Peacock Bass, Singapore-Style

Noting that Singaporeans are just as likely as their Western counterparts to practice snobbery, writer and guide James Card says that fishing for peacocks in Singapore canals carries with it all the social/legal trappings of that island city-state. “He said the peacock bass (the butterfly strain, cichla ocellaris) were stocked by “some wiseguy” years ago and the population took off; however, angling in the reservoirs was not allowed at the time. When the ban was lifted, fishing was allowed only at designated points, as it still is today. There are no catch limits, size limits, fishing licenses or angling rules of any kind — other than the stipulation that you must fish from the exact spot the government tells you to fish from.” In The New York Times.
Just imagine what happens if you drop used fishing line on the ground.

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  • Phil Monahan

    I was in Singapore last April and stopped in at the one fly shop there ( http://www.cohoflyshop.com/ ). I was impressed by the selection of gear and flies (the shop sells mostly to businessmen traveling to NZ and Australia), and the owner told me that there is an underground fly-fishing community that fishes in places other than those approved by the government. Apparently, these anglers and the police have developed a mutual don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy. The anglers never ask permission to fish in an unauthorized spot (for then the police have to say “no”), and the police never arrest anyone for fishing where they shouldn’t. But if you’re fishing in an unauthorized spot and you see a policeman, you are to reel up and relocate immediately. This way the police don’t have to bother the anglers, but also don’t look like they are ignoring scofflaws. It’s a delicate balance in a city that is run somewhat like a police state.

  • Hi
    Thanks Phil for dropping by Coho. It is not easy to keep and run Coho as fly fishing to Singapore is as alien here as Fish Head Assam Curry is to Caucasians! We are most happy to hear that you were impressed by Coho and it is moments like this that keeps us going on. Fishing in the reservoirs were only recently allowed and even so at only designated areas. If you have been living here, you would be able to understand why the authority were hesitant – land is scarce and most of our water is imported from Malaysia. The reservoirs are our only source of reserved water as we are not blessed by beautiful running rivers nor bountiful with lakes..
    We encourage our fly anglers to practice catch-n-release and to be respectful of nature and the authority so most times the rangers would just give verbal warnings. In time we do hope more areas will be available for fishing but we too must strive to bring awareness that we all are responsible for our surroundings.
    Meanwhile lets keep this “delicate balance” and after all; its not ALWAYS about the “fish” no?
    Annie Lee
    http://www.cohoflyshop.com