Tag Archives: ops sangraal

Ops Enter Exeunt 2017

Shawn/ March 1, 2017/ freshwater, Singapore/ 0 comments

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.

Nigel texted me out of the blue with:


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 5.34am, I WhatsApped him. I noticed his WhatsApp read “last seen today at 01:23”.

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.

Back to basics. Ops Sangraal.

Shawn/ February 11, 2016/ freshwater, Luring/ 2 comments

So as you may or may not have noticed I’ve recently taken quite a liking to Kayak Camping. There’s kayaking, there’s fishing, and there’s camping. What’s not to like?!

I haven’t made a post about it (or indeed any other posts yet) because I’ve got it all on youtube. So head on over and subscribe!

Sometime in November Nigel and I finally found the time to go for a short trip to Sangraal.

Unfortunately, we arrived too late and the weather was extremely unfavourable.

Nigel did manage to get this little guy though.

Stay tuned for more!


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.

Ops Sangraal. 10 months later

Shawn/ October 28, 2014/ freshwater, Luring/ 0 comments

Hot off the heels of the Native Fishing League, and after our first foray into power boating our way to fishing Nirvana (or as it turned out, simply another day of fishing in Singapore), came this semi impromptu luring expedition.

As is almost always the case, soft plans were made the night before.

Something like,
Nigel: “Tmr Sangraal?”
Me: “Possibly. Depends on the weather, what time we wake up, etc…”

So basically, the usual plans. This time though, we also had the option of going kayaking instead.

Before I went to bed on the night before, the sky was completely red. I knew then, we could probably head out much later. Without trying to come off all high and mighty, based on past experience, we sort of have fishing Sangraal, during or after rain, down to a science. As it turned out, I do not have the same skills and/or luck when it comes to weather forecasting but fortunately, it didn’t really matter as the fishing turned out to be fairly good anyway.

Unusually though, I didn’t wake up at 7am and so we didn’t have the opportunity to officially call a delayed start to the luring session, though it happened anyway.

I woke up at 10ish, reached Nigel’s place at 11.20, and we drove to the spot.

I knew our usual entrance was covered in flora since the last time we came here with Nick. However as it turned out, this time, it was completely shrouded (as we found out when we were heading back). So we missed the entrance entirely but luckily I had my GPS with me so we bashed through heavy cover and found the original path.

Throughout this trip, our feet never really got wet, which was a first for me. Usually, our feet would be covered in mud, water, twigs and leaves.

Having not gone bashing in a long time, we were only slightly more winded than usual, probabaly only tempered because of all the exercise we had while kayaking. I did notice that my rod and reel didn’t feel quite right in my hands though. Somehow, it felt unbalanced.

We finally reached our first spot and to my horror, I saw the shallow bed had been overgrown by a weedy plant. Nigel was more optimistic though, citing Desaru and claiming the fish would be hiding underneath. I was doubtful that there would be any large fish hiding underneath but more than that, I was completely unconvinced that it would be an enjoyable fight what with all that weed dampening any mad dashes the fishes would have made.

I cast out a few times but had some difficulty achieving the distance and accuracy that had usually graced me. Having experienced long periods of not luring before, I was unconvinced that I had somehow lost “the touch”.

So I sat down for a smoke, and then had another one. Then I got up, and continued casting again and saw a bit of my skill begin to come back, but only on the overhand casts. After quite a while, I took a long hard look at my rod. Something felt off but I carried on anyway. My reel was acting funny too but could have been due to a lack of maintenance (which I could have sworn I had done after the last time I used it).

It took me a while more but I finally realised that I had brought the wrong rod! To top it off, it was a really shitty rod. It had a mix of carbon and graphite (something I no longer use when luring due to their tendency to break – probably due to where I store them), was way too stiff to properly load the road with my lures, was completely unbalanced, was way too short, and to summarise, shitty, at least for luring the way I do, in the place I was at.

I expressed my anguish with a flurry of words probably not suitable for public consumption and began complaining to Nigel. When I was done, I saw down and lit a cigarette.. and continued complaining.

I finally calmed down and took up the rod and began to cast again, this time, aware of how to compensate for the rod’s shortcomings, but it was still a pretty unsuitable piece of kit and I had difficulty getting the distance I was used to but the accuracy was much closer to what I needed. To be clear, I was still complaining about this rod.

After quite a few casts, I realised I had also brought the wrong reel. This made me complain even more. This Daiwa Crest 3000 that I had brought had a huge problem since day 1. The reel would begin to get very rough once it had just a slight load on the other end. It would also suddenly lose the ability engage the anti reverse for short periods of time.

Quite frankly, this really was a bad setup and I made sure to vocalise the situation to Nigel and continued doing so throughout the trip, though in lesser quantities and smaller decibels.

About 10 minutes later, I realised that I had loaded 30 lb line into the reel and about 10 minutes after that, I realised why there was an FG knot on my leader (which Nigel had pointed out at the carpark and which is something I don’t use when luring). I don’t know why I was putting it all together so slowly. I was fairly well rested after all. Perhaps it was the anguish or the excitement of going luring again.

In any case, we moved on shortly after.

We were leaving the 2nd spot when Nigel suddenly spotted a school of Toman fry. So we quickly walked back down and began casting at the school. We were looking at the school and how oddly it moved while commenting on the low likelihood of there being a mama Toman when suddenly we saw a flash of white, dart towards the school. Then there was a big splash of white erupting from the surface.

They were Temensis on the hunt! The sight of Nigel’s lure darting towards the school seemed to turn the Temensis on!

We quickly casted and casted again and on his third cast, Nigel landed this guy.

Oddly, while Nigel was reeling in the fish, the school of red fry seemed to think that particular Temensis was after them and they dashed to the shore before heading left, back to the first spot. We took the customaries.

The splashing had stopped by this time but now we knew the Temmys were there. Although the fry had retreated to safety, we continued to cast. I had a miss when a fish tried to hit my lure as I was pulling it out of the water. At one point, Nigel’s lure got stuck on a branch on the opposing bank. He began to tug and pull until finally it came loose. He began to reel it in real fast when I noticed a Temensis chasing it. As it was about to strike, Nigel lifted the lure out of the water.

That was when I spotted the school of fry surfacing on the left. We considered moving back to the first spot to chase them back here. We didn’t have to wait long before the decision was made for us because we heard a lot of splashing coming from that general area. Nigel quickly rushed to the left to chase them to me. And run right into my arms they did. On my 2nd cast, a small Temmy hit my hoime made fly as it was approaching the fry.

As had happened before, the fry dashed to shore, then headed left again. This time, we had an inkling of what would happen. So after casting just a bit more to see if the Temmys would take our lures, we began to relax.

In the mean time, Nigel landed this juvenile on my setup and using my fly, so technically, this was my fish. lol.

About 10 minutes later, the fry again surfaced at the same spot I had seem them, headed for the same tree I had seen them head to, and we began to cast again. This time though, the school was visibly smaller, and by the time they were within casting distance, they had split into 2 schools, one very small, and one tiny, with the tiny one consisting of about 5 fry. We tried to get the one on the right but it was difficult to get there, even more so for me, in the wrong position and with a shitty rod.

I managed to land a slightly bigger one this time.

This time though, the fry dashed right and try as we might to cajoul them back to the left, they disappeared. We considered waiting a while to see if the Temensis would chase them back to the left but we decided to move when we heard lots of splashing coming from the far right.

I managed to land these 2 guys a few spots to the right.

The hits began to dwindle when we decided to head direct to the log spot for a quick survey before heading to the tree spot.

The water was very still and seemed lifeless and with evening approaching, we declared that this would be the furthest we would go for today. We began to pack up when we heard the distant roll of thunder and were about to leave when we spotted 3 young adult Tomans moving out from the right. We tried to get them to take our flies (as we didn’t have time to change to lures), but they ran away as soon the flies neared them.

We tried in vain to chase them, moving spots twice to catch up to them but they were no where to be seen. On past trips, we havd seen toman swimming left and out into the open so we knew they were probably already gone.

We eventually gave up and began fishing back.

I eventually landed this guy at the spot where I had caught the 2 fish.

Nigel moved on ahead and began fishing at the spot where we had seen all that action and landed this guy.

We eventually moved back to the first spot and despite there being some action, because of the heavy rain that was coming, we called it a day and headed back.

A pretty good half a day of fishing in unusual circumstances.

 

 

 


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.