Learning How to Fish From A Gen Z Expert
Could Gen Z fishing be a thing? HYPE’s rookie fisherman Charleen Leonita spends her day at Bedok Jetty to see what lessons she could learn, including how to catch anything at all.
Gen Z fishing is actually a trend, but does Charleen have what it takes to be an angler as well? Photo taken by Charleen Leonita.
Places Section Editor
Hype Issue #54
April 22, 2022
Just like other trendy 90s hobbies: inline skating, hiking, and rollerblading, the art of fishing has seen a sort of revival in recent times.
I have always dismissed fishing as an older man’s hobby. That was until I realised that celebrities such as The Rock and Michael Jordan have all discussed the mental health benefits of fishing.
Consider me a trend follower, I am simply the type to follow my favourite celebrities’ hobbies, and it was time to give fishing a go.
The thing about fishing is that it is not as easy as just casting a line into the sea, I know I would need help getting started.
Lucky for me, I have heard of Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s very own angler, Yi Xuan, 20 and he graciously agreed to be part of my very first fishing experience despite his own busy schedule.
10 years of fishing and Yi Xuan shows us his glorious catches. Photo courtesy of Yi Xuan.
Yi Xuan has been fishing for 10 years ever since he watched the documentary, River Monsters, where a marine biologist investigates monster-sized fishes capable of river drownings. Captivated by the beauty of the different fishes he saw on screen, he decided to try catching his own, and you could say from then, he was hooked.
I met Yi Xuan at Bedok Jetty on a bright Sunday morning, as mornings were apparently the best time to fish despite the extreme humidity. However, I could not complain as while I was applying my sunscreen and in the midst of pulling up my heat protection sleeves, Yi Xuan had already prepared a whole set up in mere minutes.
From organising the different varieties of fishing baits to lining up the fishing lines, and even skillfully tying up each knot to the hook of the lines, I was in awe at the lightning fast speed and agility he took to complete each and every step.
“Setting up seems to be tedious to beginners, but as you get used to the process it becomes therapeutic,” says Yi Xuan. “Moreover, a good set up leads to a good catch.”
Fishing baits are not always the prettiest, but they can certainly attract the fishes. Photo taken by Charleen Leonita.
When Yi Xuan instructed me to attach the squid to the two hooks on the fishing line, the smile was instantly wiped off my face. It was smelly and hard to hold, but because I really wanted to give fishing a genuine go, I did it anyway. Soon my hand was covered in squid ink from trying to get a firm hold of the squid to place it onto the hook.
After a short theory lesson on how to use the fishing line, it was time to get down and dirty. My heart raced and stomach churned, would I actually be able to catch a fish?
Once your line goes in the water, be prepared that fishes could nibble it instantly, it is about your speed and instinct, that was Yi Xuan’s advice. Taking a deep breath, I casted my line into the deep waters and sure enough, fishes were nibbling right away.
Charleen (left) celebrating her catches of the day. Photo taken by Charleen Leonita.
Using every ounce of strength from the adrenaline pumping in my bloodstream, I rewound my fishing line and out came the tiniest fish I have ever seen. But I could not be any happier, this was my first catch!
“The thrill of catching a fish plays a big part.” Yi Xuan says. “As time passes, I find myself seeking less for the thrill from fishing. I now fish to escape from reality and go to a zone where I can expect the unexpected. The serenity and tranquillity I experience from fishing helps to keep me destressed and relaxed.”
It must have been beginner’s luck as from then on, the waiting game was a long one and after two hours of fishing, I only caught two more fishes. Yi Xuan however did commend me for the great job that day as most beginners can hardly catch a fish on their first try.
Group photo taken at the end of a great fishing day. Photo taken by Barani Vicnan.
I did have tons of fun fishing; it was a great experience knowing about Yi Xuan’s hobby and getting to meet the different resident anglers at Bedok Jetty.
CTV production plays the waiting game to catch some fishes. Photo taken by Charleen Leonita.
The only cons I have from this whole experience is the immense heat. It has been two months since that fateful fishing day but I still have tan lines from the burning morning sun. Nevertheless, I did not mind it at all as when you do catch a fish, no matter how big or small, the feeling of accomplishing something you set out to do overwhelms you in a way that no heat can rob.
To those interested in trying their hand at fishing, Yi Xuan says,
Fishing is an activity where you can bond with friends and loved ones, the more company the better as you can experience thrilling, intense and even funny moments!
You can find Yi Xuan on his social media, @facepalmfishing.