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Reminiscences on fishing in yester years

Amy & I were having our usual afternoon tea.

We were savouring our respective favourites of cheese cakes & scones, as we reminiscenced on our fishing days of yester years.

Amy and I are confidantes & buddies, for over half a century.  We were, in yester years, fishing buddies too.  Naturally, whenever we meet now, we invariably recall those wonderful times when we went on shore fishing with our (then) boyfriends.

At that point in time, we were in our early twenties.  The entertainment scene during those days were simple but costly, especially for wage earners alike us.  Further, there weren’t many choices:  Saturday afternoon tea dance, an occasional evening show, which again, was costly.  A more economical choice was walks in one of the few parks.

It was boring, and a far cry from the myriads of events, we have now.

Then we hit on the idea of going shore fishing.

Fishing was fun, exciting & unpredictable!  We won’t know what we would catch; till we land the wriggly, writhing catch…we ever caught a couple of sea snakes.

Besides being fun, it was low cost & economical.

Richard, the handyman in our group, fashioned our rods out of bamboo.  We baited with sandworms caught at low tide, from the beach.  All we invested in were some hooks, reels of lines & bells; at the princely sum total of $1; or a contribution of 25 cents each person.

Fishing was not merely fishing for us.  Many a times, when the time & tide were suitable, we did multiple events during our fishing trips:  4-in-1 (picnic dinner on the beach, harvesting clams, casting for prawns & fishing) or 2-in-1 (collecting clam & casting of prawns).

High tide at 10 pm was our favourite, as it was most suitable for a 4-in-1 event.

Richard, my boyfriend, would come round at 5:30 pm to fetch me in his pick-up.  We would then drive to the junction where the road branched out into a dirt track.  The track led to our fishing destination

William & Amy would wait for us at the junction.

Upon our arrival, Amy would climb into the front cabin to sit next to me.  We started bantering even before William hopped onto the back of the pick-up.  Then, off we go, laughing, giggling and ribbing each other as we bounced up & down in Richard’s faithful, 12 years old, rickety pick-up.  We careened along the dirt track to the beach.

Upon arrival, Richard would “take order” to buy food & drinks for our picnic; before heading off to Changi Village for the purchase. William, Amy & I, stayed behind on the beach.  High tide at 10 pm translated to low tide at 6 pm, the approximate time of our arrival at the beach.

While the “girls” prepared for the picnic, William would set about digging for sand worms for bait for fishing.  The worms made me squirmed.  To this date, I have never, ever touched one.

After laying out the picnic mat, we weighed down the 4 corners with stones.  Then, Amy and I changed into our pair of white, canvas shoes (Cost $0.90 per pair); each of us picked a thick twig along the beach.  Then we walked towards large track of exposed seabed (happens at low tide) to dig for clams.  We harvested more than 10 kg of clams, rather easily, in less than an hour.  Satisfied, we both returned to the shoreline to find firewood to build a fire.  We always ensure that we picnicked on ground higher than the sea level at high tide.  The fire would be kindled a short distant from our mat.

By then, Richard would be back with our food & drinks for our picnic on the beach.

… To be continued …