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Seletar Island, East Johor Straits, Singapore
6th April 2007
Gerard Norman Theseira

Once again, despite the current trend of afternoon showers in this North East monsoon season, we somehow decided to take the boat out from the Sembawang Clubhouse and spend Good Friday on the water. My mother would fully disagree as she would rather we be at church sharing in the Passion of Christ.

Having completed a half day (morning) at the shipyard, I raced home to have a quick lunch and a shower before loading the Hyundai Tucson 2.0A with the necessary equipment for the trip. It was going to be a four hour trip and all we really needed was the ice box, some soft drinks, light snacks, appropriate tackle like the light to medium action rods and small weights. Then, it was off to Yishun MRT to pick up Karen and the "live" bait from Block 744 tackle shop.

By 1445hrs, we had arrived at the SAFYC clubhouse and we pretty much on the water by 1505hrs. Big thanks to the guys at the marina for being so quick with the administration. Our group that trip was only 5, with the usual suspects like Mike, Sandra, Agi and I. The only virgin to fishing afloat was Graphic Designer Karen Boey. Apparently, she's got a blog site to visit.

The trip started off with a quick tour of the outer berths of the shipyard and of course a look at the sophisticated pipe-lay vessel I was working on at the last berth next to the PSA Wharves (Sembawang). Along the way, we were greeted by a patrolling PCG boat, which was stationary, sending me hand signals to keep away or stop. I don't understand why bother confusing the situation, as we've all learnt our Rules of the Road (ROR) and adhered. If in doubt always alter to starboard or stop. Never alter to port.

By 1530hrs, we were at Seletar Island, where the water way was plied up and down by the weekend wakeboarders. These guys were mostly armatures with less than 2 groups who look like they have done it more than once. Interesting enough was the fact that even the PRC residents living in Singapore were also having a go at it. That showed that we (Singapore) have come full circle when it comes to integration of our immigrants.

Mike and I set the anchor down and set up rods for the girls within minutes. The tide was dropping and there was only a slight breeze blowing over the water. If not for the wakeboarders, we would have had a really peaceful afternoon. It was bottom fishing for most of us and Apollo style was the order of the day. However, I had a rig from the previous trip, a dropper loop with a snelled big mouth hook on one end and a lead shot on the other.

Believe it or not, we were other there looking for Sea Bass. Yes, the Barramundi. It was generally known that the area was crawling with schools for 4-5kg specimens, waiting to be caught. The amount of fish farms in the area could have contributed to their existence and we were hoping to get a piece of the action that day. However, I think everyone falied to remember that "Wild" Sea Bass or Sekap were not that easy to land on a fishing rod.

Our first catch of the day and all that followed were Fork Tailed Catfish. Not a single Barramundi was caught. I am not really complaining as these catfish really gave us a good fight. To tell you the truth, the first fish weighed only 1.5kg and he pulled on my Abu Garcia Workhorse 20lb rod like it was on steroids. The rest of his caught cousins gave all of us a sense of what sports fishing should always be like, fish that fight till then end. With an average fight time of about 5 to 10 minutes on 10-15 pound line, you can sort of understand where I am coming from. As always, if we were not going to have them for dinner, we returned them to the sea. A habit we all wish more Singaporean would adopt.

The "catch" of the day went to Mike, with the one that got away. It started at 1845hrs and the breaded line stripped away from his spinning reel till it was down to the backing line. According to him, the initial pull took some 40 meters of line out. We were only fishing in eight meters of water and that meant that this fish could swim. The fight lasted about 15 minutes, generating much excitement onboard. There was a time when we had to get everyone to haul in their lines and even the anchor rope had to be rearranged so that Mike's fish could be fought. However, at the very last minute, while pumping the fish to the surface, the sensation was no more. Yes, the fish had freed itself from his tackle.

On inspection of the presentation leader, it was evident that the Apollo jig had given way. A solemn reminder that you 1) should always make good jigs and 2) plan for the unexpected. Mike's knots were generally tight and to release itself from the leader like that, meant that the fish's sudden burst could only be taken up by the shock leader and main line. We'll probably be discussing that incomplete fight forever.

By 1905hrs, we were on our way back to the Club to a hot shower and hearty dinner at Jimmy's Galley By the Straits.




SG Video One - Gerard (wmv)