I was battling against an unseen foe, sweat dripping down my face. The line grew taut. I was about to learn just how good my prized rod was. This could be the big one…or it could be a rusty bucket or subligar. Victory was just waiting for me. As I was taking a break from writing to enjoy the exhilarating sport of fishing, I overheard an interesting rumor.
Ever since the days when fishing was still a fairly uncommon practice in Vana'diel, Mr. Wang has tried out fishing techniques and found good fishing spots without any help--He simply explored using his rod and his own two feet. Once, we even introduced him in the Tribune, earning him a certain degree of fame. Apparently, he recently began a special fishing event!
The tournament's name is simple enough--"The First Giant Catfish Fishing Tournament."
The rules of the tournament are also simple--Whoever catches the biggest, heaviest giant catfish wins! Confident of victory, fishing experts are flooding Mr. Wang with requests to join the event. The winner of the tournament will receive not only a nice load of cash, but also a fishing rod made by Mr. Wang himself! Even those who don't reach the top will be able to sell the giant catfish that they fished to a shop for gil, and a monetary reward goes out to the catcher of the smallest fish, so everyone gains!
"Every day I get over ten applications for the contest. I've been fishing for several years, but people are sending me fish bigger than any I've seen yet! It also gave me a chuckle to see that many people are aiming for the booby prize right from the start."
The booby prize seems easy to obtain, but is unexpectedly difficult when attempted. Mr. Wang has flared the participants' curiosity further by not disclosing the amount of the cash prize. With all of the fierce competition, perhaps we will see some catfish the size of goldfish!
"I'm sure I'll be mobbed by applicants as the deadline approaches, so we'll just see what happens!" exclaimed Mr. Wang with a broad grin.
The cash prizes are quite extravagant, but most of it comes straight from Mr. Wang's own pocket. He has worked hard to save up enough to bestow as a gift to a worthy adventurer. But where did the idea come from to hold the tournament until the necessary funds were available?
"Even though you introduced me as a fervent advocate of fishing, I realized I hadn't really done anything about my hobby, so I decided to start the tournament as a way of saying thank you to all of my supporters."
I myself am a fisherwoman greatly inspired by Mr. Wang, so I'm deeply touched that he is answering our support and gratitude by opening his pocke…er, that is, his heart…to us.
Of course, none of it would be possible without the uniquely named worker behind-the-scenes, Mr. Fisherman. Every day, he ranks the giant catfish that are sent in as contest entries and sells them at the shops. Dragging over a hundred giant fish to market each day is not a walk in the park!
"Everyone calls me Mr. Fisherman, but I'm definitely more of a fish dealer," he clarified with a smile.
The tournament's name begins with "The First." Does this mean that there will be more tournaments in the future?
"I would love to make it a regular event if it goes well this time. Also, it would be great if others use me as an example and hold similar tournaments in faraway lands! I decided to label it 'The First' with those expectations in mind."
The way it appears to be going so far, the tournament is shaping up to be a huge success. While it would be nice for the trend to spread, I personally hope that Mr. Wang himself continues to hold the event!
"Well, I guess I had better go make the rod I promised as a reward!"
And with a warm smile doused in twilight, the legendary fisherman melted into the evening shadows.
The next day, I headed out with my husband Tathuma to take a stab at Mr. Wang's rewards.
Tathuma: "All right, here goes nothing!"
Myhal: "What a hard worker… Are you aiming for the grand prize?"
Tathuma: "I just want to get rid of this bait so it doesn't end up in my lunch tomorrow!"