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Sunday, November 23, 2008

KFC - Tuas Kelong Recce (2)

My mission today was to search out the remaining kelongs around Tuas. From my last trip, I was told that there were 4 actually kelongs around here. However, no one could tell me who to contact, where the kelong and how much it would cost. Ah Guan kelong price was steep and I was hoping to find some cheaper alternative so that I can bring the whole gang here. So, early in the morning, I dragged myself out of bed to start off for another weekend recce. Frankly, I think age is catching up, and waking up at 5am was getting harder and harder.

Kopitiam at Gelang Patah

Giant Breasty Pau

GPS finally woke up

This time round, I went in via the Woodlands checkpoint and drove down Pasir Gudang and exit from Perling. From that route, the distance was longer but a scenic one . We stopped at Gelang Patah town itself to get some breakfast. I saw a quite nicely decor-ed coffee shop and we stop to get food and drinks. During the drive, my GPS was acting up and I couldn't quite tell where I was. At the coffee shop, it started working again and I finally got my bearings. From there, still some distance away from Yeo's restaurant.

The Jetty at the back. This man gave all sorts of confusing info

The main Jetty talking to the helpful uncle

Moving down south, I reached the vicinity around 8am thereabout. But unlike the last trip, I headed for the main Jetty rather than Yeo's. Reaching there, the Jetty was rather deserted. We walked around to look for some kind soul to ask our way. Luckily A was with me and could communicate well with the Locals. From an Uncle in the boathouse, we got some smattering of info like the Kelongs were closed and cannot go there, and then one Kelong can go but would cost RM70 per pax. But if go in small group, it would be RM200 per pax. All kinds of confusing information.

Restoran at the end of the universe

Result of boat fishing. Catches for the market

We next asked another auntie, and she said can go, but the boatman not around. We then moved to the main Jetty Office where we met an old uncle. He looked like some Jetty helper here and was indeed the right person to ask. We got a boatman contact from him, and through the boatman, we were able to gain access to all the other Kelongs. One Kelong he said was open which we saw a big group going and the other need "membership". I wasn't too keen to fish shoulder to shoulder and decided against heading for it. As for the "membership" one, he didn't know how we could apply :). We called the boatman and was told that the boatman himself got a Kelong and it would only cost RM30 per pax. Inclusive of the boat ride. That sounded like a damn good deal and we agreed.

The speedboat ride was enjoyable

Reaching the Kelong

Very spartan Kelong and the smallest one I have been

Kitchen is neat and clean

An extension to the sea

This was how we got up, outward bound style

Boatman came later, and we boarded up his speedboat. He seemed like the honest and quiet sort. The ride on the speedboat itself was a thrilling one, and it zoomed past under the Tuas 2nd Link flyover. From that vantage point, I could see people fishing under the flyover itself! Hmm, it looked like an interesting spot and I may just try it out one day. From there, the speedboat headed straight for a tiny Kelong in the horizon. As it got closer, we could see that it was a small one, just about the size of an HDB 5 room flat. But it was sturdy enough and self sufficient. And best of all, we were the only ones. Boatman said most people come here to fish at night. It was not as comfortable as Ah Guan, but there was a small room, a kitchen, a toilet and a roof. Boatman said we could make maggi mee, and coffee and help ourselves with whatever food there is. He stayed for a little while and then left without telling us. We were then alone in the entire kelong.

Junior fishing

Expert fishing ;P

We started fishing and I realized that I was so blur that I forgot to bring my upper section of my green arrow. So that left me with my newly acquired light rods, my abu stinger, and my cherrywood. My first cast with sabiki was very promising. That morning, the water was teaming with baitfish, just like that time at Ah Guan. But here, we even regulary got small tiny Queenies on Sabiki. I released all the small ones for them to have a chance in the big ocean. But seems like this area, Queens are very common fishes. Other baitfishes were the regular Tambans, Selars, Ponyfishes and Glassfishes. Here, the Glassfishes were a bit unusual, and were not the spikey variety that is common in other places.

Finally got you!

I also throw out a float with some of the baitfishes, and it was easy to get strikes from suface fishes within 5-10 minutes. These should be todaks I presume. However, the behaviour is a little different from Sibu, and the todaks here don't swallow the bait within 10 secs. Everytime I locked the reel and strike, the bait would just come right out. So, looks like more time is needed for this cautious fellow. After some experimentation, I finally got one on the other end. It kept jumping even when I was not pulling hard. Quite a fiesty one even though it was not big.

Roughback puffer. Sent back to sea to puff somemore

Bottom fishing only yielded a Puffer which huff itself into a balloon. We released it. Other than that, the bait fishes either go missing or got eaten up into mangled pieces. I think those were the works of crabs. I gave up bottom as it wasn't promising. One good thing though, I didn't get any cats this round.

Not the usual type of spikey glass fish

The morning was a little hot and we tried to stay under the shade to fish. The bait fish disappeared around noon, and all I could get then were the glassfishes. However, they were quite effective baits and I could still get todaks going for them. I lost a bigger fish on my sabiki as the line was too light and it broke away. The activity got slow in the early afternoon, and I started to try to lure with my ultra light cherrywood. I used my Cyrstal minnow and to my surprise, I saw a todak following my lure. Later on, I had something that chomped on it and then released. It must have been a todak.

I was excited, even though a small fish. My first queenie on lure

Fish looked sad

A few more cast later, I was shocked to see a spectacular shiny fish jumping out of the water to hit my lure. But the fish was bad at aiming and missed it. But the action got my heatbeat thumping and I was cursing at myself for missing that chance. I stop luring and did some jigging. But later on, I went back to luring again and this time, I finally got a hit. The fish felt strong, but I was using a very light rod with a 6lbs line. Not wanting to lose it, I quickly called for A to video it first in case I couldn't bring it up. The water at this time was rather low due to the low tide. After the videoing, I took my chances and lifted the struggling fish up on deck. Lady luck was with me and I didn't lose it. It was just a 300g thereabout Queenie, and my very first on lure! I was very glad that despite the not so good location, I did achieve something.

See video here

Maggie mee, queenfish flavor

Nothing like a free meal from the sea

A decided to cook the fish on the spot. In the kitchen, we had all the necessary to do some cooking. A whipped up a maggi mee meal with eggs and fresh steamed Queen fish. The food of cos was as delicious as it could get. Not your everyday hawker meal.

Heavy rain. All the land disappeared cold

After that, the weather suddenly took a turn for th worse and it started raining heavily. So heavy that all our things were soaked wet. But luckily, the Kelong has a well covered room (with a door) and we all huddled inside to keep dry. From inside the room, we could see nature fury and powerful forces. All the land around us got into a blur and visibility was very bad. One interesting view was when I saw a sea bird struggling against the wind to reach the kelong for solid ground. As it was raining hard, the bird had to flap it's wings with all its might just to reach the first wooden pole. Without the kelong, it might just have drowned in the sea.

Hey, got people fishing!

The rain lasted about half an hour, and after that the sea became friendly again. We had called the boatman to come "rescue" us after the rain. Soon, he arrived, and we all boarded back on the boat for another speeding ride back to the Jetty. Even though all our things were wet, it was an enjoyable day out, and quite a good one with my prized Queenie on lure catch. And to our surprise, he didn't even charged us for D. Hence, the total fee for the trip was a cheap RM60. Our dinner later in town cost more than that.

A good "new" place, and a possible location for further outings. Although quite sparse, it was very relaxing having the Kelong all to ourselves. Not your every sunday kind of thing.

Please read it here

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