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Friday, August 10, 2007

Giant Squid Attack & SW Luring - Ah Fatt Kelong

I had not been able to join Eric for his previous 2 kelong trips, and we decided to do one come August. Last Sunday, I got the message that we would go on National Day itself. I replied, "ONZ".

However, it was expected that the kelong would be packed, and we would definitely encounter the infamous causeway jam. So, I made plans to go over as early as 6am, in order to try avoid it. But alas, as we drove from our home in Marsiling just before 6am, we already were joining a long queue to the checkpoint. But luckily, I was able to clear it within half an hour. But Eric's group wasn't so lucky. I was sure they got the jam full force.

That day, I was feeling under the weather. Just 2 days ago, I had a staff down with flu. As I had spoken with him quite often, I felt myself catching the flu. It started with a sore throat, a dry cough. I tried to self medicate by drinking lots of water. However, on Wednesday, though I wasn't too sick, I wasn't feeling too good either. To make matter worse, I had to go for boat fishing after Kelong trip. Stressed!

So on the drive up from the checkpoint, I had to visit the Loo often. Along the way, I detoured to Kota Tinggi to find a restroom. Because of that, we actually made it to Leman Jetty around 9.20am, via the Sedili way. But we were still early compared to Eric's group. But they weren't too late, and arrived around 10am. I got meet Ann's husband, also Eric, for the first time.

Machiam wedding dinner

The boat had to alight some passengers at hotboys, and we found to our dismay, that hotboy's was quite empty. On reaching Ah Fatt, kelong was packed to the brim, with the kelong in danger of tilting over. Eric even commented that that was the most people he had ever seen in a kelong. For a veteran like him, that was saying something.

Rods all over

We fixed up our rods, and proceeded to start jigging for bait fishes. But again, Tamban were quite sparse. In fact, I only caught 1 for the whole trip. But I was getting lots of KeKe (Pony Fishes), which I casted some out for live baiting. I was also pulling up Emperors on Tamban Jig without bait. Strangely, the usual "Orange" fish was not abundant this time. Todaks also took a back seat, although some were around. A cast out a float rig for them, and there were some runs, but it was far between. Live baiting totally no action, and live bait came back still intact. No big fishes were also sighted. Current was strong, as this was a new moon. And wonderfully, weather was just superb. There was an inkling of rain, but the rain never did come, and the weather remained cool and windy, just nice for a day of fishing.

Inconsiderate neighbours behind.

However this trip, I was highly irritated with the amount of ciggie smoke all around. As we were bunked almost right in the middle of the kelong. The wind brings us whiffing all the smoke. Fishing folks seem to relate relaxing fishing with smoking at the same time. With my challenged respiratory condition, the smoke really made my breathing very laboured, and I coughed quite persistently.

Fishing also was quite a difficult affair, as there were rods all over. There were lots of time spent on unravelling tangles and crossed lines. Seeing the condition, I attempted to try squid jiggin in the day. I took out my trusty shrimp hunter, and went around the kelong dropping my jig to test water.

Ann was first to hit something of interest: a very huge Emperor. I hurriedly took a pic, but unfortunately, her eyes were closed. :P

"Giant" Squid attack

Eric posing with "Giant" Squid

For myself, lo and behold, what luck I had. At one corner of the kelong, something took my jig ferociously and started peeling out my lines on my Zauber. First I thought, sangkat...but no, it was liftable. Then I thought, maybe a fish took it. The fight wasn't like any whimpy strike of a small sotong. My rod was doing a U bend and I fought hard to pull the thing up. It was a joyous sight when it broke surface. It was indeed a squid, and a giant one at that. I took my squid back to our quarters for some photo. Eric saw it and was amazed at my squidding skills. Unfortunately, Ann, Ann's husband and Eric's Dad did not get to see it. Everyone on the kelong also was very impressed with my lucky haul. I thought I saw some folks proceeded to squid thereafter. :). But after that, no more luck. But then again, I didn't try very hard as I went back to Tamban jigging and all.

Fearful children of night "Giant" Squid

So that was my lucky strike #1. Soon it was evening, and Eric prepared for parang hunting. I asked him to informed me if there were parangs around, as I had not been very productive with this and wanted to try more. But before that, I went around with my Yozuri again, and dropped my jig all over. And once more, I got lucky. Another strike, and again, no small fellow. It was about as big as the first one. This was at the far corner of the kelong. On my way back with the caught, everyone was shocked at the size of the sotong once again. I think from then on, I must have become the "sotong king" for that trip.

Eric and his parang

This time round, the kids saw it, as well as Eric and Ann's husband. After photo taking, Eric said that he had gotten some parangs. His Dad was in the midst of an action, and he was videoing it. But unfortunately, it dropped on the way up. Eric took over, and managed to get a strike on another parang. Wow, this luring thing was definitely working. I immediately consulted him on the rig, and took out my newly acquired pin minnow and started to setup. I did a few cast, and gosh, the action was very good at one of the corner. I thought the hit rate was like 1 strike for every 5 cast. Very very effective.

Small Barra on lure

My first haul was a tiny barra. The strike from them was much lighter. I got a few strikes on parang as well. The strength of the load, was definitely indicative of a parang. But first 2, I didn't get the chance to see it. It head shaked it way out of the lure. The next one, I saw it did an aerial jump, and that was the end. The last one, I already got it under the kelong. Started hauling it up, and it wiggled free. How frustrating!!?

Around the late night, there was a sudden splurge of fireworks from HotBoys, presumably to celebrate our National Day.

So, for all my efforts, I only managed to get 6-7 small barras on the pin-minnow. But one wrong cast saw my pinny hit the roof and flew off. Argh. I tried to replace it was my red-head rapala. The trick seems to be the shiny surface. I did get a tap but that was it. Another cast, I was luring back, and suddenly the line went limp. Line broken at the swivel end. The barrel weight was quite nasty on the line on the swivel. That might have caused it to break. I next changed to my under used lucky craft darter. I thought that looked a little like the pin minnow. And I got a strike and up came a small barra. I was really tired by then, being almost 12am. I decided I really need to sleep and unfortunately had to leave the parang hunt till the next morning.

Our inconsiderate neighbour was playing mahjong and smoking their lungs away just next to the sleeping kids. I really quite irritated with them. A went over and asked them to move to another place, as the kids were coughing and having difficulty sleeping. Surprisingly, they immediately snubbed out their ciggies and stopped the game. After that, the air was much fresher, and I managed to catch some shut eye.

Badly taken pic of my 2 footer Barra

Very soon, it was morning again. I woke up around 6am after some desparately needed sleep. I took out my crystal minnow and went around casting for parangs. At one far corner, I got a lucky strike, and dragged up a wiggling 2 footer barra. This trip, I seemed only to attract barras. Interestingly, I could lure without any wire and the barras couldn't cut off. Seemed that the lure itself protects the line from being cut.

Next morning 1st small sotong

Next morning 2nd small sotong

After that, it was already bright, and luring stop being effective. I went back to squidding and got lucky again. But this time, I was using my 2.5 inch shrimp hunter, and only managed a smaller sotong. 3 minutes later, I hauled up another one. A was pretty excited and passed the rod to her for trying. And she hitted another one within another 3 minutes. What a good catch rate. Unfortunately, after the 3rd sotong, the action stopped.

Bottom fishing yielded nothing. Even small hooks with sotong baits were not taken. The fishes must had changed location. Live baiting also no result. I decided to clear up the stuff and packed early.

Overall, this trip was my most successful salt water luring ever. Coupled with the lucky haul of sotongs, surely a most memorable one. :)

So tired.

Eric with nice fish. (Blue and Gold Fusilier)

Small fish in Parang stomach. Looked EXACTLY like the pin minnow!

Eric's catches on Lure

A big selar on Jig. The other groups caught quite a few this size also.

The children having fun "torturing" the fishes. I scolded them, but they retorted, die already..>:(

Mahjong was more hot than fishing

The fruitful luring spot

Innovative Bait Well

This guy was featured in Rod&Line before

Beautiful Kelong skies

Big Selar

Beautiful fish

My fish my fish!

The fishes tremble in fear when these 2 fish :)

I caught bucketful of these. (Ponyfish)

This is a Kembong, said Eric

I love kelong food. (actually, this trip, the food was quite bad)


nimo said...

Nice CR and report. I share the same sentiments and feelings of what you write!!

nafishnafish said...

Thanks Nimo.

Enjoyed reading your numerous CRs too. :)

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