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Monday, June 13, 2011

Jumping Tamales!

Apologies to my blog readers for my inactivity lately. Life has been out of whack, but this is an episode that I cannot NOT blog about it. You see, I have taken half a decade to eventually live about it to write this post.

Some history lesson, for the uninitiated. In the early days, Kims (KBL, Seabass) were plentiful in singapore. They were known to be strong adversaries and a worthy prized catch, especially for the lurers with light tackles. Once they have taken the bait, they will perform arial acrobatic stunts that will even weaken the knees of the strongest man. At every leap, chances of losing the lure/hook is high, hence getting them is quite a challenge indeed. But due to overfishing and what nots, it is rare indeed to get such a catch. Everywhere else I fished, I have never get the chance to encounter them (even in Malaysia!), except for some sporadic visits to ponds.

It was quite by chance that I got wind of this incredible opportunity. I was wanting to invite a friend to a trip to JB for some light pond fishing when I was told about this place. He was actually there fishing and I received regular "live" updates about it through the night also so much that I had wanted to charter a boat and rush there immediately. But I had to run over to JB for some car matters and had to put it off to another day.

(*note, I had purposely left out name of the place....not wanting to make another stampede to clean up the fishes. But the news is spreading like wild fire, so it is likely that readers would already know the place)

Come sunday, I decided that I would visit it, even if I had to go it solo, even if it rain shine, earthquake or nuclear plant meltdown. All my friends were busy one way of the other making more $$, and I was already planning to bring A and D there just to accompany me. But ST agreed to reschedule his work plans and agreed to make the trip with me. For us semi-retired people, time is quite flexi. :) So hoping that were would be the only ones there, we set off.

But reaching there, already there was a sizable group dominating the area. We parked ourselves away from the area, thinking that if KIMs were around, they should be everywhere. After setting up and fishing for a while, my high spirits started to dive, as I wasn't getting any nudges or bites. As I feared, with the news of this spreading all over, the place would already be cleaned up by now. By that time, I had probably done a few hundred cast. After 7 or so, finally someone on the far end hit a leaping fish. Wow, indeed it was true, a KIM. With that we worked harder but still nothing for me.

By 8 and passed the high tide, I was getting fairly discouraged. Suddenly the 2 indian workers that were on handline pulled out quite silently a whopping KIM of 3 kilos. Wow...we took some pics, and then I suggested to ST why not just buy the fish from them. If we didn't hit anything, we still can bring some back something fresh for the table. The indians readily agreed and from then on, we were quite friendly with them.

By that time, 3 KIMs were landed by the luring group...and I noticed, all at the far end.

At 9, another big group turned up which were friends to the other group. So in total, there was a row of about 20 people fishing to the left of us. They were like in a forum group and all were decked out with HID headlights and snazzy luring sets. Wow, that was on a Sunday nite and the place was like a PAP rally before the election. In fact, the whole place in the morning looked like some aftermath of a football match with all the litter and the rubbish left behind. Ugly Singaporeans!

Wahooo! My very own "wild" kim

By then, some 10+ or so KIMs were landed, each adding to my pain of to even getting a nudge from them. By then, I must have done a few thousand cast on my "cannot cast so far" black rose. Was it my lure, my setup or my red underwear? I wondered. I decided then that I must somehow edge myself to the area to get a better chance. I walked to the far end, and found a little opening that was enough for me to squeeze in between them. As I was casting, someone else was fighting another KIM. I did about 3-4 cast and WHAM, a powerhouse of a fish took my lure and run off. The take of a KBL was unmistakable. There is no negotiation, no test test nibble.... it was a hit and run, ready or not. It fought hard and made numerous dives and runs and a couple of signature leaps. Someone from the group asked who was that that got the fish (it was dark), and the guy standing next to me said, "neighbour"....haha. My "neighbour" was quite friendly and encouraging and gave me tips on how to control the fish. He also helped me to bring the fish to the edge and then up the slope. Once fish is on the grass patch, it was mine! Wauhahaha!

ST pose pose with kim

I left the lure on the fish and tried to quickly get back to ST location for photos but lure came off half way, so no more chance for "caught with pants down" photoset. So pic was just boga and me and Kim.

With that, our ice box was already 3/4 full. ST then had to go to the loo and left me to mend the station. Suddenly his rod tip took a bend and I reacted to grab his rod before it can fly into the waters. Whatever it was at the other end was strong and it crossed the line of the indians guys. But ST was no where in sight, and I can only fight the fish on his behalf. With some help from indian friends, fish was landed finally. Another 2 kilo Kim for the ice-box. By then, our ice chest was full...and no more space for anymore. ST came back to his disappontment that he missed all the action.

ST battle with a Kim that took his smelly prawns 1



But the action presented another opportunity when another KIM took his proven wire leader rig with tiny "not so fresh" prawn meat. This time, ST was there to take it on. He was astounded by how hard fighting the fish was and probably, his best fishing experience. But fish was hard to control and ST made the pertinent mistake of releasing his drag and gangster Kim dashed for the dam opening and made a GTR 3 point drift. ST braid got rubbed on the rocks and snapped. Argh!

The rubber lures that we picked up

An invention of mine to prevent the weights sangkot-ing on the rocks (Patent Pending..any investors?)

After that, his package of bait didn't work so well as it was turning bad and the tide started to change and the current got ready strong. It also got too rocky to fish and all the throws would end up getting snagged on the rocks. Tide was so low that we could scan the rocks and pick up stuck lures. We noticed that the people in the group were using the above yellow single hook rubber lures. That was their magic arsensal. But we noticed that big group had disappeared and went to the other side of the dam. From our station, we can see that they were still getting KIMs now and then. Every once a while, commotion in the water, headlights beaming here and there and all that.

In the morning, everyone else disappeared into thin air, except for some 3-4 guys at the other end. Maybe these people are staying at the chalet. KIMs were still around, as we can see them jumping out of the water every now and then. But they were not taking the lures. Somehow, it seems alot lesser.

This had been quite an experience for me. Leaping Kims out the water seem to be quite common and that is an oddity. Where the KIMS come from? According to the 2 indians, they told us the story of a group of 5 dolphins that came around and broke the fish farm nets. So the KIMs were all from the farm and were actually not "wild". That happened 2 weeks back. Another group said, "rubbish!, dolphins don't bite fact they are terrified of nets. it must be turtles, barracudas or even great white sharks!" But the escape from farm theory is very possible as all the KIMs are somehow standard size. You either get 2 kilos one, or 3 kilos one, and sometimes 4 kilos one. Like factory mold. I think in another 2 weeks, the stock would already be gone. It is fortunate that I still have the chance to experience this rare once in a lifetime opportunity.

A KBL on lure, that is quite a story. Sometimes, life is good and fair :)..if you wait long enough.

Ice chest of one of the platoon of lurers

Lures that I used to target kims. Ima gene no work :(

After a hard "nite" work...Relaxing!