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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Recce and small fish

I was driving along the TPE (Tampines express way) where there was this part that crosses a river. I had on many occasions wondered how it was possible to get there and being quite a boring Weekend, I made a last minute turnoff at the Ponggol exit. Turning on my GPS, I started tracking the contour of the river and ended up in a dead end, in front of Serangoon Secondary School.

From the road, there was a wide field beyond which lies the river. I came out of the car and trekked across the field to have a look see. To my surprise, it was actually a Park connector, with the river quite accessible.

Singapore Merman

The water was the typical canel water, at some parts quite dirty and foul looking. But there were plenty of splashes in the water. I was also shocked to see a man in the river itself. It took me a while to realize that he was putting out net in the river to catch fish. I stealthily took some shots hoping to catch this unusual activity.

River that shouts KBL. But I think not likely

This place infested with Tilapias

I was contemplating to setup my old trusty but when D and A started to complain about mozzie attacks, I decided against it. Some foreign workers were doing net casting and from their plastic bag full of fishes, there were plenty indeed. I asked permission to have a peep, and found that the fishes were all Tilapias. Nothing very good, but quite possible on lure. I suppose that the workers are catching them for supplement to their food.

Next day, was doing my usual "fish while waiting for swimming lesson" session at LSR. Started experimenting with my hardcore vibe, but nothing was interested. Switch to my Halco. 2nd cast, I was thinking to see how the lure was swimming nearing the edge, when out of the blue, an aggressive little bugger rocketed of the rocks and hit it. For it's size, it put up a splashy fight, but was of cos no match for my Regno. I lifted it out of the water for some photo taking and plonked the fish back into the water. But the hooks hit the gills and it probably cannot survive.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Ah Ngan - Circle of Friends

Since the last ex-greendot outing, I organized another one for those that couldn't make it. However, turnout from the expected group wasn't that great, but ended up that my old pals, ST and TK could make it for this outing and with their families too. With their last minute addition, the resulting group was quite a sizable one seeing four cars doing the Sedili run to Tg Leman.

I was really happy that ST and TK could join me this round, as it had been a while since we had any gathering as friends and as families. There would be few people that you could claim that you have known for decades. But they were just that, and were part of my growing up, my working life and my life history. Therefore, this outing was very special one, at least to me.

The plan was to start early, but ST was a little late. With some hassle of filling up the white cards for the custom, the entire group finally get together wtih IZ's group at carrefour Macdonalds around 7.30am. I limited the time for a leisurely breakfast as we had to be on the move as the drive would take about 2 hours.

Famous Nimo from the forum

However, timing was just nice due to Ah ngan boat only arriving around 10.30am. We touched down on the Kelong floor around 11am. Reaching there, I immediately recognised Nimo from the forum and went over to say hi. And true to his reputation for getting todaks, he just landed a good size todak when I went over to say hello. With him was his son, the famed todak killer little boy and his bunch of hard core kelong friends. However for some reasons, I hardly bump into him in the kelong during the stay and quite wondered what he was experimenting with this time round.

I had read his article on Orkar fishing and wanted to try it out. However when I asked him, he said "no orkar" today, and I gave up trying. Since the expert has spoken, no point in trying to challenge it.

The fishing in the Kelong was quickly evident that it wasn't going to be that good. I was trying to demonstrate how to jig to the bunch of newbies, and couldn't even hit one tiny tamban with 2 tries. In fact for the whole trip, no tambans at all. I left it at that and let the newbies discovered for themselves on how to fish. Even the ever obliging todaks were quite sparse and not visible around the Kelong. Water visibility was quite poor, and not much of a current.

However, weather on the whole was rather good, with only the early part of the afternoon being a little hot. There was a short light platter of rain, but it cleared up very quickly but helped to cool down the weather. Seeing that the fishing wasn't good on plain old tamban jigs, I instructed my fellow trainees to cut sotong to bait the hooks.

The general catches were mainly Yellow fish (Indian Snapper), Kunings and Kekek (Pony fish). From these, Eric and gang who previously had great success with todak, starting throwing them out as live bait on floats. But action wasn't too great, and they were missing the occasional hookups as they flip flop over the sea and did their signature hook throwing jumps.

First good catch by Lijuan

Proof that sotong eats fish

What !#$% happened to my fish?

This is how to get a todak

ST family with demo todak

I decided to boost the group confidence and toss out a todak rig. One good fellow took my bait and with a little luck, I managed to subdue it and brought it over to the Kelong floor. Everyone was excited with the catch since they were like seeing todaks for the first time. Todak fever started all over again.

IZ spoil market, and caught one bigger than mine! measured 1.3 kg

Zunyou doing weight lifting

Vera and mummy with spoil market todak

Funny, looked so small together with Lijuan !?

Ting ting with the biggest fish she ever held

Later I go restart server to catch one

My biggest fish wor!

IZ is our friend

This is a stupid todak. Never buy insurance

IZ went on to break my record catch and hauled up a good size todak of around 1.3 kg. It was a impressive specimen and one of the biggest catch for the trip.

ST stopped messing with sotong baits and setup for todak to give it a try. Some misses later, he found it to be exciting and tried all late afternoon but with no result. However, the experience was enough for him to keep trying.

Two sea monkey, jumping on the bed

Where the fish?

After dinner, I started seeing people getting Parangs and confirmed that Parangs are still plentiful today. The other group where Jon was with are all experts fisherman. I think for the trip, they got more than 10 Parangs and countless todaks altogether. IZ got a very good catch of Parang on live bait drifting. To his credit, he observed how the others were doing it and copied it with great success.

Zunyou with my demo parang on SS minnow

Iz's catch on live bait drifting

We never play cheat and use plastic fish

My catch on gold pin minnow

Night came and I decided to demonstrate to ST on how to do lure fishing. With my trusty SS Minnow, the lumi one, I tossed it out to show how it was done. Third throw only, and wham! fish on. it was a good hookup, and despite the jumping protests, I managed to lead the parang under the kelong and with one swing, got the fellow on the wooden floor. ST was of course impressed seeing how "plastics" could get something like the thrashing thing on the floor. To give him a head start, I passed him the proven lure and setup a luring rig for him.

TK caught the action too, and I too gave out to him a pin minnow lure. I also gave ZW a L-minnow to try out. With that, I had recruited a new batch of lurers and dispatched them to practise their newly acquired skill on the dark open sea.

ST first lure fishing catch. This lure very good

ST and family with soon to be fish ball parang

ST 2nd smaller parang

Certified lure fisherman

I was luring with ST most of the time, when he suddenly got a good take. With some coaching, he successfully brought the Parang on the Kelong floor. It was finally sweet success and he was grinning from ear to ear. The entire family came out to share the glory and it was rounds and rounds of picture taking. From there on, he was a certified lurer.

I told the group to sleep around 12am so that they could wake up around 4.30am to start fishing. However, there was a good number of people having the same idea. But the fishes were there, and the other group got a good number of around 13 parangs all laid on the floor. ST went around on his own and managed to get 2 more Parangs all on his own. It was quite an achievement.

Best view in the morning

I got one last catch of Parang just before the sky lighted up. I noticed they were suddenly more active as if to catch the last meal before retiring for the day. The last one was a strong fellow and was able to spool out my lines. Bringing it under the Kelong, just as I was lifting it up, the lure and Parang disconnected and there went a prize catch. But it was a good fight.:)

I taking a break from PSP

My todak, hehehe (the mad fisherman)

See. I also know how to catch fish

Restarted server already

Pose pose like safari hunter

Interesting catch of a "slipper" fish

Finally got you

Quick take the picture. Very heavy

United Colors of Benetton

PSP more fun than fishing

Morning came, and Parangs all disappeared. Luring ceased to be effective. It was back to todak fishing. ST got a take, but due to line entanglement, it got away again. For this trip, he didn't manage to land one. TK however got lucky and finally successfully landed a todak. It was certainly a good achievement, and an upgrade from the last trip where he was just getting tiny ones. It was rounds of photo and a job well done.

Zhao Wei also got lucky and managed 2 todaks in a row. Todaks were certainly helping our newbies to have a good time.

Lai lai, buy 2 get 1 free

Kuning wave is in

How come no escalator?

We will be back

The sun came out and it soon get too hot to be fishing. Around 11am, we started packing and cleaning up our stuff. After a good lunch, we headed back to the Jetty. For this trip, the return was quite late, and we set off from the Jetty at around 2.45pm. From there, a quick drive to Permas Jusco for dinner and quick shopping and then to the custom to brave the jam. The traffic was quite bad, and the jam started from a long way. But the drive over was about 45 minutes, considered not too bad.

I think everyone did enjoy the trip, and would most certainly come again. And this was despite the relatively poor bait fishing this time. Thanks to todaks and parangs, they helped to give us some actions to remember, for life.