Shawn/ January 13, 2012/ freshwater, Singapore/ 0 comments

Today, Nigel and me were supposed to try Spot Cocoa but at 5am, when we texted and called each other, we were both too tired to go. The weather did not seem to inviting for fishing. In fact, it was extremely inviting for a good sleep. So after yesterday’s exhausting mission, I decided to be the one to bite the bullet. The moment I said “no go” though, I heard the relief in his voice. With that confirmation, we both barely managed to say goodbye before falling asleep.

In fact, in reviewing my texts to write this post, my post to Nigel at 5:01am was “G n g*”. I remembered trying to type in “Go no go?” but I guess that’s what a cool comfy bed will do to you. lols.

At about 9am, we both texted each other and after haggling for a meet up time, we settled on 2pm.

As I was on the way to his place, he texted me and told me that a new TCE shop was having its grand opening so because of the rain, I was ok with this plan.

We hit the place, ate some free food, then headed to Spot Kilo Tango.

We parked then proceeded on foot. The path was different that the last time we were here. The grass had overgrown and the dirt paths had all but disappeared. On the upside, it was not as muddy and wet as before.

We reached the first spot 30 minutes later.

We both set up our rods but only Nigel casted out as I was lighting up. After about 10 casts, Nigel moved on and I moved in, with my $10 Sasuke clone (the best overall clone I’ve used so far – though nothing beats the ‘small original sasukes’).

On my first cast, I felt a very unusual bump almost as if the lured had snagged itself on a tree branch. The keyword here is almost. I looked out across the water and saw something like tiny tree branches coming out of the water. I was curious to see how my tri-trebled lure could hit but not snag a tree branch so I casted out again.

This time, the bump felt much more distinct and I set the hook and landed my first official fish of 2012! Nigel had moved on though so I suppose it was a good thing that the fish was small, so I managed to take a cam-whore shot.

Baby toman

Nigel saw all of this in action and casted out at the same school but somehow hooked up a PB.

Peacock Bass

Now throughout all this I was also busy taking “scientific” photos of the fishes for a fish ID page on this blog so by the time I got back to the fishing, there was none to speak of.

We moved in deeper and fished for about half an hour with no luck. Frogs, minnows and topwater lures were all tested, with only a flutter-stick lure on Nigel’s rod hitting a baby PB but losing it at the shore.

With no hits, we moved back to the first spot.

I threw my frog into the water and lit up another stick. When I was halfway through the stick, I decided to reel my frog in. The line tightened and shortly after, the frog went underwater. The moment it did that I felt a massive knock on the line. I tried to strike but it connected with nothing. Undeterred, I tried again for about 5 minutes but got nothing so I changed my lure back to the Sasuke clone.

After a few casts, I felt a big take on my line and I immediately moved to strike… bam! Fish on!

After losing an estimated 7kg toman on one of my first “proper luring” trips with Nigel and ignoring his advice on drag, I almost always leave my drag on full (which is still below my rod and line class rating).

So the fish was not running away but he was definitely giving my rod a good bend. After just a few minutes (fish hit the lure about 10 metres in front of me), the fish was at the short. He had tangled himself in the grasses at the shore so I wrapped my hand around the braided line and just yanked him out clear off the shoreline. Despite this, it managed to dehook itself and landed on the ground. Luckily, my bag was between it and the water so there was no real issue.

Finally, I had landed an actual ‘proper’ PB, and a big one at that!

By this time, Nigel had already walked over and helped me with the photos.

4.5lb Peacock Bass

Me and my 4.5lb Peacock Bass! Species: I believe to be Cichla monoculus.

4.5lb Peacock Bass and $10 Sasuke Clone

After the customaries, Nigel continued fishing while I proceeded to take more ‘scientific photos’. Just as I was about to finish, Nigel connected with another PB. The way it made the rod bend made it look really big and Nigel was careful to not stress the line or his tackle. When he brought it up though, we realised why this fish felt so heavy. It was foul hooked just under the dorsal fin which made this 1Kg fish fight like a small monster. This time it was my turn to help with the customaries.

Peacock Bass

When I was done, Nigel continued fishing while I released my 4.5lb PB and took more scientific photos of his fish before releasing that as well and joining in the fun.

I missed another estimated 1Kg PB just after I released Nigel’s. I striked too early and it flew out of the fish’s mouth so I casted out again and kept on trying and was rewarded with its younger cousin, again on the Sasuke clone.

Peacock Bass

Not to be outdone, Nigel landed another one as well.

Peacock Bass

With no more hookups after this, we moved back to an earlier spot.

As the pattern would suggest, I had to be the next one to land (not hook up) a fish and as luck would have it, that was indeed what happened, perhaps not in the way you would expect though.

Five minutes into the spot, Nigel had a massive take on his rod, he striked but nothing happened. Then all of a sudden, his line started peeling out of his reel. I could see the line in the water and this fish seemed to be casually swimming away, in no way impeded by a human on the other end of that line. I rushed to take out my video camera but at the exact moment I hit the record button, the line went slack. With the one-way-ticket in hand, the fish ensured the pattern was not broken.

As if to reprimand Nigel for ignoring providence’s predfined pattern of events, I quickly hooked up with another PB.

Peacock Bass

Peacock Bass

The rain soon cometh and with no more hits at this spot or the next 2 spots, we retreated to the last spot. This spot was a really beautiful place, a tiny pond surrounded by water plants. Logically however, I doubted that there would be any sizable fish because as far as I could tell, this tiny pond was isolated from the main body of water.

I was so bored, that I mentioned to Nigel “Walao, Bo Heur….” and at that exact moment, an estimated 500+ gram PB hit my lure. Immediately, I tried to set the hook but it flew out of it’s mouth. I was doubled over and laughing my ass off at this point and as with every Singaporean, we tried to replicate the exact same sequence of events in other to get a second chance of that fish but it was not to be.

Nigel and me eventually switched places which in hindsight was a bad call. When he snagged his lure in a tree, he started pulling it every which way until it finally flew out, directly towards my face. Luckily, my lightning fast pro kung fu training helped me duck in time. Nigel was laughing his ass off while commending my stunning kung fu reflexes.

A number of minutes went by before Nigel commented that we should have stayed at the first 2 spots longer, and I replied “Yea man….” and at that exact moment that the sentence was uttered, yup.. you guessed it. I hit a much bigger “kaktao” PB estimated at 1Kg (believe it was a Cichla monoculus). I moved to strike but once again, the lure flew out of the fish’s mouth. I had no problems when providence’s adamant adherence to the pattern of alternated landings affected only Nigel, but now it had affected me, twice!

With no more hookups, we went home.

There were a total of 4 instances (2 by me and 2 by Nigel) of hooking up fish “out of turn” and 3 instances of failed “out of turn” landings. So all fishes were landed alternately by me and Nigel. How odd.

Me: x1 Baby Toman, x1 4.5lb PB, 2 baby PB landed
Me (missed): x4 pb
Nigel: 1 baby pb, x1 medium pb and x1 1Kg pb landed
Nigel (lost): x1 baby pb, x1 massive toman lost

Known lures used
Me: Yozuri Tobimaru (Floating) – Orange
Me: Sasuke 105
Me: Scum Frog
Me: $10 90/110cm Sasuke clone – All fish landed today by me caught on this lure
Nigel: $3 Pencil lure (x1 baby pb)
Nigel: Storm flutter stick lure (x1 medium pb, x1 1Kg pb)

Me: Eupro X-Power 6Ft ($77) + Ryobi Zauber 4000 loaded with 15lbs Tuffline – Green.
Nigel: Shimano basstera with the rest unknown

xZoga 30lb FC leader with a knot that I appear to have made up (can’t seem to find this supposedly common knot online) at swivel and snap ends.
Sasami 47Kg swivel to join main line and leader and Angler’s Pal Snap at the end of the leader.

Shawn started fishing in 1994. He caught his first fish (an Ah Seng) on that very first trip to Changi Carpark 4 (before it was barricaded). He built up his fishing knowledge and gear over the years but still keeps his old gear, just like the memories.

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