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Sunday, June 08, 2008

Ah Ngan - Luring trip

It has been a very long long break since my last trip to a Kelong. Likewise for Eric. So when he messaged that he was heading for Ah Ngan this Sat-Sun, it was just perfect timing. Quick check with family to confirm that nothing was planned for the weekend, and we were set to go. I originally was planning for a 28-29 date, but then, I could go again :).

So it was with great expectations when we set off to cross the checkpoint at 6.20am that morning. However, the moment I turned into the 100m stretch that leads up the ramp to the checkpoint, it was a bumper to bumper traffic jam of the sorts that I had not seen before. And one hour later, I barely moved 50m from my original spot. I was still like 200m from my home. Quick call to Eric's vehicle, Jim's car, also found that they were caught in the Jam likewise, from the Kranji end. I decided then to head for Tuas checkpoint, hoping to avoid the traffic mayham. But later did we expect that when we joined the queue at Tuas, it was like 2km long. And that took another 2 hours to navigate to finally reach the checkpoint. Jim's car mistakenly went on the wrong lane and had to "cut" queue. :). Turned out that he passed the checkpoint much much earlier than I.

We rationalized that there must have had been some tip off regarding the fugitive Mas Selamat. The custom checks were unusually stringent, and everyone had to disembark the car to scan their thumbprint.

At that time, it was already 10.30am when we finally regrouped at the Gelang Patah rest stop. From there, traffic was ok and smooth until the stretch before Kota Tinggi, another traffic Jam! I have had enough of traffic jam for the day, and my legs were tired from all the clutch shifting. After moving along for half hour or so, I decided to detour out from the Kota Tinggi exit to make a round about to come out from the other exit from Kota Tinggi further down. But the round trip took another 20 minutes. Although we did come out to a smooth traffic, Eric's car had already passed the jam and proceeded on. Ended up we were slower than them. Anyway, it was another one and half hours to the Jetty, and when we finally reached at 1.30pm, we had completed a driving marathon of 7 hours. That sort of timing, I could have reached kuantan.

Rain rain go away

Ang Moh also going Kelong

At the jetty, finally

And it didn't help that along the way, it was dizzling and pouring heavily at some stretch. It sure didn't look like a good day. But nevertheless, it was a memorable adventure driving adventure. But a day out fishing is better than any day no matter how miserable it is. This trip, it was a small group, with Eric, Jimmy, Ann and Edwin.

We reached Ah Ngan around 2.30pm, in time for a late lunch at 3pm. We were informed that there were more than 100pax in the kelong, but it didn't seem to be that packed. There were quite a number of singaporean youngsters that were enjoying their school holiday.

Fishing in the rain

A very beautiful lure. But nothing touched it.

A very handsome Parang

Ann, the Leng chiam killer

Since it was raining, I decided to do some shut eye and wait out the rain. I had come to the kelong with a purpose, to do some field test on some lures that I bought along. Therefore, I wasn't into tamban jigging and baiting and what nots. My aim to be catching things purely with lures. But it was too tempting for me not to try out squidding first. But few attempts later, squid didn't seem to be around in the daytime. Water was fairly clear, but no surface activity whatsoever. There were abundance of kembong and kunings, and the ever obliging Leng Jiams. But mr todaks were no where to be seen. The water was just too cold. But for some reason, the tide was a very high one at that time (and later, a very low tide as well).

Luring also didn't seem to work at all in the daytime. Few tries yielded nothing. But I was sure that people were starting to wonder about this guy with so many pattern of lures.

Ah Ngan Cinema

So, it was to wait till dark, before I tried again. To boost my confidence, I started with my regular search lure, my L-Minnow. And moments later, I felt a tap. Aha, there were fishes. Earlier on in the evening, Eric had caught a very good sized parang on live tamban. So, it was quite likely that Parangs were around. And then more taps, and some strikes. Alas, my L-minnow hooks weren't that great, and I was unable to land anything. But close examination of the lure confirmed that it had been bitten, from all the scratch marks. Since I had confirmed their presence, I started to use my other lures.

Parang on Maria Tight Salom

Selar on Seabass colleage

My first success was with Maria tight Salom. It was hit and I had a fish on. I quickly pull it in and swung it over to the floor of the kelong. It wasn't a big one, but still, it was a good start. People started to notice that I had landed a fish on lure, and all started luring/jigging around me as well.

Catch of the day! A 5.5kg Cobia

Barra on FixBait

Later, I had another success with my Tackle house FixBait, catching a small barra. Nevertheless, it was a good hit. The rest of the lures didn't do that well, given the condition of the kelong at nite. Someone's rod had the good luck of hitting a Cobia, and it was a very good one indeed. I later offered my virgin boga to get the weight, and it measured an astounding 12lbs. That is about 5.5kg.

My Parang on FakeBait

I went to bed and woke up the next mornig at 5.30am to continue fishing. I landed another Parang again, on Maria FakeBait. My next fish was another Parang, but a very good size one. It was on FakeBait, and it fought so hard that I had a bend on my Black Rose. And Black Rose is not that light a rod. I had some difficulty to swing it up due to the weight and also that the kelong was by now very high from the water. So fish fell short and low under the kelong. With a few of it's twist and turn, it freed itself and I lost it. Argh!

After that, daylight broke and Parangs all gone home. After breakfast, I did some general fishing to get some fish for cooking at home. As I was landing Leng Chiams after Leng Chiams, A wasn't doing that great and landed the Yellow snapper fish instead. Strange.

Then it started to dizzle again. With that, I decided to pack and rest a later for the drive back. The price now for the Kelong is RM155 for adults and RM95 for kids.

The way back was quite alright except for a short jam at the Kota Tinggi traffic light. I led the guys to Fishingline and they were impressed with the sheer number of products in the store. From there, it was home sweet home after a fill up of Petrol. Petrol prices are now RM2.70. Still cheaper for Singapoeans. From there, the queue to the Lorry checkpoint was snakily long. But it was moving steadily and turned out that the queue wasn't that bad. From that point, we arrived back in Singapore within half an hour. Checkpoint at Singapore side was smooth.

Not too bad a trip, although I was hoping for some bigger catches on Lure. Other than the first day traffic Jam, it was some good fun with old friends and good company.

This is the way to eat a Ramli Burger

Our bedding area

Ann's big Leng Chiam

Fishing til the rising sun

My Pin Minnow caught a boat!

Clean up time

One of her few Leng Chiams

This ugly fish is good to eat

Giant Leng Chiam!

Mommy goby

How he managed to untwist this fish that was stuck at the rope?

All the lures that I pulled out from my Doreamon pocket

Things you need to tie Sure Catch Tamban hooks

Serious fishing folks. Fish until no more lines

I look like sotong head or not?

Sir, you caught too many fishes. Cannot leave the kelong

All gwai gwai put on the life jacket

Crab hitching a ride on the boat

Ususual high tide

Gone fishing

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