Posted by: 1000fish | May 23, 2017

Sean Stole My Red Bull

Dateline: October 2, 2016 – Singapore

This will be a short and spiteful blog. Sure, there are several new species to report, but the main takeaway is that I had looked forward to a Red Bull all afternoon on a hot day in Singapore, only to discover that Sean drank it. He claims this was an accident, but I – DON’T – THINK – SO. He shall be immortalized in 1000fish as a bad person, not as bad as Jamie perhaps, but pretty bad.

You may recall Sean from “The Hengray,” and I too was blindsided that this fresh-faced kid could do something so vicious.

That’s the culprit.

This all started with the Hengmasters – Dave and Jimmy – and yes, they came through again. We’ll get to that in a moment, but first I have to again remind you that Sean left me with only a stale Diet Pepsi. You would think Jimmy would be more careful about who he lets on the boat, so I also blame him, and Dave. And Jamie.

But the first day of heng didn’t even involve them. Dave was working, and I wanted to go fishing, so he introduced me to Sherwin. Sherwin, as OCD as the rest of us, specializes in chasing the assorted cichlids found throughout the fresh water in Singapore. These range from small chromides, to large tilapia, to some positively humongous peacock bass. He loves casting lures, and we met up one afternoon at an undisclosed location which I will not disclose.

We started tossing some hard baits, and small peacocks showed up in force. The guy knows his stuff. We got seven or eight quickly, and one of them looked unfamiliar enough to photograph. More on that later.

Steve, Sherwin, and the peacock bass that sparked a lengthy scientific discussion.

Singapore is a lot easier to get to than the Amazon River.

We walked up and down the bank, and kept running into small schools of bass. Most fish were 1-2 pounds, but we saw a few bigger ones, and let’s face it, it’s always fun to be tossing an expensive lure that had been sitting on a shelf for five years. (Sure, they make nice artwork, but Marta won’t let them out of the garage.) We passed about two hours this way, but eventually, my deep-rooted inner desire to see what other species were there took over. I pulled out the bag of white bread I carry for such occasions and set up a float rod. Over the years, I have gotten all kinds of weird fish doing this at various locations in Singapore – a few examples from prior trips below.

One of the odd central American chromides that has escaped aquariums and happily gone wild in Singapore.

Midas cichlid. The place is loaded with ’em, and they are easy to sight fish.

And if you know where to look, there are some darn big tilapia. Note – fishing in urban areas can be regulated, so check before you start fishing. They cane people here. (Amusing when applied to rich American teenagers – no “affluenza” here.)

So I had high hopes for our new spot, undisclosed though it was, and the Fish Gods let me do well. I started out by catching a few solid cichlids, which I suspect were melanuras, but if any ichthyologists are reading, I would welcome their opinions. If I could prove this is NOT a melanura, I caught one big enough for a record. If it is a melanura, Marty Arostegui has caught about three dozen bigger ones.

Could this be the same creature I caught in Miami?

Then the hornet tilapia moved in.

Local girls jump into a fish photo. My guess is that they are 1000fish readers, or they thought I was Brad Pitt. Hurtfully, Marta suggested that neither option is likely.

The hornets all very solid – but nowhere close to the beast I got in Miami a few years ago.

Miami – April 23, 2013. Current record on the hornet tilapia, caught with white bread from the Hilton breakfast buffet.

We closed up shop toward dark, and after I went back to the Hyatt, I started researching the peacock. After numerous consultations with Martini Arostegui and Dr. Alfredo Carvalho, the fish was identified as Cichla ocellaris, a peacock not on my list. Only it SHOULD have been, because as it turns out, I caught it with the Arosteguis five years ago. Yes, I know I’ve had a couple of these screwups, but Martini owed me this one after he took away my grass porgy.

Steve with the same species, courtesy of Dr. Marty Arostegui, July 30, 2011.

So Sherwin more or less got me a species, and more importantly, he didn’t drink my Red Bull.

Just to show you what a star Sherwin is, he invited me out for a short trip a few nights later, just to cast for the bigger peacocks. I can now tell you that they are there from personal experience – all it takes is a Pointer minnow and a medium spinning setup, and sooner or later, you’ll get one like this.

Thank you Sherwin.

Later in the week, it was time to head out with Dave and Jimmy.

Dave with a narrowbarred Spanish mackerel. Yes, he used that rod and reel.

We let Sean come along because I thought he was a nice kid, and because he promised to stay in the front of the boat and not bother us. It started out as such a nice day, and I brought along my requisite 7-11 food, including an extra Red Bull which I was counting on to pep me up in the late afternoon hours. Jimmy is a superstar guide – you can contact him at or

We started out with me pitching live shrimp, and Dave throwing jigs. As the air warmed up, fish started hitting, and I got a nice Indian Pompano.

These things are so cool.

Dave got an assortment of stuff on the metal, and for the rest of the morning and early afternoon, I fished sabikis and caught two species, less than glamorous perhaps, but they’re on the scoreboard. The first was the blackspot sardine.

It’s a sardine. It’s got black spots. Not much to tell here.

The next one was a bit more interesting – the sulphur goatfish.

These colorful little fish are found throughout the Indo-Pacific.

We fished into late afternoon, and I was wiped out. But I had that Red Bull on ice, and the mere thought of it had kept me going. Finally, about 4pm, I opened the cooler. There was no Red Bull. I diplomatically inquired “Who the **** took my Red Bull?!” Sean looked up, with those innocent eyes of his, and said “That was yours?”

In Singapore, it is considered rude to kill someone over soft drinks, so I had to accept what had happened in a mature and forgiving fashion, which is hard because I am neither. (Hurtfully, Marta suggested that this is correct.) I loudly made it known that Sean was a bad person and that my afternoon was ruined.

We pulled up to the dock just past six, and Sean, recognizing that my mood had dipped dangerously, sprinted off the boat. He’s fast, and I figured I had made my point. But a few minutes later, he reappeared, carrying four cold Red Bulls and a look of contrition.

Steve forgives Sean and makes $12 the hard way.

And yes, Sean is still welcome on the boat. But I’m putting a padlock on the cooler.



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