Fishing Tales

By Wapke Henson.


Photo by Jed Owen on Unsplash

Fishing with a rod and bait can be boring, and honestly, there are far more exciting ways to catch a fish.

Take, for example, a villager from the Momina language group in the Southern Lowlands of West Papua. He will stop his canoe at a particular log that is sticking out of the river. He sits comfortably on top of that log and dangles his leg in the water. The big Ki Tobuenee (meaning - head fish) loves to hide in those deep and murky waters beneath, and before long, the man feels something soft sucking on his toes. He gets rather excited but manages to keep his leg still. He begins to feel that his toes are being sucked into something wet and slimy and knows what is happening. The fish doesn't and is on his last suck ever. It keeps working upwards, and as soon as the poor thing gets past his ankle, the Momina man lifts his foot like a flash and wacks the fish on the head. Great dinner!

Of course, this is hard to believe unless you have seen it with your own eyes! It may help to know that certain indigenous Australians in the Northern Territories catch one particular fish in the same manner, but with their hands. They hold a tiny fish and wiggle it in the water, sounding like a dinner bell for the Barramundi. Soon it sucks on the small fish but does not realise where the fish ends and the hand starts. It must be like being in fish heaven until the thumb and index finger reach the throat, and the man flicks them through the gills—end of fish.

Fishing has played a part in people's lives for thousands of years, and for many, it has been their primary means of survival. The following is what happened to Simon and his two fishing partners James and John more than 2000 years ago after a fruitless night of fishing. At dawn, utterly disheartened and dejected, they pulled their boats up and washed their nets. That's when they noticed a crowd nearby, and a man was coming towards them. It was Jesus, and he got into Simon's boat. "Push it out a little from the shore", he said, and there was something in his eyes which silenced any objections Simon may have had at that moment.

After he finished speaking to the crowd, he had the audacity to say "Push your boat out further and let your nets down in deep water". Of course, Simon objected, "Master", he said, "we have fished all night long and caught nothing". Then, realising for the second time that morning that he could not refuse, he added, "but if you say so we will let down the nets".

The catch was so spectacular that the other fishermen had to come and help. In total disbelief, Simon surveyed the catch on the beach, then looked up into the face of Jesus and felt totally overwhelmed. "Please leave", he said to Jesus, but Jesus had other ideas, and as a result, not only Simon but also James and John left their boats and their gear and followed Jesus. They could not refuse.

As if that was not enough, another strange fishing incident happened to Simon, now also called Peter. There were the collectors of the temple tax, suspicious by nature and eager to catch a tax dodger. Hesitant to ask Jesus himself, because of the stories they had heard about him, they questioned Peter as to whether Jesus usually paid the temple tax. "Yes", he replied eager to remove any suspicion to the contrary. He did have a problem though because it had not yet been paid and the money bag was most likely empty. That is when Jesus told him to go out to the lake and throw out his line. The first fish he caught had a four-drachma coin in its mouth with which he paid the temple tax for both Jesus and himself. Unbelievable?

I would like to have met Jesus. Fishing would have been good with him around! He was crucified at age 33, yet some say that He is alive today. What was that you said?

Hard to swallow?

©2019 by Croydon Hills & Wonga Park Anglican Church.

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