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.
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
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.
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.