Saturday, May 9, 2009

where can you catch real longkong fish?

this was the type of fish we used to catch in the stream that ran beside our kampong house. when we first moved into the kampong, it was a natural stream, with a sandy bed and plants growing on both sides of the stream. sustenance for the guppies came in the form of tubifex worms which were plentiful in the stream.

in later years, they converted it into a concrete drain. the worm population was reduced to small lumps of them found between the gaps of the drain. the catfish, fresh-water eels and bigger fish gradually disappeared but the guppies were still around, though in smaller numbers.

i also remember going to a bigger and wider stream that ran outside the old police academy and the singapore polo club to catch guppies and another species which we children referred to as 'satay' fish; no, it is not the dried, crispy kind that you buy from tan kim hock in melaka. it appears to be a bigger version of the guppy and it has streaks of silver on its body.

when my two girls were younger - the elder one in her early teen and the younger one in her pre-teen - i would take them once in a while to the drain near novena terrace to catch the same kind of longkang fish that i caught when i was a kid in the stream next to my house.

there are still quite a few places in singapore where you can take your young children to catch longkang fish, lawfully, for free. in fact with the improved state of cleanliness in our waterways including drains, there should be more places where these fish can survive.

definitely, no catching of fish at the many reservoirs or the steams leading into them or out of them unless you want to risk a fine. (the above pictures of guppies were taken at the macritchie reservoir.)

it is not advisable to go down into canals to do this because of the inherent dangers. most canals have forms of waterlife, including guppies and bigger fish. however, they tend to be deeper and there is the danger of flash flood or a sudden rise in the water level.

a more dignified and safer way of experiencing this is to take your children to one of the many fish farms in the lim chu kang, sungei tengah and yishun areas where for $5, your children can try to capture as many fish as they can, with some assistance from mom and dad. (i have seen grown-ups going into the 'longkang' with a scoop to catch the fish. so, it is not so dignified, after all.)

you can read more about longkang fishing in this posting by seenthisscenethat.

so, where can you catch longkang fish the authentic way? i have caught some in the drain (above picture) along kranji way. i have seen longkang fish in the drain near the former national institute of education along bukit timah road.

this blog post has a number of pictures of the dad showing sonny how to catch longkang fish in a drain near cedar girls' school.

in fact, in any stream or drain today where the flow of water is continuous you are more than likely to find the longkang fish (guppies) surviving in it. it is not like those days in the 60s where the water in some drains was putrid. even if there was a constant flow of water, no ordinary living things would have survived in that kind of water.


nah said...

When I was a kid, catching wild guppies in the streams was a favourite pastime. We called them rainbow fish back then, because the male guppies displayed all the colours of the rainbow. In the early years, wild guppies had short fins and tails, but very intense body coloration. Even though they might not be as showy as some of the fancy guppies, they were very attractive nonetheless. Today, guppies can be seen in a myriad of different forms and colours. There are the veil-tail, delta-tail, sword-tail, and pin-tail guppies. There are guppies with snakeskin patterns on their bodies and fins such as the "king cobras" and "green snakeskins".

Lam Chun See said...

Near my house, at the end of Lily Avenue there is a big drain separating Royalville and Villa Azura. There are plentify of fishes there. When my kids were younger, they used to go there with thier friends next door.

Over at the Kallang River just behind the ITE at Bishan St 14, there are many fishes. Sometimes you can see Bangladeshi workers catching them with a net.

yg said...

chun see, i read about catching fighting fish in your blog. i never knew you could catch fighting fish in singapore until i read your blog.

Lam Chun See said...

When my children were young, I asked my Ipoh brother-in-law to bring them to places in Ipoh when they can catch some fighting fish. He refused saying my kids looked so clean and dainty, he wouldn't dream of bringing them to such places; full of mosquitoes etc.