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Saturday, April 08, 2006

Wham! Star of Jetty

Today, D wanted to cycle and so we decided to head for the legendary Bedok Jetty. Sat evening was not exactly the best time to be there as it would surely be packed like hell. Tide was to be at 10pm, so going there around 6-7pm was about just right. The place, as expected was nice and clean, and full of people. Some roller blading, some walking dog, some doing leisurely walk and more than enough people doing fishing. Only complaint was the amount of cigerette smoke around me. I personally found that very irritating. (In fact, at the end of the trip, I developed a sore throat from the smoke I inhaled.) I found a spot just mid way of the Jetty and did my first cast before the daylight go away.

Surprisingly, bite rate was quite good. Shortly after my cast, there was a bite. I picked up my 9 footer and gave a yank. Hook on! This one was a biggie for sure. I could hear my drag going *ziip ziip*, pull pull, *ziip ziip* I reeled in the line and fought for around 1 minute and then the line went limp. Darn! Arrggh! How could it happen! I retrieved the line and found that one of the lines on the apollo rig gave way. (from the mainline, the rig starts from the swivel, down to the weight with 2 extended lines with hooks. One of these came off which is very unusual) I should have lossen the drag but did not, cos no experience. Wow, that must have been big one cos it would really take a strong force to break that. That was the biggest fish that I fought and to see it peeling off my lines out my spool, it was a first.

Kind of disappointed but what to do? but to reset the rig and cast away. A fat malay guy down the jetty hitted a big one while A and D were away getting some drinks. I looked at him in envy and wished that that could have been me. A crowed gathered around him as he deftly pulled the fish up and subdued it. I couldn't see what fish that was from the distance. But it sure looked big.

Shortly after his catch, my rod went *ting ting*. I quickly grabbed my rod and set the hook. I pulled back but not sure if I got anything. Suddenly, there was a strong reactive pull at the end of the line. Yes! I got something and it was pulling out my drag. (though not as strong as the first). By now, my rod was bending and people started to notice that I had hitted something big. A crowd started to gather around me and the excitement grew. Very soon I was surrounded by people and even A and D couldn't get close to me. I was sweating off my brows as I retreived the line cautiously. I was afraid that it would break like the first. The pull of the fish was strong and I let it pull out the drag as I inched it nearer and nearer to the jetty bit by bit. All kinds of interesting suggestions and remarks from people around me. "it's a stringray", "no, it's a shark", "let the fish tire out", "move back from the railings", "are you from IBM?" (asked by a corporate looking lady). I fought the fish for like 15 minutes. To break the line now would have been a great disappointment to all. My arm was also tiring out from holding the 9 footer.

Finally, from a distance of about 20 metres out from the jetty, there was a splash. But still couldn't quite see what fish it was. But it was sure big. "pull it nearer!", "it is tiring", "move to this side", "move to that side". Little by little, I got the fish nearer to the Jetty and the light around it. I quickly asked D to take a picture. Everyone was very eager to find out what I had caught. Finally, it was identified. A catfish. Dear me, I had become "ah seng" expert. But this is different cos it was the mother of all ah sengs.

But now the problem was how to bring up the fish without breaking the line. The fish was already tired out. From a distance, it did look a bit like a shark. Someone tried to borrow a net from the people further up the Jetty. "Cannot, wait the net break" (cos, it was a net for sotong). "pull it to the shore?" "Cannot, people may not allow you to walk over their lines. Finally, an fisherman looking uncle said, "Can pull up, line won't break". And sure enough, grabbing the line, he pulled up the fish with my 20lbs line. When he got it over the rails, all the people around clapped. Haha, like circus. Ok, the fish was landed. The fat malay guy helped me to cut off the sharp spikes and gave me a black plastic bag to keep it. I was impressed that everyone was so helpful. Kind of like Kumpong spirit is still strong and alive. :)

I thanked everyone as they dispersed (like after a election speech) and went back to reset my rig and cast again. The fish felt like 5 kg. Someone asked to feel it and said that it was like 4-5 kg. (Back home, I weighed it and it was around 4 kg). I suspected that D didn't do a good job taking the photos and picked up the by-now-already-dead-fish and retake a picture again. (missing a picture like this, can jump into the sea).

The rest of the evening, nothing much from then. Funny, for a while it went quiet. No one getting anything. A and D went to look around the jetty. Asked about his fish, one guys said, "oh, small one only. The chinese guy on this side got a big fish". Referring to me! The fat malay guy got another fish but a small snapper (I think). Around 11pm, I called it a night and packed up. By then, D was already very sleepy and slept like a pig on the way home.

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