Monday, February 20, 2012

Gone Fishing!!!

Hey ya'll

The monsoon winds, which seem to have finally hit us with full force have brought about it constant torrential downpours and the occasional flooding in certain areas. But more than just bad weather and varying levels of inconvenience this may pose to the average Malaysian, they sure have brought with them also an explosion of life. Once bone-dry areas have become filled with water, and as many of these are in fact overspill from a great number of drains, rivers or streams they undoubtedly carry within them an abundance of fresh-water organisms. Indeed I happened to chance upon one such location earlier today. Having left my appointment with Dr. Moore some one hour earlier than expected, I left the office early to take a leisurely stroll down the road leading to the carpark. Presently a darting dragonfly caught my attention and I casually started to follow it. I had no intention to capture the dragonfly as I had not my net on hand but I could see that it was circling what seemed to be a stagnant water source and I was hoping to catch it in the act of egg laying or other such behavior. Upon strolling towards the water-source, however, I discovered to my amusement that it was quite positively brimming with all sorts of minute aquatic creatures.

What was really an abandoned drain had quite literally turned into a self-contained paradise in but the span of a few days! Grass-like moss had begun to grow on the bits of concrete creating the illusion of grassy hills and meadows. Larger strands of water plants with small purple flowers floated languidly on the surface. In between these darted all sorts of fish, some larger than most, but none bigger than my little finger. Indeed, though they could not have been there for more than 3-4 days (the drain was still bone dry when I last passed it last Thursday) it seemed that the aquatic inhabitants had adapted themselves to it quite succesfully. Already many of the fish were spawning and I could see their miniscule babies darting about the grass-like moss, feeding no doubt on the microscopic things that dwelt within. Why I was abuzz with excitement at finding the latter that I almost completely forgot the dragonfly. Fetching the plastic container I now carry everywhere I go, I scooped up some of the water (which was as clear as freshly filtered tap water, by the way) and with it, three of the small baby fish (the larger ones were too nimble to catch without the aid of a net!) I surmised that the fish and other inhabitants of this particular self-contained ecosystem must have been inadvertantly washed into their current location by the storm that occured several days past.

Three of the little "Drain fish" I managed to catch. There were some rather colorful looking fish swimming in the mix and I wonder if any of these would grow up to be one of those! I wonder if they can inter-breed succesfully with any of my guppies!

On a separate note, I also allowed myself to indulge in a different kind of "fishing" later in the day. Turns out that a sort of small carnival of sorts was taking place at the Sunway University and one of the games they had was the traditional Japanese one of catching a fish with a net made out of tissue paper. I believe the trick with such games is to exercise the right ammount of precision and delicacy to catch live goldfish and baby carp without rupturing the delicate piece of tissue paper that is strung between the wire frame of a net.

The more conventional fun-fair fishing pond with hundreds of small golfdfish and baby carp.
Though Ray would not consent to catching "Drain fish" with me, he was more than agreeable at trying his hand with these fun-fair fish.
I exercised some delicate and precision fishing myself and ended up catching three small sized carp! No doubt one of the highest catch rates of the day because many people tried at the same time and failed to catch even one. The trick, of course, was to allow the disturbances of their frantically waving tissue-nets to scare the fishes over into my quadrant where they could be scooped up most delicately as they casually swam on top of my own film of tissue paper. Ray also caught one fish himself, and this was despite the fact that his tissue net had a hole in it!!!

Our prized catches of the day! Two of the carp are really deformed if you look at them carefully (they have crooked spines) and I think this is possibly due to the effect of in-breeding as many of these fish have been bred so many times over.
 I ended up putting the baby carp in together with my little "drain fish" because the plastic bags offered by the people at the fair seemed insufficient for the fish but it turned out to be quite a mistake as one of the more rambunctious of the carps belatedly made a meal out of the smallest drain fish I had caught. Oh well, if it doesn't rain today, I can always go back and catch more of them tomorrow!!!


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