Hooked on prawns and keen to shell out tips

Hooked on prawns and keen to shell out tips
Mr Anthony Lim, with a bucket of river crayfish straight out of the pond.

There are easier ways to get prawns, but none gives Mr Anthony Lim as much of a thrill as hooking the little critters himself.

What started out as a family activity for him and his four children four years ago has grown into an obsession for the 44-year-old.

Mr Lim, who runs a business consultancy firm, is now a familiar face at commercial prawning ponds in Singapore, splashing out about $800 a month on the hobby.

He prawns at least thrice a week and his favourite haunts are Riviera in Punggol and Orto in Yishun. He is also often seen at Hai Bin, another facility in Punggol.

In three hours, he can haul in close to 4.5kg of prawns - with each weighing between 30g and 450g.

Mr Lim details his prawning adventures on a Facebook page, Prawn Fishing Kaki, which has more than 14,000 likes.

One of his Facebook followers is freelance chef Lim Siew Ching.

"He's well known among the prawn fishing community," said the 44-year-old, who recalled how Mr Lim gave her tips on how to be better at the sport.

At Hai Bin, Mr Lim is among the "top 10 prawners", said Ms Yvonne Kwan, 30, marketing manager of the prawning facility.

"Business has improved since he came, because he'll bring along his followers," she said.

Mr Lim was not always good at prawning. On his first attempt, when he took his family to a commercial pond in Punggol, he caught only 25 prawns. "This was after I invested $66 renting two rods for three hours. With the cost of the worms, it was $68 in total. Very expensive. I thought, if I'm going to spend so much time and money on it, I must do my own research to get better at it."

He watched YouTube videos and even kept prawns as pets, feeding them at different times of the day to see when they would bite.

"Between 5am and 7am, and 7pm and 9pm are when the prawns get agitated and eat a lot," he said.

Last March, he flew to Taiwan, where the sport originated, to learn from a "prawning master".

His tips for those new to prawn fishing? The float, which is attached to the rod, must be 1cm to 1.5cm above the surface and the fishing hook must be sharp enough to stay on one's thumbnail.

Strangely enough, although Mr Lim loves catching prawns, he does not like eating them.

And because his family cannot finish eating his haul, he gives what he catches to an old folks' home.

Sometimes, he gives his catch to people around him at the prawning facility, in particular, families with young kids.

"I know how sad it is when you want to prove yourself to your kids but end up netting only five or seven prawns," he said.

This article was first published on July 23, 2015.
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