How long does it take for a reservoir to recover?
The answer is, apparently, “less than 18 months”.
Scheduling mix ups (fishing and work related) and a general preference for getting out on the sea, meant that this trip was a near total fluke.
The planning convo went as follows.
Me: “I’m not working on Tuesday liao. Sangraal?”
We woke up at about 6.30, and as has been standard operating protocol since antiquity, we pointed out the bad weather, promised to meet a little bit later instead, then went back to sleep.
This time though, it really was raining. It had been raining heavily since the middle of the night.
When we next woke up, it was 8am. Not too bad considering the weather.
Kiat, who was going kayaking with Alex, was stuck at Changi Village waiting for the rain to subside. He eventually killed some time by shopping before calling it a day at around noon.
We started to walk to the spot at 10 and when we reached it, we started to fish.
Imagine our surprise to find the spot teeming with fish. PB schools of all sizes, Toman fries, complete with mom and dad, and because variety is the spice of life, a few Kaluis. +1 for polarised lenses.
Within 3 casts, Nigel had managed to annoy the Toman mom enough, for her to attack his lure.
After a short fight, the toman managed to snag itself in the weeds on the opposite bank. A few hard tugs on the line later and she was lost forever. The line had snapped.
When it became clear she wasn’t coming out, I casted out a sasuke and had 1 or 2 misses (the fish, not me) and probably a baker’s dozen of chases. I could actually see the fish chasing it all the way to the shore. If anyone has played that horror classic Silent Hill, they behaved exactly like the nurses, with the only difference being they use sight instead of sound.
Before I could change to a tighter swimming lure (or indeed before I could even think of it), Nigel had switched to flies. Now flies have been proven to be a Peacock Bass killer quite a while ago but it was always for small to medium PBs.
Within a cast, Nigel had hooked up a pretty decent sized PB (probably about a KG or slightly more). Unfortunately, it threw the hook while it was being landed.
As I could see into the water, I directed Nigel to where the fish were and once he saw it, he casted.
Then another cast, another fish.
During this time, I was still trying my best to catch the remaining toman parent but it was moving away too fast and was uninterested.
We moved on when we couldn’t see any more fish.
Throughout this time, we had great difficulty getting the fish to bite. They would chase the lure all the way in but then turn away or simply stop when reaching the bank.
Without trying to sound too pompous, I believe that it was only our magic that allowed such a high hit rate despite the fish being so lethargic.
The fish were mostly clustered near the shoreline. With this in mind, you had to move fast to attract them, while not dashing so fast past them that they would not chase, then continue moving fast for long enough that they would have time to bite. Switching to a tighter action lure only helped a little, you still had to physically move through the water quite fast.
Even when they bit, they barely attacked the thing. Some of them hit the lure with their mouths moving as similarly as goldfish when they “breathe”.
Using flies instead of lures helped but it still required some skill and a general adherence to the above principles.
We walked to the next spot which was only a few metres away where I landed this baby.
The picture shown above was my first fish for the day (landed, I had a few hits and drops, and misses earlier). I had massive difficulty landing that thing (and other temensis at this very spot; there was at least 2 schools mixed up with biggies and smallies and another school or babies). I just didn’t have enough room to get them to chase long enough. They would chase it all the way in, then stop just before the shoreline. Then I had to start again and hope the rest of its school was still there. I only landed this after using Nigel’s rod and fly (after he refused to fish himself).
We stayed there for a while more before moving on to one of my favourite spots. This spot was open vertically, horizontally, had underwater structures everywhere. It was also where I caught a “big” temensis on a broken rod.
As expected, we knew where the fish where. They were literally right in front of us. I couldn’t entice a slightly larger (but silver) temensis and toman to bite (they did chase though) but I did get this guy. In fact, a medium sized toman was busy trying to steal the lure from this guy’s mouth (when we hit the spot the week after, it was a temensis trying to steal the lure from a toman).
I called Nigel over to witness the hilarity. Despite Nigel taking ages to saunter over, the toman was still in the water and another temensis had joined the fray. They were just sitting stoicly in the water with no hint of animosity between them. Before I could ask for help with a photo, Nigel had his jig (yes, he was fw jigging as well) in the water and hooked up this guy.
We eventually moved on to the trunk spot but didn’t hook up anything. Being able to see through the water, I actually saw no fish at all. After just a brief stint here, we turned back as planned. We fished the same ole spots, got a few more hits and a few more misses. The sun had come out by now and it was getting harder for us to locate the fish.
We had some fun with temensis babies on flies and jigs, as we were doing throughout the day before finally calling an end to a very successful mission.
Of course as luck would have it, when we reached my vehicle, I found that I had left my lights on and the batteries were now dead. I sought help in the form of a battery jump from a very nice taxi driver uncle but alas I suspect his cables were too thin.
So I gave a call to my dad and my brother but luck intervened again as they were not available at the time.
Eventually, Kiat came down and was able to help, but… luck stepped in again in the form of Kiat being unable to open his bonnet. He did get it open eventually.
Look out for my next post where we revisit the spot about a week later, this time with Weiyee and Kiat (yes, he came down to help for a reason! :D).
Me: Many adults. Tons of babies.
Nigel: Many adults. Tons of babies. 1 Lost Toman (snagged itself on the opposite bank).
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.