Tag Archives: ops cocoa

29th January 2012 – Ops Cocoa, Ops Duo Romeo, Ops Lima Uniform Sierra, Ops Mike Zulu Lima

Shawn/ January 29, 2012/ freshwater, Singapore/ 0 comments

We brought Tom to what Spot Cocoa for what was supposed to be a morning only Op.

Again, the ‘big gang’ was there again but this time there were only 5 people, two of which later went off the to the place that Nigel and me had gone a few trips back.

Nigel managed to hook a baby halfbeak.

The rest of the day was pretty pathetic and not wanting to disappoint our foreign friend, Nigel and me silently concluded that this would not be a full day mission.

After a quick breakfast and finally deciding against Ops Sangraal (due to our laziness), we decided to bring him to Spot Duo Romeo. Because it was on the way, we also stopped off at Spot Mike Zulu Lima and Spot Lima Uniform Sierra.

Tom managed to hook up a beautiful Temensis specimen at Spot Mike Zulu Lima but threw it back before a photo could be taken. He did not catch anymore fish at that spot. My video camera was all ready and we saw a toman and small arowana swimming past but Tom could not hook up anything.

We then moved to Spot Lima Uniform Sierra but hooked up nothing despite seeing some fish there.

We finally moved to Spot Duo Romeo and saw this mauled Temensis on the ground.

We caught nothing at this place so after all that trekking, we decided to head back. We went back to Spot Mike Zulu Lima for one last try but got nothing again. Despondent, we headed back home.

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.

22nd January 2012 – Ops Cocoa

Shawn/ January 23, 2012/ freshwater, Singapore/ 0 comments

After chumming the place yesterday, I decided I wanted to come back here to try out the water.

Nigel declined an invitation to join me (and yesterdays 9 strong group, today only 5 strong) but nevertheless proceeded to bombard me with status updates. There were no fish caught or landed by anyone. The water was completely brown.

There was however one small toman which daintily swam towards me before moving slowly to an overhanging tree and “hiding” there. When the fish swam in I got distracted and neglected to stop my lure from flying straight into the distant bushes.

After taking a short video of it, I tried to release my lure but it was embedded quite well and the line eventually snapped. Within 30 seconds, the fish swam away quite quickly, presumably to report back to mommy.

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.

21st January 2012 – CNY Eve-eve Mission with Ops Cocoa, Ops Kilo Tango

Shawn/ January 22, 2012/ freshwater, Singapore/ 0 comments

Tried out Spot Cocoa early in the morning because I wanted to chum the waters of this spot. Nigel was late again, a worrying trend that had started at the end of last year (2010).

When I first went luring with Nigel in 2005, his call time was 7am. When he introduced me to this spot in 2010, his call time was 6.30. Near the end of 2010, it changed to 6am and in December, it changed to 5.30am for a few trips.

By the time we reached the spot, there was a group of 5 people already stationed at both L1 and L2 of Spot Cocoa. I was quite keen on fishing at that spot or at least watching them fish which was especially bolstered by my carrying about 10Kg of chum all the way from my vehicle. Nigel was adamant that fishing in such crowded conditions would produce no fish (a fact disproven many times) but nevertheless I followed him to L3 which was on the opposite side of the river.

L3 has virtually no casting space, no clear view of the water (which means snagging your lure on the retrieve is virtually guaranteed), has a limited casting radius and is significantly out of range of the spots where the Toman are usually sighted. It also has a track record of producing no fish out of 3 tries at the spot (not including this one).

The entrance to L3 is about a 700metre walk from the entrance to L1 and L2 and includes significant bashing of about another 50 metres to reach the actual spot. I’m talking about bashing through thick grass taller than you, sudden depressions and mini hills hidden by said grasses, and occasionally, depressions which were micro ponds.

On the way out from L1/L2 we saw a pair of anglers heading in to join the orgy at that spot and when we were nearing L3, we saw yet another pair of anglers (1 of them was a girl) moving into L1/L2. The count now totalled 9.

At L3, Nigel diligently casted out frogs, poppers and pencil lures while I chucked out a frog into what I deemed the most promising spot, leaving it there, and lighting up fag after fag. I tentatively suggested I dump the chum here but he cleverly avoided responding to that question.

Nigel managed to miss what we believed to be 2 Haruans at the “shore”. I did not bother to work the spot and continued puffing till we left.

About an hour later and after the guys at the opposite bank managed to land 3 Tomans (1 of whom was from the 4 anglers who moved in after we left, a point which I keenly but very subtly impressed upon Nigel via a terse “That could have been us”), and lose 1 (at the shore), we packed up and moved to L4.

L4 is a spot popular with baiters and is commonly entered from another location but because we were already at L3, we used the direct route which took us on a 500 metre walk (minus the bashing to exit L3). Nigel suggested I dump the heavy bags of chum somewhere which I did. I even cleverly hid it under grasses and camouflaged it pretty damn well. Nigel dismissed my efforts but I continued nonetheless, even managing to embed some grass into my hands. I know. Sounds impossible. Trust me, it’s not and it hurts quite badly and is almost impossible to remove without tearing it off your skin.

At L4, Nigel was picking up on my still clearly testy but now-turning-into-indignant mood and decided to test the waters by suggesting we try out R1 which according to him would require about a 30 minute hike on pure pavement. Now I’ve been to R1 before, albeit via a different route (requires significant bashing of about 100 metres) and I knew that the pavement thing was nonsense. When he got almost no response from me, he suggested we try out E1.

I located (via a rock I had overturned) and picked up my chum before heading to E1.

E1 is a spot almost equidistant from L1/L2 and L3 but is not in between the 2 spots. E1 is a pond that is separated from the body of water at L1 (not L2) and L3 by a dense island of water plants.

Nigel went in alone as I declined to go in despite Nigel’s texts saying that there were 3 schools of toman fry and that he had just missed a big mama. After a while, he suggested that in the mean time, I should dump the chum at L1/L2. I was waiting for him to come out but since his texts suggested that he would be there for a while, I went to L1/L2.

I carefully surveyed the situation before gingerly asking the guy fishing at L2 if it was alright if I chummed that place. L2 had produced zero of the 4 fish hooked up by those guys at the spot.

When I was about done, I saw Nigel at E2 which was on the opposite bank of L2. With no fish, we left shortly after.


Later in the day, we decided to go fishing at Spot Kilo Tango. By now, the chain of negative events which had soured my mood was in the back of my mind so I was mildly excited again.

On the way to the carpark we saw a large group of people standing in the ocean, apparently picking clams.

We parked and were about to move off when I had a feeling that I should bring my still drying rain parka along with me. That was a good move because before we even reached the first spot, it had started to rain.

It didn’t rain all at once. The skies teased us with a few drizzles, micro periods of normal rain and short periods of no rain, all alternating seemingly randomly.

Spirits were high so we decided to try out E2 before E1 (which was further in). Because of the intermittent drizzles, Nigel had rejected my disposable poncho up till this point.

When we reached E2, the rain started to get really heavy and he quickly passed me all his electronics before putting on my disposable poncho.

With distant thunder and lightning, we hurriedly made our way to E1. I was wearing my rain pants so I had no qualms dashing through cutting grass, countless sharp branches and fallen tree traps. Even without those pants, I would have dashed through but those pants eased my mind greatly.

By the time we reached E1, the rain was pouring like crazy. We immediately took shelter behind some overhanging branches and camped out.

No sooner had we done so that lightning flashed right behind us and thunder roared down as if we had killed its mother.

We immediately took all precautions and “precautions”. We squatted down, moved the rods which were leaning on wet branches to dry(er) ones, we moved away from the fence and other stuff.

We’re both grown men but the concern on our faces was extremely visible so we chatted while the non-stop lightning rained down all around us. I shit you not, lightning was directly behind us. Thankfully, it was not also on the water or we would have been screwed.

One good point though was that my rain pants and rain parka was keeping me really dry (except for the humidity). The rain was so bad that my cigarettes would get instantly completely wet the moment I took them out of the box.

We waited for more than an hour before determining that now was the best time to leave. We guesstimated the distance of the lightning from us and tried to distinguish your standard lightning from the sprites and tried to determine a pattern of lightning strikes.

We packed up everything quickly while Nigel removed the reels from his rods and wrapped the base of his rods with plastic he found lying around in an attempt to create an “insulator”. I assured him that that would make no difference but hope is a very powerful thing so after my initial assurances, I said very little to persuade him otherwise.

We walked briskly and kept low while moving through the open fields of tall grass and near squatted when lightning was seen. We were less brisk when moving through cover. In all cases we avoided grounded metal objects like fences and railings. At one point Nigel was pointing his rods upwards into the sky but I quickly instructed him to hold his rods flush to the ground. I have never seen Nigel take my advice so quickly and without objection before! wahaha.

On our way out we saw some baiters hiding under trees with fishing rods parked in metal rod holders, pushed into the ground. We took the old and overgrown route to avoid being anywhere near that hazard.

We walked briskly and made short sprints when we were along the canal to get under cover as soon as possible.

We finally arrived at my vehicle and unpacked before I changed into a drier shirt.

We headed off to a nearby coffee shop and by the time we reached it, the rain was stopping. On the way to the coffeeshop we saw the same group (albeit slightly smaller) still picking clams in the ocean. Those people were more crazy than us!

My body was coping surprisingly well with the cold weather so when I put on my hoodie, I began to overheat and had to cool myself down a glass of Iced Milo.

On the way back, we saw the sun shining ever so brightly which according to anglers is an excellent omen for great freshwater fishing. Sunshine after rain is always good, they say.

To top it all off, there was a very clear rainbow.

I managed to get a better shot after dropping Nigel off but not before he said “All these people stopping and taking pictures, all preparing for Chinese New Year… no one knows what we’ve just been through!”. This is a sentiment I’ve experienced and held many times but is something which I’ve long since stopped expressing.

In this case though, it was particularly true. People were stopping on the street to take photos (with their camera phones naturally), families had come out of the house to take proper photos with the rainbox in the background, drivers were driving slowly to catch the beautiful view while me and a few vehicles stopped by the side of the road to get great photos. It felt so Christmassy.

There was even a double rainbow! Although, it isn’t so visible in these photos.

Don’t let the cam-whoring photo of myself when I got home fool you. The beautiful rainbow and subsequent weather really brightened my day.

Tally: 0 fish for both spots.

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.