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Friday, September 28, 2007

Lost Squid - PJ

Seeing that tonite was a good tide at around 11pm+, I decided to do a little squidding at PJ. The last time, I was there with TC. It wasn't too productive, but I had gotten a tiny weeny squid.

Tonite being a friday nite, I wasn't expecting the Jetty to be crowded. But it was occupied by a bunch of angler friends. They had setup themselves on the end of the Jetty, completed with lights. Looked like they would be there till the morning.

I rigged up a single squid jig and only took that from the car. A and D settled themselves next to the police post, where it was brightly lit. Since the ends were occupied, I just squidded around the aisle.

As the jig dragged across the floor, there were many confusing taps on the lure, due to the shallow water. The jig was probably rubbing against the sandy floor. But one thing good, the bottom wasn't too snaggy, although some particular area, got some stones.

10 minutes into the squidding, I got a solid take. I wasn't too sure but the lines felt loaded. It might just have been rubbish. But pulling up, there was indeed a normal sized squid. It did the usual squirting of water. But when I lifted it up barely 1 feet, the tentacles slipped from the hooks and it splashed back into the water. My jig umbrella hooks must be quite blunt already. Maybe I should stop using this pink Yamashita. So far, it had produced nothing.

Thereafter, I guessed for the next hour or so, totally nothing. Suddenly, for some reasons, mosquitoes started coming out to attack us. I had a few bites, and I was worried that D might be bitten. Hence, around 10.30pm, I packed up and decided to leave the place. far, not very lucky with this PJ for squids. Squidding in Singapore really tough.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Big Fish - Trikola Elly Kelong

I had read about this place in forum a few times. Since I had been around Kelongs in Malaysia, I wanted to try out kelong in Indonesia for a change. However, this place got one minor problem: it is actually a paypond. But from what I read, nice ambience and all. So, worth at least a trip.

Boat tickets

Opportunity came up, when D didn't have school that friday. I made all the necessary arrangements and the date was set to be on the 21st Sep.

Upgraded Terminal

So early that morning, we woke up around 5.30am to make our way to Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, as I couldn't drive after 7am, being OPC. Timing was just about right, and we reach the terminal, in time for a leisurely breakfast, before waiting to board the ferry at 9.30am. TMFT had undergone a major facelift since I was here last time.

Breakfast by the sea

The terminal now looked spankling new, and there was even Killiney Kopitiam there. It was nice to have breakfast overlooking the sea on a nice day like this. After a hearty one, soon, we were on our way to Tanjung Pinang.

Our ride

Touch down

Bat mobile

Reaching there rather quickly in one and half hours with the boat running at 50km/h.(mighty fast for a boat). The crew knew that we were heading to the kelong and duly took our things all the way down the long walk to the mini van. I was quite impressed with the service, and it looked like we didn't have to carry anything heavy. All was already taken care of. We met our driver, and off we went for a less than an hour ride to the resort itself.

Busy street

The road led us through the busy city roads, and it gradually changed to a more scenic landscape. When we reached, our first impression of Elly's Kelong wasn't that great. The entrance was quite worn down, and we had to pass a series of dark walkways out to the sea to the kelong itself. But from there on, everything was bright and pleasant.

Entrance to Elly

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We were greeted by Elly himself, and he presented to us all the various charges for this trip. He was nice enough to charge me for 2 rods, when actually I asked for 3. He said, since Desiree fishing, never mind for children. Well, he didn't know that this girl could fish :). Room only come with free breakfast, everything else, would be chargable. But I found all the prices quite reasonable, and wasn't too expensive.

Hot day

We were assigned a room midway along the left side of the kelong. The rooms looked like some hotel resort kind, and was very well equipped for a pleasant day of fishing. The room came with a built in toilet, with air conditioning. Wow, talk about creature comfort. Beds were clean and although quite sparsely decorated, was more than good enough for our purpose. After all, the room rate was only $25 per day. And superbly, we were the ONLY customer on the kelong. Fantastic, I had the whole kelong to myself.

I couldn't fish outside due to all the wires and obstractions

Looking around, the water was clear, but not too impressive. Everywhere I looked, there were stones and weeds. And I couldn't see much fishes. Water was shallow as well, and I later found out that it was about the highest level at that time. Very unlike the kelongs in Sibu.

First fish..small anchorvie

Spanish flag snapper

Honey head damsel

After setting up the rods, I wasn't too sure of how to fish. We were given a mini icebox with dead sotong and tambans for baits. I asked about live prawns, and helper said have, and would cost $5. But unfortunately, I didn't have any pump, so it would die in no time. As usual, I setup a tamban jig for D's rod. But water was so shallow and jigging seemed quite ridiculous. There were some small school of small fishes outside, and I managed as my first fish, a very tiny weeny anchovie type of fish. I released it and found it no point for catching them.

Weeds and more weeds

There was also no point to be doing luring due to the weeds. Squidding was also bad due to the above reason. So, I did a small hook running sinker and baited with sotong. First cast, stucked. Wow, every direction, all weeds. Luckily, mosttimes, you could pulled hard and break the weeds to retreive back the line. But nevertheless, I lost many sinkers and hooks due to snags. But after each cast, there were almost immediate bites. Leave it there for a while, bait would be gone in no time.

After some experimentation, I found that there was a certain spot that was quite snagless and where the fishes were congregating. Soon, I got the hang of it and was landing small fishes one after another.

We were given 2 keepnets which I found very useful. All the fishes were kept alive, and we didn't have to worry about icing it. D was also very successful with small fishes and caught quite a few. In fact, I challenged her and lost miserably. She had already gotten about 10 fishes by fishing without casting out far, whereas I was struggling with snags and retying my lines over an over again, since I was aiming different spots in the pond.

Spot where the big fishes were

Bat fishes swimming here

I walked around the kelong to recce around, and was very excited to see some very huge fishes around the corners of the kelong. There were big size bat fishes, but tried as I may, they were bite. I wasn't too such how to target them.

A kelong helper man in red T-shirt came over and talked to me. He was very friendly, and helped me out with some tips on how to fish here. But problem was, he spoke only Hokkien and Malay, and couldn't speak in Mandarin. My Hokkien was terrible, and I struggled to make sense to him. I thought that day, I had probably spoken more Hokkien than in a whole year. But it was workable and I found him a nice man. Apparently from out I gathered, he was like a supervisor of the kelong and had been with it for 7 years.

Finally, my KBL! had stripes

A doing her cross stitch. Light was bright enough

D doing her homework

During the lull period, I tied quite a few rigs

Dunno what fish

After dinner, the water level was going down, and very soon, it was impossible to cast out. Night time, kelong was still quite brightly lit, and fishing was comfortable. Around 8pm, I was just tossing out single rig apollo with sotong and parking the rod just for the heck of it. There wasn't much action, and I was just simply relaxing. While reeling in to check the rod, suddenly, there was a load. Adding tension, fish started jumping and thrashing on the surface. (very shallow). What was that? I wondered and lifted the fish over. Flopped on the deck, it was a stripey one. But wait a minute, the shape was like a KBL. I wasn't sure, and dropped it into the keepnet. Man in Red confirmed it to be a KBL the next day. Wow, my very first KBL :), but the experience, not very authentic. Interestingly, while I was about to take a pic, KBL literally spat out the hook on its own. O_O

View of my room from the other side

Low waters. Even the weed couldn't stand up

After that, I walked around the Kelong recceing all the various parts. From the shallow water, I could see lots of assortment of fishes moving around. There were like Groupers, Squids, Octopus, Crabs, Big fishes and small fishes. The number of types of fishes in this "pond" was incredible.

On the way there at 2am

Man in red had advised me to sleep and to wake up around 2am to fish. He pointed out a corner at the other end of the kelong, and said that that spot would be productive, with prawn baits, and live sotongs. Sotongs should be plentiful there. I heeled his advise and went to bed at around 9pm, setting the alarm for 2pm.

I woke up a little before 2am, and went to move all my things to the other far end. I thought it was like about 200m away, and had to make quite an effort to move everything there. A woke up around 2+am and joined me for a while, but seeing no action, went back to bed. Water level was still low but I could see that it was on the rise from the water current. I had spied lots of groupers, but I had totally no luck with catching them. Putting the bait right in front, they would run away. Squidding also no luck, although I had spied earlier on a couple of squid swimming around. I tossed out sotong bait and prawn bait, but they were useless, as all the small fishes would clean it up in no time. Big fishes swam past and no heel the baits.

So, 2 hours past, and I couldn't even get one tiny fish. The problem was how to keep the bait there for a chance for the big fishes to take. I looked at the sotong and said what the heck and rig a whole solid piece, minus the head. I had a rig on my Regno with a circle hook. Putting in the sotong, and I tossed it out and parked it. Meanwhile, I tried to do some squidding on the outside of the kelong, and lure got stuck in the weeds. I was trying to pull it free, and you know, the sound of the line pulling out of the drag as I tugged harder and harder. But out of the silence of the night, another reel sounded. My Record was spilling out lines like mad! It was almost like a tutu train. My Record didn't have a noisy drag, and so whatever that could make it do that was really something.

Where is my net?

Kelong helpers giving me a hand

I picked up the rod, and the other end went hyper in more protest. It was really hard to slow it down but it eventually ran out of space, and I managed to win a little by little. But suddenly, the line snagged. Hmm, I was figuring that it might have ran into some rocks. I waited while keeping the line tight. And my strategy worked and fish went on the run again. I inched it in and very soon, I saw the fish itself. It was a Kaci. Wah, and it was certainly a big one. I shouted out to A across the kelong for help. Good thing the room door was opened and she snapped out of her sleep and came over. Two other man heard my cries, and came over to see the commotion. How to land this fellow was a problem now. She took some pictures while some 2 helpers went around to get a net. For a good 5-10 minutes, I was holding on to the fish hoping that the lines would not break. Man suggested that my 10lbs line could hold, but when he felt the fish, he said better not. Fish looked like in the 2-3kg region. It was later weighed and found to be 2.6kg.


Net came and soon fish was mine up on the deck. And of course, rounds of picture taking. We moved it back to the room and put it into the other keepnet. Surprisingly, fish was still alive and managed to revive.

Another Kaci around 5am

Yet another one. This one fought very hard too, despite the smaller size

Beautiful Kelong morning

Keepnet was by now quite full :)

I then moved all my fishing stuff back to the room to fish outside it. I retied the lucky rig, as it already had some abrasions on it. Circle hook seemed to be the trick and I did another one and tossed it out with whole sotong again. And luck was with me. Shortly thereafter again, another strong take, and this time on my Black Rose. It did exactly the same trick of running into cover. But when the pull stopped, it dashed out again. Up came the fish, and another Kaci. Again A was droused out of her sleep to help me net it. Half an hour later, I was too get another one. :). By then, it was already day break, and after that, no more.

Billard room

Inquistive squirrel

Pigeon House

Elly himself feeding his favourite pet

This prawn is mine

Pet turtle

Breakfast came and was sent to our door. After a good simple meal of nice fried beehoon, I went back to fishing but it slowed down and I manged only to get 2 fishes in the morning. By then, I had already ran out of sinkers and hooks, and I rigged a size 8 hooks just to get small fishes for fun. Man in red came for more chatting and was happy for me to get my Kaci. He said he would take all the fishes and pack it for me later. Very good service here :).

One of the very few fishes I caught that morning

Our room

I had never seen a Rabbit in this color

All our small fishes

Other keepnet with the bigger fishes

Mine's a Daikin

Rustic swing

Stop staring!

Elly's friend who went spearing for fishes

The bounty

After lunch, some more people came. From the looks of it, more like here to relax and gathering sort of outing. Man in red asked if I wanted to do some shopping and he could arrange to get the driver sent me to the malls in Tanjung Pinang. That was a very good idea, and I said to go around 2.30pm, and soon packed up all the things.

Checking out

Man in Red

I settled the bill and it came to a $170 for the whole trip. The breakdown was as above.

Quite a good deal, considering the whole family and the length of time I had stayed. Same man driver came and I bade Man in Red goodbye and took a pic with him.


Their version of KFC. Guys ordering also anglers from Singapore

Driver took us to Ramayana Mall, and then to Bintan Mall. Malls here was quite run down, and nothing like our standard in singapore. Nevertheless, it was an eye opener and we had fun.

At the Jetty, departure entrance

Parting view

Soon it was back to the Jetty and from there, we reached Singapore around 9pm. But on the return trip, the service marred the impression I had. Porter asked for "kopi" money and left my icebox out on the deck of the boat where it got wet from all the splashes. Disembarking, the worker said that I had to unload the icebox myself. Hmm, so strange. On the way there, everything was done for me. We had wanted to have dinner at the terminal, but everything was closed. So, we headed to CV for dinner and then back home, after an eventful trip.

Track of the journey according to my GPS

Curry Fish Head (Kaci)