Hooked on fishing

Attention, anglers: A fishing competition is giving away a trip to Northern Australia and a chance to win close to $1 million as its top prize.

Held over two days at two locations, the competition requires participants to net as many barramundi as possible.

The two individuals from each day who reel in the most number of fish will win an all-expenses paid trip to the Northern Territory, where they will compete in a larger fishing tournament there.

Called Ready, Get Set, Cast!, the competition will be held at Pasir Ris Fishing Pond in Pasir Ris Town Park tomorrow and the fishing pond in Orto leisure park in Lorong Chencharu on Sunday.

Anglers can enter the competition on either or both days. They can choose to contest individually or as part of a group of up to five, but there will only be one winner each day.

Close to 2,000 barramundi will be released over the next two days for the competition.

The two Singapore winners will travel to Australia's Northern Territory, where they can take part in a larger fishing "lottery" in the waters of Top End, which includes locations such as Darwin, Willigi and Dundee Beach.

Seventy-six barramundi will be tagged and released from next month. One of them carries a A$1 million (S$994,920) prize tag and the remaining 75 carry A$10,000 tags.

Entrants will need to catch the barramundi, snap a photo of the fish with the tag and submit it before keeping or releasing the fish. There is no limit to how many barramundi a participant can net.

The competition will run till Feb 29 next year and is open to anyone aged 18 and above.

In a bid to lure visitors to the area considered as one of Australia's top fishing destinations, a spokesman for Tourism Northern Territory tells Life that it was "a natural decision to extend the competition to the Singapore market".

He adds that close to 30,000 people have signed up so far since registration opened in July.

Ready, Get Set, Cast!, organised by local fishing magazine Hooked and online angling website Fishing Kaki, with the support of Tourism Northern Territory, is part of a lively and burgeoning fishing scene in Singapore.

Mr Luke Gino Cunico, 38, owner of Fishing Kaki, says: "We've seen more engagement and traction across the forums and social media pages - more buying and selling and more conversations, and traffic has gone up fourfold in the past three years."

He estimates that more than 1,000 anglers and onlookers will attend the tournament this weekend.

Mr Sadat Osman, 29, a writer for Hooked magazine and long-time angler, adds that fishing has evolved from a hobby for old and retired men to a sport for the young and trendy.

He says: "Although there are those who turn to fishing for a quiet day to relax with friends, many are going fishing for sport. They search for big or rare fish for the purpose of checking it off their bucket list."

One of them is businessman Bone Lim, 35, who will be attending the tournament at Orto on Sunday.

He has been fishing since he was eight and has participated in 10 local and overseas fishing contests in the past three years, of which he has come in first for three. Mr Lim says: "I relish the challenge of catching fish. It's a sport that requires practice, skill and patience."

For administrative executive Amanda Kartini, who is attending the contest tomorrow, fishing is her ideal form of downtime. She fishes nearly every weekend with her fiance at the pond in Neo Tiew Crescent.

The 31-year-old says: "Apart from the very attractive prize, I get to fish, which helps me de-stress after a hard day of work."


Ready, Get Set, Cast!
Where: Saturday at D'Best Fishing Pond (Pasir Ris main pond), Pasir Ris Town Park, 90 Pasir Ris Central and Sunday at the Fishing Paradise at Orto, 81 Lorong Chencharu
When: Saturday, 7am to 5pm and Sunday, 7am to 7pm
Admission: $69 on Saturday and $60 on Sunday
Info: Go to www.facebook.com/events/411410162379149/ and www.milliondollarfish.com.au

This article was first published on September 25, 2015.
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