Tag Archives: toman

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.

Ops Sangraal. 5 days later.

Shawn/ December 21, 2013/ freshwater, Luring, Singapore/ 1 comments

First, this post is going to be text heavy. The fishing was good enough that we didn’t take photos of many of the fish we caught… and by caught, I mean those we bothered to land and/or not lose.

After Kiat helped me with my dead van battery on our last trip here, we had to expedite this expedition. So we set it for just 5 days later. The weather was the same as the last time we were here.

Rain in the morning. That equated to better fishing for us. We knew where all the fish were when it was raining and the colder the water was, the slower they moved out to hunt.

As usual, Nigel and me stepped back as we let the newbies to the area try their hand at the first lagoon and to get used to the weird casting positions. As expected, they had a few troubles getting used to the terrain but they caught on quick.

They had a few misses and by the time Nigel and I felt that they were ready, the fish had begun to move out.

We made the few customary casts at the usual spots and moved on quickly, eager to get to where we “knew” the fish were. Unfortunately for me, my lure decided to stay in the water at one of these spots and I had to go for a swim… again.

The pace was slow and I was worried we were getting further behind the fish, so Weiyee and I expedited our journey deeper along the path. Kiat was about to join us when Nigel took over his spot. For reasons I still do not understand, the fish that had headed out to hunt, then returned to their homes. On Nigel’s first few casts at the spot that Kiat, Weiyee and I were fishing at only moments before, Nigel connected with a beautiful Temensis.

Fortunately for Kiat, he hadn’t advanced as far as Weiyee and I so he was able to return to where Nigel was. Weiyee and I were already on the opposite bank.

As was the case with last week, getting them to bite took some doing. As soon as they were about to bite, we had run out of space to move the lure. Fortunately for Kiat and Nigel, they were much better positioned and managed to get quite a few fish. Weiyee and I were literally casting between tree trunks and under branches that were about 3 metres in front of us and only half a metre above the water. Weiyee and I did our best but it was not good enough.

They were two distinct schools of Temensis. One small group made regular trips in front of Weiyee and me. One larger and more aggresive group hovered in front of Nigel and Kiat.

Eventually though, I moved on.

Up next was the log spot but it was overgrown so I moved to the right of it. There were at least three Toman schools circling the area but the terrain made it extremely difficult to lure there. Branches sporadically rose and dove above the water line and the only real method to guarantee a hookup, was to change to artificial frogs, but I had none. I did almost get one mid sized Toman but my Yozuri Tobimaru snagged on one of the branches and the fish immediately turned away.

When the rest started catching up, I took the opportunity to skip the next few spots and headed straight to one of my favourite spots. There were always Temensis here.

I casted out the tobimaru, and immediately hooked up a beautiful and fairly large Temensis. Unfortunately, Nigel lost it when trying to land it. I don’t fault him though. He had to do some stunts just to try to land that baby, for which I am grateful.

With my polarised sunglasses, I could see all the fish in the water, and there were many! A number of schools of temensis and tomans were swimming about, some separate, some together. Others were sitting stoicly in the water. When I recovered, I casted out again and hooked up a toman! Unlike last week where a toman was trying to steal the lure out of the PB’s mouth, this time round, a PB was trying to get the lure out the toman’s mouth, all while another temensis kept a close eye on the events proceeding, barely a foot away.

I kept the fish in the water because Nigel had to do a stunt again to land that baby and also because it was keeping the school of tomans and PBs nearby. +1 for polarised glasses.

By the time Nigel had landed my toman, Kiat’s lure was in the water and he was quickly rewarded with yet another temmy.

When my toman had been released I casted out again while weiyee prepared his tackle. The fish were still here and chasing my lure (another toman and a few temmys). When I brought my lure out of the water, I didn’t cast again though to make space for weiyee but then he decided to change his lure. By the time weiyee casted out, the fish were gone.

Often times, in the angling world, there are heavy debates on lure presentation. Most agree that tying a Flurocarbon leader straight to the lure increases bite rate. I agree with it as well but I often favour my quicker method. I pretie leaders about a foot long, with a snap on one end, and a swivel on the other. I then use a simple overhand knot (but go through the loop 8 times) on my main line (braided line) and connect it all together. If it ever snaps, I simply make the overhand knot with what’s left of my main line, and connect another spare leader. It makes dealing with snaps and line cuts much easier and quicker. It also makes changing lures very quick and easy.

If ever the fishing gets so slow as to warrant better lure presentation, I can simply switch over with a simple snip of the scissors.

We eventually moved on to the estuary spot (while fishing on the way) where historically we almost never get any fish. This time though, the fish had apparently swum here. School after school of temensis came in (not unlike a wave defense game) and they bit everythying from lures to jigs, and even flies. They were taking them all but at the same time it wasn’t exactly a frenzy.  I took the opportunity to break in quite a few new lures and was not disappointed.

Everyone was getting hits!

Kiats:

Nigel’s:

Nigel’s second

Even Weiyee was getting hits but he spent most of the time changing lures.

We couldn’t really be bothered with the camera after the first few fish.

Eventually, after overstaying our time at this place (Nigel had to head home early), we turned back as planned (despite the fish still biting) and we fished our way back.

Weiyee finally did land a Temensis though back at the spot where I caught my toman but he was alone and didn’t have a camera.

All in all, yet another great day of fishing at the aptly named, Sangraal.

CR: Countless!


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. 1 and a half years later.

Shawn/ November 12, 2013/ freshwater, Luring, Singapore/ 1 comments

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?”
Nigel: “Go.”

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).

Score:
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.