GAME fishing rules observe that every fish should have a sporting chance.
After watching yesterday's opening day of the Omega Asian Game Fishing Federation tournament, it seems that it is not the fish, but the anglers who should have the sporting chance.
Eight boats filled with anglers went out from the Clearwater Bay Marina Club yesterday morning.
When they returned, nearly nine hours later, only eight fish had been caught.
''It was not a very good day,'' said Noel Jones, one of the boat captains.
An understatement indeed. And a huge disappointment to the participating teams, the organisers, and most of all the expectant media, who had been hoping to see fish of all shapes and sizes caught in Hong Kong's first-ever staging of the international competition.
But the fish were not biting. And the eight which were hooked yesterday were all insignificant as far as size was concerned. As they were all under two and-a-half kilograms, they had to be released.
So at the end of the day, there were no celebrations of anglers posing with their ''catch''.
Choppy seas were the reason for this. ''It was too rough and unruly. The fish certainly don't mind the weather, but it made it uncomfortable for the anglers,'' said Roy Laverty, another boat captain.
A total of eight teams are competing in the three-day tournament - three from Hong Kong, two each from Taiwan and the Philippines and one from Japan.
Was it luck or the fact that they have a knowledgable boat captain who knows local waters, that enabled the Philippines team aboard Blue Fever to catch the most number of fish? Maybe the fish were attracted to the juicy baits offered by the Filipinos.
Whatever the reason, the two Filipino teams ended the first day with a total of 600 points. Louis Aviba, team captain aboard Blue Fever, and his team landed three Mahi Mahi and one Five Finger Jack to record a total of 400 points for the top score of the day. Their countrymen on another boat, caught two Mahi Mahi to take their aggregate score to 600, two hundred more than closest contenders Hong Kong.
But yesterday was mostly a story of the one that got away. Ask Hong Kong team member Kim Stuart, who was reeling in a Mahi Mahi and was just about to get his hands on it, when the line snapped.
''It was my fault, I jerked the line,'' said a disappointed Stuart. For a couple of minutes, crew and competitors aboard China Hit had been in a state of excitement.
''When a fish bites, just see what excitement it causes,'' said team captain Tom Wright.
Well that particular fish had the last laugh, as it flashed into the ocean depths, with Stuart's $100 artificial lure embedded in his mouth.
Normality returned to China Hit. Everyone settled into their favourite spot (for the media it was flat on their backs) to await another bite. In vain.