Regular reader(s) will know that it’s been a really long time since I last fished.
In fact, the fishing has been pretty sporadic for the last 2 years or so.
Finally though, I have a blog post with pictures of fish!
After all that time of not fishing, I had a hankering to touch the sea so I asked if anyone in our Native Watercraft WhatsApp group was keen on a trip, and got a reply from Fendy and Nordin.
We left the planning till pretty late and when I started to begin the prep work, I got no reply from Fendy; at all. It was probably something to do with his mantra of “Not wanting to be the bearer of a dissapointing mesage” because I later found out from Nordin that he had to work.
Aside from the initial mumblings of which kayak we were going to use, and where we were going to fish at, the actual finalisation of the trip was done the day before.
At 2.30am both Nordin and I were still awake.
I don’t really know why Nordin was still awake; I, on the other hand, was still awake due to poor discipline and Facebook’s evil ‘related videos’ algorithm.
Due to my army training (cue the ‘During my time’ jokes) and not being at 100% exhaustion (it was close though), I was awake 1 minute before my 6.15am alarm rang. I waited a little to see if God would bless me with a valid reason to go back to sleep. As usual, I was blessed.
Nordin didn’t reply. I have no idea what was going on there. Maybe he was staring at his screen blankly. So I called him and it took a few rings before he picked up, we were both agreeable to delaying the launch to let the rain pass.
Ashamedly, this time, I woke up 5 minutes after my 9am alarm. Again, it took a direcet phone call to Nordin to get a response.
We set a time to meet, at the location where our kayaks were stored.
While I waited for Nordin to arrive, I ran into Azharita and his friend (whose name I have embarrassingly forgot). I tried to cajole them into joining us but all he could do was lament on his lack of transport options.
The entire kayak fishing scene has been pretty dormant for quite a while as evidenced by this photo of some dude’s Kayak at Watercross.
So it was nice to bump into Azharita again.
Nordin finally arrived and no doubt, we both said a silent prayer to God to give us the strength to lift my heavy-ass but totally worth it Native Slayer 13 Propel; all the way up to the roof of my van.
We headed to Changi Village to stock up on bait and various other bits of tackle that had gone missing since we last fished. Then we headed off to Sentosa. Curiously, I reached the gantry before Nordin but as I later found it, it was actually because he was waiting for me at the last bus stop before the turn into Sentosa.
That gantry fee though!
We finally arrived at the Tanjong Rhu beach carpark and proceeded to unload. Because we only had one wheel cart between the two of us, and because the beach sand was exceedingly soft, we had to ferry our gear multiple times between our vehicles and the beach.
It was alright though since it gave us more opportunities to make a show of our immense strength in front of the bikini girl. That wasn’t a typo. There was only one.
After taking a respectable amount of time to get everything set up, and entertaining just 1 guy who came to talk about our kayaks, we set off. We seem to be losing the ability to draw curious onlookers; regardless of whether or not we suck in our tummies.
We were pleasantly surprised to see that they had mostly removed the blue barrel barrier thing that used to grace this beach. We had no trouble exiting the small cove that is Tanjong Rhu and out into open waters.
Although, the further we got from the beach, the stronger the current became. Fortunately, at least at that point in time, the wind was blowing in opposition to the current and was strong enough to allow us to move with a fair amount of ease.
Aware of the fact that our target destination was about 5km away, we stopped to fish at various locations along the way to break up the monotony of non-stop peddling.
Perhaps, it was fortuitous that we did this (time to rest; not that we needed it), or perhaps it was a mistake, but the more time we spent at each location, the stronger the current became, and the more the wind died down.
With our tackle being disturbed by hordes of small fish, the current reaching a point where we could only average 1knot, and hoping to reach our destination and make it back to the beach by 8pm (it was already way past 3pm), we decided to make a beeline to our destination, which was near the Marina Cruise Centre. I say beeline. It was more like a snail trail.
On our way there, we came across a group of fellow anglers in a boat. I noticed it right away but Nordin didn’t quite seem to register what was happening. He asked me,
“Why that guy’s T-Shirt looks like a bra?”
I say ‘He asked me’ when in truth, he spoke loud enough for the people in neighbouring Batam to hear.
As we neared the boat, his fellow anglers began motioning towards him and yelling “Sexy!”, “Merman!”, “Chio or not?!”.
The poor fellow was wearing not but a bikini top on his upper body. Thankfully, he was wearing normal clothes on the bottom so our eyes, brains, and souls were not damaged irrevocably. He was quite sporting though, giving us a wave, before (significantly) lowering his head and continuing with his fishing. No pictures were taken, because according to SOLAS, a ratified UN treaty, when we are on the sea, we are all Bros and the Bro Code is strictly enforced.
If anything, this was a prime example of why gambling is never a good idea. Although, it also showed that he was a hard core fisho.
We fished once more along the way, near the end of Sentosa, but were stopped shortly after by the always friendly and understanding Police Coast Guard who thought that we were going to be fishing in the channel we were about to cross. Just to be clear, I wasn’t being sarcastic. Those guys are always nice.
We eventually reached our destination. Within seconds of my tackle hitting the bottom, I hooked up this little bugger.
I was about to release the pretty trout but it was already about to die.
For some reason, Nordin was eager to move away from this random spot that seemed promising, to another spot which we both agreed should have housed monster fish.
In what should have been prime ground for said monsters, we found nothing but flat ground, small fish, and sporadic snags.
Slightly before we gave up hope, I did manage to get this small teenager.
We eventually decided to move on while lamenting our results, or lack thereof, at what should have been legendary grounds.
I eventually chanced upon a nice spot that produced 3 smallish medium sized groupers (next picture only shows 1 as I was too busy fishing).
Nordin also found a spot fairly nearby to where I was that produced 2 for him.
As the sun began to hide behind the horizon, we began to make our way back to the beach. True to form, we still stopped to fish along the way, and arrived at the beach way past curfew.
Without a doubt, the highlight of the trip happened when we were nearing the beach. A huge fish suddenly dove back into the water from what we thought was a small swell. It was right between our kayaks and it’s tail drenched us with the sea. I was momentarily blinded as the light from my hand lamp got caught in the splash that engulfed us. I kid you not, all I saw was illuminated water. Maybe it was amplified by a wave that we didn’t see coming but Nordin said he managed to see a huge tail that momentarily blocked out my lamp from his view.
Shocked and shivering, we briefly considered fishing at that spot but decided against it due to the time and the risks of staying out even later. The currents were only getting stronger, the swells were beginning to pick up and it was seriously dark. Trying to fight a huge fish in these conditions would be a risk best left to when were more prepared.
Total tally for the day was 4 fish for me, 2 for Nordin. A pretty blessed day of fishing but most definitely extremely great fun.
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.