Where do I even begin. It’s been so long since my last luring trip.
Maybe I should begin by saying no fish were landed by Nigel or me. We spent most of the day exploring.
What followed was a long debate about where to go with the usual injections of FUD by a certain famous baktao personality to try to dissuade me from my desire to go Spot Sangraal. That spot had previously been leaked out and ruined by lurers and baiters alike which he was quick to point out. He neglected to point out that that was more than 2 years ago though.
Personally, I felt that at least one trip every year would not be a waste of time but I needed the exercise and we were making slow progress at the diplomacy table and D-Day was fast approaching. So I gave in and let Nigel decide on Spot Enter Exeunt after which he promptly began trying to inject false hope that we would trek all the way to Sangraal. Cheeky arse.
I even agreed to his crazy ass 6.30am call time although I rejected his desire to meet up for breakfast. If I’m to lose sleep, it will not be for food.
At 5:39am I called him and in a voice that if any deeper, would not have been picked up by the microphone, I said, “Go ah?”.
He said, “Guess so.”
I said, “Ok, bye.”
I reached his carpark at 6.40am but the twit was still at home eating “something”.
Almost 15 minutes later, we eventually got underway.
A further half an hour elapsed before we finally reached the entrance to the spot.
We found that the once well defined path was now overgrown and unclear. We trundled along before finally coming across the first castable opening about half an hour later.
Neither of us felt that this particular spot held any promise but it was a great place to get reacquainted with our tackle and to see if we still had it. We did.
A couple of casts and some coffee later, we were ready to move on to the real spots.
We turned to look for the path that would lead us deeper in but it was not there. Well, not really. Instead what we saw was what appeared to be a vague semblance of a former path, now covered with fallen saplings and trees.
For reasons that we will never know, instead of trying to walk back where we came to find the original path, we decided to bash through this macro woodland maze. Perhaps it was the sense of adventure we were currently enjoying.
Coffee in one hand and fishing rod in the other, I led us forward. At one point, I had to duck under a fallen tree. I guess I was a bit rusty because I didn’t duck low enough, such that my backpack ended up scraping the underside of the tree trunk.
Nigel asked if some pulpy casings he saw on the tree were snails. I looked up and saw something that looked like worm casings or any hills on the top of the trunk and told him that they weren’t snails.
I tried my best to squat lower and move on. According to Nigel, I did nothing of the sort and merely kept moving forward, scraping the underside of the trunk more and more. As I later found out, the “snails” that Nigel was talking about was also on the underside of the trunk and not on the ones at the top of the trunk that I was looking at, and as Nigel later pointed out, I was totally destroying them.
All of a sudden, I felt a sudden sharp searing pain in my right pinkie and it was raw, intense, and primal enough that the coffee I was holding went flying into the air. As far as I know, I made no conscious decision to do that.
It almost felt like when you forget about your cigarette and it burns down to the filter and burns your finger. Except it felt way more violent and intense and ‘kept burning’.
Imagine a needle so hot that despite it’s small size, when it enters your skin, you feel like an area larger than the injection site is on fire. Now imagine it being violently stabbed into you by a madman.
I was quite confused and so was Nigel. Clearly, neither of us were smoking. I worried that a snake had somehow dropped down from the fallen tree and bit me on the finger. But that didn’t make sense either. I spat on it, just in case, because, as we all know, spit cures everything. Except it didn’t.
While we were standing there like absolute morons, I suddenly got another ‘hit’, this time on my left cheek.
Again, I jumped, but unlike my pinkie, most of the pain was from the hit and not whatever venom was inside. The burning pain was milder. I was about to say let’s get out of here when I suddenly saw Nigel jump too.
We began to make a hasty retreat but while waiting for Nigel to turn and retreat, I was hit again, this time on my hand and it was then I saw it.
It was a wasp. A tiny little black wasp. The kind that seems to be quite common Singapore. Maybe if you know what it is you can comment down below. I would be interested to know.
On discovering who our attacker was, we were simultaneously relieved and then alarmed.
We sprinted (jogged really) back down the trail to what we felt was a safe distance before slowing down to a fast walk. We kept a keen eye on every single tree that we had to pass, climb over, or crawl under. I made use of Nigel’s nervousness to startle him a few times by poking the back of his neck with my still assembled fishing rod.
Unlike my face or the area on my hand that got hit, my pinkie was beginning to swell and felt like it was throbbing. It felt very hot and it hurt when I touched it.
I was concerned that I would not be able to drive properly but alas it turned out ok.
While retreating, we made the decision to fish at continue fishing at Pandan Reservoir.
To add to the day’s excitement the fuel cap release lever broke while I was filling up petrol while on the way to Pandan. We also learned that yelling out the word wasp or using it in anything other than extremely calm voice was impossible. It was a tongue twister.
Evidence of the thrown coffee still remained when we reached the reservoir.
Pandan was predictably dull for me. I prefer technical casting such as casting under trees or alongside branches. Pandan doesn’t have that.
I was pleasantly surprised though that the PUB had opened up a very large portion of the reservoir for fishing.
When my pinkie was finally well enough for me to at least begin light fishing, a few hours had passed (the entire wasp attack fracas was over and done by 9am at the latest).
We walked quite a bit and fished for most of the legally fishable stretches of shore but caught nothing.
I met this guy, Faizal, who did manage to catch this pretty decent PB though.
We explored the area a bit more before calling it quits.
We came across a couple of guys fishing just beyond the legal area but we didn’t take pictures. They were only just within the no fishing bounds.
Shortly after running into those guys, my shoe began to give way. I did manage to fix it but because the glue was in my vehicle, and it was quite far away, and the sun was beating down something fierce, we just decided to end our Pandan fishing session.
We again ran into other fishermen but this time, they were foreign workers who were running a net across a small drain near the reservoir. Apparently, when the tide changed, fish would swim in and through the drains.
While hanging around and watching them to see how they did it, we decided to spend the rest of the day exploring and looking for new fishing grounds.
We found quite a number of potential spots and eventually even came across Kranji Marshes (no fishing there though).
Even the canals had fish (again, no fishing there either) and there were signs of humans walking in them.
After scouting out our last spot, we headed over to a popular local fishing pond to check it out (Neither of us are great fans of fishing ponds).
We called it a day soon after. Despite the poor fishing, the excitement from exploring new places more than offset the disappointment we felt.
Hopefully we have better trip next time.
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.