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Monday, June 04, 2007

Kelong Acheh - Sightings

Since Eric had some lessons to attend to on Sat, his original plan of going Sibu could not be carried out. He suggested to try out Acheh, from Sun - Mon. I had agreed, since I had lots of leaves to clear anyway. His Dad was supposed to be coming along, but last minute had to cancel due to him not feeling too well. I thot then to bring A and D to Acheh, since the last time, I had gone alone with TC.

Being a Sunday, there wasn't any need to beat the OPC timings. Also, the lady boss Farah said to come later as the kelong was fully occupied. It was better to wait for the previous group to leave first. So, our target was to arrive around 11+am.

D with her new Lifevest

We had a leisurely drive up, stopping at Macdonalds for Big Breakfast. Our next checkpoint was to stopover at Mersing. Eric mentioned about a tackle shop he had visited some time back. Upon arriving, we were delighted to find that it was still in business and had just opened. I bought some misc stuff, and a life jacket for D. With our frequent trips to Kelongs, I was always worrying about her falling into the water.

Busy Jetty

We reached the jetty around 11.30am. The weather then was burning hot. To my surprise, I was approached by a man asking for parking fee of RM5. I didn't have to pay the last time, and I wasn't too sure if he was pulling a fast one. Anyway, for a couple of dollars, I did not want to risk upsetting the locals. Car would be quite vulnerable for a day. So, I gingerly paid up, and we moved to the jetty end to wait out our ride.

Free fishing here.

There were scores of people fishing, and the jetty itself was quite crowded. The last time I was here was on a Friday. This was quite a mark difference in terms of the crowd and activities on the jetty. A man with a rod had a line burst from a strong strike. Wow, there must be some serious sized fish around here. (This was to be confirmed the day after).

We reached there and saw the Farah sitting at her favourite corner. We wanted to have the room next to the big casting area, so we were told to wait till they move out later. Not to waste time, we setup our rods and proceed to test out the water condition.

Tiny Todak

Tambans again seemed to be scarce. "Orange" fish also not that abundant, though they are around. Eric, as usual caught the first fish. A tiny todak on his tamban hooks. I also got a take of todak that went for my fish I caught on jig. With quick thinking, I yanked the lines to set the hook and quickly hauled it up before the line break. Strangely, that was to be the only todak that I caught the whole trip. (on a thin tamban #6 jig). I noticed a strange phenonemon this time round. The todaks were quite receptive to taking the "orange" fish. In fact, it was quite guaranteed that they would take a floating rig with it as bait. Given the poor tamban fishing, I tried to have some fun with todaks. I had quite a number of takes but somehow, I couldn't manage to get any. The lines would usually burst. Tying steel leader also didn't seem to help. Even they would burst. This was really baffling.

Nearing to dinner time, I had rested my rod with a float and an "orange' fish bait. It being dinner, I left the rod unattended on free spool. That was to be a serious mistake. Returning from dinner, I found the rod missing without a trace. Strange, could it have fallen in the water? Eric and I walked around the kelong trying to spot it with no luck. But the possibility of it spooling out a whole 100-200 meters of line and eventually being dragged overboard was quite unlikely. But this was to be confirmed that it was the case later....

Moon over Acheh

Big Sotong. (eh...lower part of the picture)

Foot long sotong

During the night, I took out my trusty Yozuri shrimp hunters and check out for sotongs. Given my last encounter with them, I was hoping to continue the trend of getting a few. And what you know, it worked and I pulled out my first sotong in about 5 minutes. Feeling all pysched up, Eric and D joined me in the sotong hunt. I was to have another lucky strike 5 minutes later. This time, the sotong was the biggest I had ever caught (600g). Even tightening my Record drag, I couldn't quite lift it out of the water. It shot up no less than 10 jets of water. I had to resort to using hand to pull up the line. It was then all hi5s and photo session.

Arrow Squid

But strangely, after that, all quieten down. We could see the sotongs, but for some reasons, they were not taking. I later figured out that my leader was probably too thick. I changed to a 4lbs leader, and I got 2 hits after that. One being an arrow squid. By then, it was already like 12.30am, and I crawled to bed for some shuteyes.

Beautiful morning

The next morning, I tried squidding again, but they were not quite around. Darn, there went my plans to bring back a bagful. I only managed to get one miserable piece. Daybreak, I tried some luring. But again, as with everything else, no luck. This kelong, no Emperors, no Parangs, no Barras (this time). But in the late morning, things got interesting. For some reasons, suddenly there were huge shoals of bait fishes all around the kelongs, but at a distance. We could see the birds flying around. I also spied twice a Cobia chasing the baitfishes just 30 metres from the kelong. All very good signs of a good fishing spot. But maybe just our luck, there were no interesting catches all day.

But as if to compensate, out of the blue, we saw a most unforgettable sight. Dolphins! There was like a school of them some 100-200 metres away, doing the arching motion that dolphins do. We were all dumbfounded. This was not something seen in recent years, I guessed. Dolphin sightings in Malaysia must be a very rare thing. It fact, they hung around for quite sometime, playing in the waters around us. To my good fortune, I managed to record it on video.

"Search party" for my missing rod.

The newly arrived group was making preparations to visit the island nearby. A spotted my float that I used with todak rod some 200 metres away. We were quite excited that there was a chance that I might be able to retreive the rod, if the line was still linked to it. Seeing that the boat was enroute that way, we asked if they would kindly moor to the float and attempt to get back my rod. It was indeed nice of the staff to try that. They reached the float and was pulling up my pink firelines. That gave us some hope that the rod could be gotten back. However, to our dismay, the line broke. Probably the rod was stucked solid underwater. Well, too bad. But that made it very likely that my rod was dragged overboard the kelong by a fast running todak? that spooled the entire spool of fireline and then yanked the rod over into the deep blue. Dramatic!

Tarzan with Stingray


The Sting of the Stingray

Girl with Stingray

At the later part of the day, Eric's rod got a take with some twitching. He thought it to be a small fish, but when it surfaced, it was a Stingray. Although just a small one, it was a good story to add to our trip.

Sun came out really hot, and I soon packed. We left the kelong at about 12pm. Reaching the jetty, not sure due to what reason, a fish jumped out of the water. I was kindof seated down on the left of Eric. We were just chatting and suddenly Eric gave a Whoa! and I turned to look and managed to see a 2-3 kg fish in mid air on the way down. I would put it at a 1m jump. That was sure a jumper. Eric said that it was a triple tail. Wow.

D needed to go to the loo. While waiting for her, Eric and I sighted a monitor lizard crossing the road. Wow again.

This trip, although no commendable catches, was quite special for some really rare sightings. Eric wasn't quite in the mood to fish, being more worried about his preparations for his work. But I think all in all, it was still quite a memorable one.

The other kelong we could see from ours

Baby Tenggiri with sharp teeth

A's fingers got chewed by a baby tenggiri with sharp teeth


Squid 'O glasses

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