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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Sibu Boat Trip - Ah Ngan Kelong

I received a query from Patrick regarding Tg Pinang few days back. He informed me that he was going Sibu for a boat trip. One fishy thing led to another, and soon I was scheduled to meet him on a friday morning, to Ah Ngan.

Ah Ngan, I had been before. I had counter proposed Junansa Villa, but after some enquries, it was found to be closed for the fasting month. So, the plan was back to Sibu, Ah Ngan. But this time, what's new was that we would go out for a boating trip. Being Sibu, everyone's expectation was high. We were expecting all sorts of giant monsters, from the likes of Chermins, Parrots and possibly a GT or two.

I was late to meet the rest over at Pelangi. So when I finally met the rest of the gang finally at Carefourre Mac, I sensed they were somewhat unhappy. This was because at 7.30am, the 2 hour window to reach Leman Jetty seemed quite rushed, and possibility of being late. I was introduced to Darren, Richard and Luo Chong and after some high fives and bear hugs, we were off on the way to Leman via the promised Sedili route.

Police checkpoint from the Sedili side

Darren's car negoiating the bend

Following behind

TC's driving was rather fast, and we made it to Leman at a very good time of 9.10am, to everyone's surprises, including mine. So it did seem that the Sedili route was smoother and shorter.

All ready with their weapons

Group of friends

Reaching our destination


Boat came and we quickly huddled together to load all our stuff. As expected, Ah Ngan's staff provided good services, and we didn't have to carry most of the big item things. Within half an hour, we were clamouring up the kelong stairs, despatching ourselves to our designated beds.

Our corner

We were the only ones in the kelong, and due to that, I wasn't too happy that we were assigned to a little corner beds, with one of us having to sleep on the top deck. Anyway, we quickly setup and as usual, I was first to be out with my tamban jigging rod to test the water.

This uncle was sotong killer


With my first sotong here

I quickly hit upon a Selar spot, and my first haul was a promising 4 selars in a string. The fishing began to look good. We noticed some of the kelong staff jigging for sotong, and came upon a big pile of sotongs on the floor. Man was clearly an expert, and he was like lifting a sotong every minute. Goodness gracious, in broad daylight too. We were told that for the past 2 days, sotongs were plentiful and the previous customers were bagging it by the kilos. Wow, I was certainly hoping that that would continue.

Darren's opening squid

Darren was the first to get a sotong, and what a big one it was. The rest all started squidding too with not much result. I was trying hard too. Eventually, after making a round the kelong, I finally got one and was pleased that my Shrimphunter was still in working order.

The guys thereafter disappeared to fish at the well next to the kitchen. Within a short time, they were filling up buckets of rabbits.

Ding dang dong..

Lunch bells rang, and we had our first meal on the kelong. Food turned out to be a palatable spread of dishes. Everyone dug in and had a filling lunch. Richard was enjoying the plate of rabbit fishes, until I told him that rabbits fed on poo poo from the toilet. His face changed a pale yellow after that, and no more rabbits for him from then on. After lunch, we were all prepping for the boat trip by tying lines. An Ngan the owner himself came over and taught us what rigs to tie, and how to do it.

Early stage of the boat trip. Still smiling

All eager for that big strike

The island we had seen in Magazine

Soon we were all decked up on the boat, all full of expectations to make a good killing. Fishing ground was some 20 minutes away from the kelong, just near to an island. Boat anchored and all lines went down. However, 5-10 minutes passed, and nobody had any nibble. Another 10 minutes passed, all started fidgeting. Richard and Darren started feeling queasy from all the boat rocking. Thereafter, they spent most of the time sleeping and moaning about sea sickness and merlions.

Hmm..still no bite?



Only Patrick, Luo Chong and I were still going strong. Boatman changed another spot, and still the same thing happened. Another half hour, another spot change again. Fishing at this time was getting to be no fun, and all starting sleeping on the boat. Boatman said all the previously productive spots, he already tried. He was clearly apologetic about it, and even called back to HQ to ask about strategy. There was left one more place but that could only be done around 5pm, due to the water level.

First fish. Green Rough-backed Puffer

So, boat rocking wildy, all sleeping and not even a catch. I finally broke the egg with a very light catch of a puffer? That was pretty exciting after about 3 hours of nothingness. We took some pics and then I released it.

My "heavy" tackle

Boatman changed to the last spot. I suddenly got a lunge and my rod bend into the U-est shape I had ever seen. And that was on my PE2-4 tackle. The pull was so strong, that I was crying out for help. But after some 1 minute of fearsome fight with the "whatever" fish, I realised that I was only fighting a rock. embarassing. No choice, had to snap the lines. But I was using a 40lbs braided, and snapping it was no easy task. Finally line broke, and I waste about 10m of my precious(and expensive) braid. I fought with a couple more rocks, and it got frustrating as I would need to retie rigs over and over again.

Yah! Finally something decent

This not bad too.

Pailful of catches

Patrick got tired of waiting for the big one, and used his light tackle with Apollo on dead prawn meat. And that strategy was quite successful and he was catching an assortment of various fishes like groupers and emperors and others. Soon, he outfished my record of 1 fish, and he was filling up a small pail of seawater with his catches.

Our path

Around 7pm, we said enough, and instructed the boatman to return, to the great delight of Patrick and Darren. Poor chaps, paying for the trip to be tortured and bored to death.

My squid so nice

Reaching back to the kelong, we had dinner and then proceeded to hope for more sotong catches. Squidding was fairly successful, although not in the quantity of a few bags full. The whole trip, I managed only to catch about 5 squids. Quite a poor record indeed. Boatman was also enjoying squidding, and he had this special japanese squid jig that was very effective. I was using my size 4 jig and apparently it was too big to do very much. But boatman lost the jig later in the night. Boatman being the friendly sort, talked to me quite often. He asked if he could buy the Shrimphunter from me, as his japanese jig was gone. I told him to take it as a gift from me. After all, I wasn't too successful in squidding.

Boatman squid #135

TC first Travelly

My arrow squid

Small barra on my lure

Kekek on my lure

Small barra on my Angel Kiss

I next changed to luring hoping to do better. Out came my Pinny. After trying out a few spots, the action became effective, and I was landing small barras one after another. All in all, I landed 8 on the pin minnow. But all I wanted was Parangs, and they were no where to be found.

I changed my lure to my newly acquired Angel Kiss. Come kiss this, I beseeched the wonderful catches under the sea. Cast and cast, it took me a while to figure out the optimum speed to get the action going. I got my first hit shortly, and out came, yet another small barra. From what I see, Angel Kiss not suitable too over here.

TC got lucky and managed to get a very decent catch of 2 trevallies on his never get bored apollo fishing with standard sotong bait.

Half moon view at 4am

I went to bed around 12am, planning to wake at 5am for the magic window. However, due to the cold winds, I couldnt sleep well and found myself awake at 3.30am. I walked around and decided to start fishing.

Squid on my big size 4 jig

Boatman also woke up at 5am to squid

I squidded a little, but again not very effective. All I got was 1 squid. Not good at all. Around 5am, the rest of the people started coming out of bed to continue their fishing and squidding. I went back to luring and changed my lure to my newly acquired L-minnow. It had struck me that I hadn't tried this yet. So, out went the lure with the L word, and cast and cast.

I got a strike!

Another one bits the dust

To my utmost surprise, I got a take. And this one, was different from the way it pulled. It was my wait until neck long Parang, aka belt fish or wolf herring. Fearful of losing it from its acrobatic jumps and head shaking, I quickly tried to get the initiative and pulled it along to the edge, shorten the line, and yank it over the kelong fence. It flopped onto deck, and I couldn't help shouting, "Oi! Parang!!!". It had beena long time since I had gotten one. :O. Everyone came out and took some pics, and was congratulating me like a new father.

Battle wounds on my L

Delighted, I kept it into the icebox and went back to try for another one. Within 5 mintues, another one hit my lure, and out it came again. Wow, 2 parangs in a night. That was like quite incredible. But the wonderment did not end here. Within an hour period, I got 6 parangs all in total. Averaging about 10 minutes for one. It was certainly a fishing record for me. Now, for logical reasons, I swear by the L word.


Morning view

Richard "captain jack sparrow" with his squid

Wah, LC got a todak

Richard with his lucky catch of a auntie underwear!

Underground fishing

Morning light broke and soon it was all bright and sunny again. I threw out a live bait and went to do some parking, while going to some corner to rest. As I had woken up quite early, I was feeling quite worn out already by 9am. At 9.30, I was packing and cleaning up all the stuffs. By 10.30am, I was all ready to go home. The others were still going strong, and patrick had a whole pail full of Kunings. A very good catch of baitfishes in the morning. A few sotongs were caught too.

Pailful of Kunings

Captain jack sparrow welcoming the new arrivals

Boatload of sexy woman

Richard turned out to be quite a funny guy, and did all sorts of action figure poses to tickle our funny bone. Well, it was good to see another side of him after all the vomitting over the boat. He ended up quite a talkative chap and had many a stories to tell. Luo Chong got some result to show when he successfully got a todak. It was clearly a good one for him, and he was all smiles over his achievement, after quite a dismaying first day. Darren was crowned the Sotong king, and taking a peep into the icebox, it was full of sotong. Although not in the 2kg category, it was a good catch of about 20 or more of it.

Cheater. Foul hooking the rabbits

While waiting for our return boat, I walked around to observe the new people fishing. You could really learn lots by just observation alone. There was this group gathered around the fish well near the kitchen, aiming for Rabbits. One guy was using umbrella hooks to catch rabbits by foul hooking them. The technique was to throw some leftover food to get a feeding frenzy, drop the hooks down and yank it up with force. With luck, a rabbit or two would be impaled by the sharp hooks. I found the technique dangerous, clumbersome, and not very effective. I thought he got 1 rabbit for every 5 cast. Furthermore, this wasn't too sporting.

They caught our boat

Group pic

We left the kelong rather late, and by the time we were at the Jetty, it was already close to 2pm. TC had the notion of carrying back some live fishes in his bait bag. I not wanting to find myself at the interrogating end of some custom officers, decided to hitch the ride from Patrick. Anyway, I wanted to bring him to see "fisherman" and also to replenish our stock.

My total haul. First time so many parangs :))

A pretty decent trip for me, thankfully for my success in luring for Parangs. The boat trip was very disappointing, but then, never tried, never know. However, I thought was must have arrived at the very wrong timing where all the fishes were somewhere else. My dream of catching a Trevally will need to continue to be dreamt.

ET call home

Army jelly can of water

Room at the top of the stairs

Flying high

I am sailing.....

Authentic Kelong roof

Work on a extension

Is that a Marlin?

We are in Malaysia

Kelong botanical garden

Come on...come on...

We broke the egg.

Very young boatman

Darren packing his catches

Kelong staff with our lunch

Power Jig

Green and fresh

Boxful of sotongs

TC's catches for the trip

My poor sandal

Bunch of monkeys arrived

As well as pretty woman

Ah Ngan's selling point. Crushed ice.

With a tatto like this, he should love fishing

Big commotion. Ended up it was a small stingray

Richard's surfcasting stance

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