Semakau was not what I expected.
It was neither as majestic nor as magical as I had expected or had been told to expect. Nevertheless, it was fun and I managed to hook up a few fish.
I arrived about 5 minutes late but nevertheless we hung around the meeting area for another hour for reasons unclear to me. After signing the releases (which conveniently required us to provide our personal details), and waiting another 20 minutes at the jetty for the boat to arrive, we were off.
After the half hour boat ride, we waited another 20 minutes to rent the bicycles. Some of the guys got bored silly so fished straight off the pier while waiting for the bicycle man to arrive. After pumping up the tires and switching some spoilt bikes, which took another half hour, we headed off.
As far as I could tell, none of the gears on the bikes were working so some of us who were stuck in ‘first’ trailed behind while the rest who were stuck in ‘high gear’ were far ahead.
When I finally reached the spot, it was crowded. I gave up after a few casts and moved in deeper by myself, diligently exploring all the possible spots. The most action however seemed to be confined to the small man made inlets that connected the ‘pools’ and the ocean.
With some help from one of the other anglers there, I managed to hook up a malabar grouper just 3 metres in front of me, using a blue tobimaru. This was after he managed to hook up a barracuda and after another guy landed a small golden trevally.
After most of us spent most of the afternoon there, I moved back to the first spot but stopped somewhere in between. I changed to my favourite orange Yozuri Tobimaru.
All of a sudden, I saw a shark about a metre long which looked liked the stereotypical grey shark swimming just about a metre in front of me but a few metres to the left. I was standing in the water so I was making provisions to jump! But the shark swam calmly and slowly by. I was still acting like a boss on the outside so I was still fishing and by the time it swam in front of me, my lure was only about a metre away from it. I reeled in as fast as I could and just before it hit it, I stopped, readied by rod, and striked!
Because of all the time taken to do that and a lack of proper planning, I hit the fucker somewhere near the tail area, near the narrower part of the body between where the anal fin would be, and the tail. Feeling the hook, the shark took off at speeds my reel has never seen before! After a few seconds it slowed down so I tried to reel him in but this only reminded him of the pain and he took off again non stop for the next few minutes. I tried in vain to reel him in but because he was hooked in the tail, there was nothing I could do to turn him around. My 5Kg drag was doing jackshit to stop him. He just kept on going and going without even stopping to breathe.
Upon looking at my rapidly emptying spool, I attempted to palm the spool but it did nothing. On my third attempt, the line finally gave away and the lucky fucker which would have made a helluva catch disappeared into the depths of the ocean… with my favourite lure.
I took out a fag and lit up. Wondering if my lure would magically float up and return to me.
I finally gave up and changed to a tiny lure and I managed to hook up another small malabar with the lure moving at about the speed of a snail. It’s important to reel in slowly when fishing for groupers over rocky areas so that they think that they have enough time to emerge and bite. If you go to fast, the grouper is not likely to chase after the lure. There was a lot of surface action but I did not manage to hook up anything else. The rest of the guys still at the original spot were slowly cycling past and moving to the last spot of the day (or the first spot we passed).
I joined them shortly after.
Here, Neil finally hooked up a Golden Trevally, his first fish of the day. There was a lot of surface about a hundred metres to our left but all of us were too lazy to go there. We finally called it quits about an hour later.
This spot is definitely not a fishing heaven that people seem to make out but it definitely is a spot with a lot of potential. I’ll definitely be going back there if I have the time.
In total, I lost about $45 worth of lures. A deep diver, a tobimaru and blue yozuri tobimaru.
Everything covered up but my hands.
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.