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Monday, February 19, 2007

Ah Fatt Kelong - Razor Attack

Misty road to Leman

The four terrors of the kelong

It was just barely two weeks ago that I had been to a kelong. But when Eric said he was going to Ah Fatt this CNY, it tempted me to join him. First day of CNY seemed good as there should be quite few people, assuming most people would be out visting. Furthermore, with the 4 days break, it seemed like quite a waste of holidays if I wouldn't do something adventurous. So, in a short notice of a day or two, I was off bounded for another killing at the kelong (hopefully). This time round, I brought along Era, her first trip to a kelong.

I am finally here!

Friendly manja cat at the jetty

We reached there quite early this time and had time for a leisurely breakfast and simple shopping. Strangely, along the way, it was very misty and I could barely see beyond 100m. Eric and gang arrived just after 9.30am as their van had missed the turn. There was some re-modelling of the area and I almost missed the turn too.

This time, I had the chance to fish with most of his family, his sister, brother, sister-in-law and his two niece and nephew. It was good to catch up again although it was just a short while ago that I had last seen them. After rounds of Gong Xi Fa Chai and the usual pleasantries, we set off to Ah fatt. The water this time round was calmer and clearer too. The sun was quite hot, but that was standard for this time of the day.

Photo after touchdown

My first 2 barracudas!

What big teeths you have!

Twitching baitfish despite the missing lower half. Fish took tamban jig, Barracuda whacked fish

Upon settling down in the kelong, we rigged up and I was the first to hit something strong. In my cluminess, I grabbed my rod and struck, but I was careless to have my fingers in the path of the braided lines. It sliced my fingers a little, but luckily, it wasn't too deep. But when I pulled up, the hook was missing and all. The other rod with the apollo also came up clean with the two hooks missing. Eric and gang immediately knew they were dealing with the razor gang - barracudas. They had come prepared and rigged up hooks with wire. I had my wire too, but alas, it was too thick and I didn't think that the fishes would take the bait. In no time, Eric's family were pulling up barracudas one after the other. They had this special cuda rig, that I was soon to learn. Copying them, I also managed to get my first 2 cudas in a while. For their size, they sure fought like hell. These fishes were equipped with a set of incredible set of teeth. One of my bait that I pulled up had been sliced into half, and yet the bait didn't know that the other part was missing and was still twitching around. Really an eye opener. Someone had some luck and got a queenfish at one corner that afternoon.

A's first todak!

Beyond, I wasn't having much luck with any other fishes, certainly not the kind of catches that I was getting at ah ngan. I taught A how to catch a todak and she was hooked. Thereafter, tambans were no challenge for her and she busied herself catching about 10 todaks in total. The fast strike and acrobatic sure was impressive for a beginner. Due to that, I was very low in my supplies for bait fish and didn't throw out my lines often enough. The children took the tamban rod and had fun themselves fishing. Also due to the constant cutting off of the rigs by the cudas, I was quite unprepared for this trip.

My first of the two parangs I got on the regular dead meat rig

Come night time, it was worst. The supply of live bait was non-existence. But Eric and gang busied themselves with parangs and they were very successful. He got this powerful lure that he could get parangs after parangs. Again, I took some lessons from Eric on parang fishing, but I didn't have any luck getting one that night. There was a sudden commotion at around 12am and there was a triple hookup around that time. Somebody got a cobia and it swam from left to right and tangled up everyone's line. Then in the middle, someone landed a giant barracuda. I was helping eric to untangle his line that he left at a corner. But when I pulled, there was a reaction. After I managed to get the line untangled, I found a fish at the other end. In the dark, it looked like a cobia. I was excitedly calling for Eric to come fight the fish. But on closer look, it turned out to be a slipper fish (remora). That was quite a disappointment for Eric as slipper fish is quite useless. (can't eat). Around 1am, I thought I should sleep a little as I had to drive the next day. I set the alarm for 5am to resume my parang hunt. The morning hours, the parangs came in a wave and everyone was pulling up parangs after parangs. I myself got lucky and landed 2. But once daybreak, the parangs were gone for good.

Baby Barracuda hit lure.

I tried my hand at some morning hours luring and was rewarded with 2 small barracudas attacking my yozuri crystal minnow. Although small, it was quite fun. But no luck for more exotic fishes like GT, which Eric got the last time.

That morning, I got a good bite with the rod dipping but I was very clumsy due to my oily hands from all the tambans. I held my rod to strike but dropped it instead. Thereafter, the opportunity was gone. I only got to pulled up an empty rig. That sure felt like a sizable one. Other than that, nothing much else. The children had fun under the tutorage of Eric to challenge themselves in a mock competition. I had a terrible birdnest on my record and wasted quite a lot of time trying to untangle the lines.

Good trip, although not as lucky as the last time. I missed the photo opportunity to take pictures of the children fishing. But I sure learnt quite a bit this trip. I was satisfied to set another first for barracudas and parangs on dead meat this time round.

A's flying todak

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