traps to circular net-fishing using tapioca leaves as the bait or bomb fishing, more than catching choicy fish - it was a learning experience.

Very soon - I'll be posting a detailed overview of each technique as a separate post.

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