My Other Life with Sumant Rajendran

PM360 recently spoke to Sumant Rajendran, Senior Director, Marketing at SCILEX Pharmaceuticals, about his best fishing tales.

PM360: How did you first get into fishing?

Sumant Rajendran: I blame it all on my grandad. He filled my impressionable 4-year-old head with tales of giant fish caught in the rivers of his youth in India. Forward to age 10, my poor father, who had no knowledge of fishing, valiantly lugged me around to rivers in Nigeria (where we then lived), as we muddled around trying to find fish foolish enough to impale themselves on our rusty hooks. But my fishing journey began in earnest when I was 22 and a grad student in Japan. I taught myself and that need to fish in my DNA finally got to express itself fully.

Sumant dreams of halibut in his sleep—and turning it into something delicious.

What kind of fishing do you most enjoy now?

I love the sea, but I’m strictly a shore fisherman. No boats please. Not only do I swim like a stone, I also get spectacularly seasick. Experience has taught me that, sadly, my utility on boats is limited to chumming my breakfast over the rail for other, more seaworthy anglers.

Where are your favorite places to go fishing? What fish do you like to catch?

The San Francisco Bay Area, where I live, has plenty of ocean front, but I favor the calm back bay, especially as I’m training the next generation now. My boy loves to fish (his twin sister, despite all my indoctrination said, “Eek. Yucky” and scampered away when she caught her first fish). We dream of halibut. Especially breaded and converted to fish fingers.

Sumant has passed his love of fishing onto his son.

Do you have any dream fishing locations?

Mexico has some fabulous surf fishing and Australia has so much undeveloped coastline to camp and explore.

What is the biggest fish you’ve ever caught?

That would be in 2010 when I traveled halfway across the world back to Japan, then 10 hours by ferry to a picturesque little tropical island with a grand population of 60. It was all to get my shot at catching giant trevally (GT) from shore, in the short season when they come into the harbor at night to feed on spawning flying fish. GT fishing is like life in the Middle Ages: nasty, brutish, and short—you have to stop the fish before it busts you off on coral. Which I managed to do at 10:40 pm after a heart-pounding fight to catch and release this 45-pounder that literally had me weak at the knees.

Sumant’s biggest fish: a 45-pound giant trevally.

What is your best piece of advice for an amateur fisherman?

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, and then take up something more productive, such as drinking water with a sieve. Fishing from the shore is not for everyone. In fact, it’s remarkably high effort/low reward. But if after a string of tiring, time-consuming, unsuccessful outings, just when “fish” is rapidly becoming a four-letter word to you…you finally feel a sudden, jarring tug on your line and your heart feels the tug too, then, my friend, you might be hooked.


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