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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Kelong Paradise

This Kelong, was introduced by Eric. Searching on the net, indeed there is a kelong made of concrete somewhere in the far reaches of Selangor. The distance from Singapore to it, was not trivial. Driving there itself would pose a challenge.

The way there

In comes my trusty GPS to the rescue. But when I first tried, entering "Bagan Nakhota", it gave me no result. Sabak Bernam, I found. But by itself, was quite a large place. I couldn't quite pin point where about the jetty was. From the website, the map was totally useless. Probably only the locals would understand it.

But finally I found a point that was called "Bandar Nakhota Omar". Close enough. And indeed it was near to the jetty itself. It fact, it is also known as BNO, short form of the long name. Once armed with this little dot, going there should not be a problem.

Eric messaged me to fish at Sibu last week. I proposed trying out KP instead. He was interested and plans were made to head for it this sat, with his Dad. But in the end, Dad backed out. Actually I too was quite worried about the long distance for him. I estimated that the travelling time to be in the region of 6-7 hours. A and D then came along to keep me company.

4am in the morning

On the way

Thinking that leaving Sat morning would likely to be jammed, we decided to meet early and leave at about 4am. Eric came slightly late, missing his phone. Once loaded, we all set off for Paradise.

Almost there

Leaving early was a good plan, as indeed the drive there was long. Having a clear traffic in the early morning helped me to clear the North South Highway in a good enough time. By 7+ or so, we made it pass the highway and made the Sungei Buloh turning. I had to refuel and we made a stop at a Shell station. E went on to get his morning papers. After that, we moved to complete the remaining 2 hours to get to the jetty. But about half hour into the drive, E discovered his wallet missing. In it, was all his cash money for the kelong trip. I immediately did a 2 point turn, and sped all the way back to the Shell station. Actually, we were all thinking that finding the wallet would be quite slim chance. Any finders would simply just pocket the wallet and walked away.

Honest people here

The lucky wallet

Reaching the Station, we were all elated that the wallet was found and in safe keeping by the counter staff. The people there was certainly honest good people, and even refused any reward. It was a huge relief for E, otherwise it would be tough to proceed for the kelong. I didn't think I had enough money to pay for him.

We are finally here

After that episode, we retracked our route and inched towards our destination. Around 11.30am, we had finally arrived. I had told the girl over the phone that I would be there at 12pm. So, we were just in time.

How much?

Talking to the staff at the recept, indeed the package was RM211 per pax, after promo discount which starts on Sat itself. Along with it, children was charged only RM50. Luckily the total was still managable. But we later found out that actually, we didn't need to book the rooms. Most of the patrons here actually just camp overnight.

Safe parking

Spare boat

At the Jetty

Markers for the boat passage

Trolley skating

Scenic mangrove

Guys, follow me

That's how to drive a boat

Passing fishing boat

KP Staff

Dreaming of big fish

At the door step

The boat came to picked us up, and very soon, we were riding on a speedboat to the concrete paradise. The sea around us looked good, overlooking a wide expanse of water, with nothing in sight. The view was quite breathtaking. Even though the kelong looked quite far from the shore, the water was actually not too deep. We were all excited in good anticipation for the good fishing to come.

Our room on the highest deck

But E was quite absent minded this trip, and discovered he left his bag at the jetty. He had to go back with the boatman back to the Jetty to get back his stuff. Meanwhile, we went about to check in and settled down in our room on the 3rd floor

Our dorm

Where is lunch?!

Daddy, I take your picture

Mr handsome. haha

When he arrived, we all had lunch. But lunch affair was a badly organised one. We had to queue for the kitchen staff to recook after all the food ran out. By that time, it was already like 1.30pm and everyone was dead hungry. A got quite mad with them about their slow manner in which they were asking us to wait without informing us anything. Ended up that the staff were scolded by her for their poor service.

Lots of these unwelcome critters

Our fishing corner (the blue icebox)

Thereafter, we got a spot at the bottom deck and went about trying to fish. Water was the very murky type, and visibility was bad. Furthermore, there were lots of Jelly fishes floating around. Over here, it was a different ball game, and jigging for bait fish didn't seem to work. We finally decided that we had to get prawn meat otherwise, we probably wouldn't get anything at all.

Live prawns were charged at RM1 per piece. But those that died in the box cost RM.20 per piece. We just got the dead ones then. After getting bait, down went our lines. E got lucky and was first to hit a pretty big Gelama. Gelama seemd plentiful here, and some people were catching it by the styrofoam boxload of them.

1st fish, nice Gelama

Pretty fish

Someone left the ribbons here

Wow, Selar!

Finally, my Scat

So heavy!

A was next to hit on a Scat. And this was another plentiful fish. Scat were good fighters, very much like Leng Chiam (Emperors). Another time, A got a double hookup with two scats on a line. It certainly gave the rod a good bend.

Tiniest Todak

I was the last to break the egg, and my first was a tiny little todak, caught on my float. We had seen many surface fish when I had thought were half beaks. But it turned out to be school of small todaks. Therefore, I had a floater out trying to get them.

2nd floor fishing. Quite breezy

Darn it, got a cat

Another one!

The tambans here looked like this

E on a roll

Nice specimen

By evening, we all had some fair share Gelamas and Scats. E tried jigging and was suprprisely successful enough to catch some tambans and some selars. The tambans here looked like a different sort of variety.

I had very strong take on my Blackrose around the evening. I was using a size 8 hook on 8lbs leader. Fish at the other felt very strong and E could see my rod bending. All the other folks were also looking my way. I tussled with it for a while and it felt liked I was winning as I managed to inch the fish nearer the surface. But it gave a strong run and line burst at the hook. Wow, whatever that was, it should have been big. What a waste! And I didn't even manage to see what it was.

E rod also had a strong take. But his tackle and leader was light, and it snapped within 5 secs. Rod took a U bent and line burst. There were definitely some monster fishes down there.

Dinner by moonlight

Group pic

Night came and after dinner, the fishing took on a different feel. For some reason, there were fishes leaping around the water. I finally manged to see it clearly to know that they were small ribbons. Probably trying to not become the food for the ever present todaks.

Also, to my surprise, there were cuttlefish swimming around. A got lucky and managed to catch one with my squid jig. The rest of the people, didn't even bothered with squid jigs. They were using the landing nets and scooping them up.

Where where?


Fish was foul hooked

This man took to pose pose

The real hero

Around 9pm, while the rest were bathing, someone at my side suddenly scrambled for the landing net. I was wondering what was happening. It dawned on me soon after that they had a big fish at the other end. I could hear the reel zipping out. By then, a crowd had gathered. His friend was ready with the landing net while the other guy was trying to position it. They finally did succeed and was soon had it in the net and was levering it over. Someone said it was a Pari. But when it finally landed on the Kelong, we saw it to be a gigantic Batfish, the diameter completely covering the landing net. I was thinking that this Kelong was a lousy "no fish" type, but that zipped my mouth and proved me wrong.

E, A and D came around shortly after and I told them what they missed. Luckily I had the photos to share with them. It was certainly impressive. People had taken turns to pose pose with this prized catch.

What we came for

My prize!

Good size Gelama

So pretty

E later was to do a hat trick on his own. He was quietly luring at one corner and what good luck he had to get a Threadfin on lure! We were all naturally happy for him. It was a very good catch, and made the 467km journey here worthwhile. For him, this trip had 3 first for him. A Gelama, a Scat and a prized Threadfin.

After that, I took out my trusty L-minnow and lured too. Someone else was there doing the same with a popper. But lured and lured, nothing, except to get a Jelly fish swim over to attack my lure. I soon got quite tired, after having drove so many kms in 1 day. I bathed and went to bed around 12am. By then, the rest had already retired.

Got a monster!

My poor L-minnow

Kelong sunrise

Daddy, play with me

Morning catches of tambans


The pipe was the catfish spot

The next day, I woke up at 6.30am despite setting the alarm to 6am. Guessed I must had been quite tired not to hear it. Back to the fishing in the morning, but nothing for me. I did some morning luring exercise, and caught a giant crane. No way to save it, and had to snap the line.

The rest of the morning was quite uneventful. I did a little bottom with fish meat, and only managed to catch 2 Gelamas. But nothing fanciful. Given that I couldn't keep the fish fresh, I wasn't motivated to get more. I soon packed and cleaned up all the things, ready to return.

So hungry

My car still there

Low tide

Sir, want drinks?

Cooked on the spot

Paddy field

Mango season? Whole stretch of stalls along the road

Reaching the Jetty at around 12+pm, we walked around the place a little. There was a makeshift food and drinks stall. We all charged up on some food as it would be some time before we could grab a proper lunch.

Parking at Kapar

Nice sign

Let's order lots of food

We were here

Around Kapar, we settled for Pizza Hut. E gave a treat and by then, we were all famished. Lunch was pretty decent and having freshened up, we moved ahead to drive back to Singapore.

The journey told a little longer than we expected due to the search for packed ice. We finally made it back to singapore by 9.30pm, ending a 2 day >1000km trek up half of Malaysia. Although the fishing wasn't too good for me, I was happy to have finally made it there and back. I was nearing my attempt to try out all the Kelong grounds around Singapore.

Kelong Paradise, by itself was quite a different kind of Kelong althogether. Being used to Kelongs in Sibu, IMO, there are a few problems with this place.

1st problem was the way it was built, fishing was quite trying. Our room was on the 3rd story, and we had to move to the bottom deck to fish. Hence, there was lots of climbing up and down. We tried to overcome this problem by moving most of our fishing stuff to the bottom deck. And also due to the pillars and multi-story concept, casting was quite problematic. It was not uncommon to cross someone's line from the top floor. But this must be a first to be able to fish from 3 storeys high.

2nd problem was that the water, was quite murky. Not the kind of deep blue sea, teeming with fishes that we expected. Water was like the estuary kind, and not clear. However, there was a good school of todaks floating around waiting to catch some free food. But still, there were fishes, and also monsters lurking.

3rd problem was that the service itself was quite bad. A got quite angry with them as by 1.30pm, our lunch was still not ready. And no one told us how to get lunch and so on. By the time the food came, the staff got a good scolding from A. The room itself was quite dirty, and we were expected to take off our slippers at the door. Quite nonsensical. We largely ignored the signs.

4th problem was, we had to buy the baits. There was no tambans or baitfishes to talk about. But resourceful E managed to get some tambans and selar in the evening. He probably was the first to do so.

Last problem and the worst was, the Kelong didn't provide ice. We had to collect our catches, give it to them to put in the freezer. Collect it back from them when we are leaving. And it was up to us to go find ice from 7-11 or petrol station. I felt that our catches by then wasn't too fresh.

Yet, I think it has it's own following of regulars. From the looks of it, those people at the kelong then couldn't have been there the first time. They looked experienced enough to be prepared with live baits, camping equipment, location etc. And peeping into some of their boxes, there were plentiful of catches. Our group was like newbies to this new kind of fishing methods. I thought there must be some tricks that enable to get Threadfin consistently here. E spied someone with 4-5 good size Threadfins in the box. Strange that we didn't hear any commotion for their catches.

It probably would be the last of us coming here. Given the steep fee and the so so fishing, it was just simply too far to worth our effort. Maybe if we were locals, revisting this place would be quite likely then. Nevertheless, it was a good trip and we did see a new perspective to fishing. It was a good try and a good adventure, and I did enjoy myself despite the unfriendly fishing environment. I was always game to try things out at least once, good or bad.

A posing with the long landing net

Our dorm

Food area

Steps from 2nd floor to the fishing corner

Aisle to the dorm. Dark as power was not on during the day


Steps from 3rd floor to the 2nd

Two storeys from here

Where the prawns were kept

School of todaks

Stylish deco

Strange pipes. We were wondering why not build a jetty to here?

Outdoor dining

Projection TV

Secret trap door in our dorm that leads to the water tank

The charges

Solid pillar. Tsunami, no problem

Group leaving before us

The lower deck, so called open space fishing area

Biggies were expected here

See, I so tall

Let's squeeze her

Embarking platform

My friend, Dinah

Departure view

Speeding away

Reaching the BNO Jetty

The locals having a swim here

He too, was fishing

View of the drive back

Some kind of stadium?

At the messy KL highway intersection

Nice ECO park here


Chak said...

Hi, that was a very interesting description of your trip. Would you be able to roughly estimate the depth of the water surrounding the Kelong during high tide? Thanks. I am thinking of making a trip there but not sure of the type of fishing rod I should take with me.


nafishnafish said...

Hi Chak,
The water is not deep. I think maybe about 10-20m or so? Just a general fishing rod will do. Bring some sabiki for catching small fishes.