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The Sinki Reefs, Southern Islands, Singapore
15th June 2002
Sandra de Souza

Despite the current trend of afternoon showers, that Saturday morning seemed to want to prove otherwise. The six of us met at a little pier off Jurong Port Road (Buroh Lane). Our meeting point was right next to an abattoir (Primary Industries). This is a place not seen by many. "Live" pigs are transported to Singapore by a barge and then moved to this abattoir where they are slaughtered and cleaned. To me, Fishing is always an adventure because you see much more than you would on an ordinary day. I think myself as a real city girl. I get excited when I see goats crossing a dirt track in Malaysia. So this was a treat, something more than I bargained for, minus the stench of course.

After settling down in the boat, we got all jigged up and tied knots. It was quite a coincidence that the boat our friends chartered was the same one Gerard and I always got. So the familiarity was comforting. The boatman however was a different guy so that opened the possibility that we might be taken to different spots. High tide was at 3.15 that afternoon so we had plenty of time. Gerard is a firm believer in the "happy hour" which was about 2 hours before high tide. We reached our first spot at about 11.00. The fish there took to our bait quite well and Aldrin had the first catch. If I'm not wrong I think he had a trevelly. I got the second, a parrot fish (a virgin catch on my brand Shakespear 6-ft light-medium action spinning rod and Shimano Stradic 4000 spinning reel) and everyone else got their first soon enough.

The spots were all reef areas and that took quite a bit of skill. The parrot I caught was a good start but that was all it was - a start. I didn't get anything more than that until much later. My hooks or weights kept getting caught in the reef. I was losing hooks, swivels, weights and patience. Everyone around me seemed to be doing their part in filling up the icebox whereas I was often seen snapping the snagged line. I felt like a girl trying to play a boy's game. Pathetic. All in all I think I relined about 7 times.

I decided to stop for a bit and watch the others; Gerard and Mike in particular cos they were close-by. Gerard said I should try to control my hook and weight so that it won't sink right to the bottom. He also suggested switching to lead shots to minimise the equipment lost to the reef. Lead shots are round and are relatively easier to dislodge from the reef. Mike said I should not reel in after casting cos that would just increase the chance for the hook to get caught in the reef. I took heed and when we moved to the next spot, I caught my first ever threadfin jack. A little one, but it was enough to put a smile on my face. The guys caught a fair amount of fingermark snapper, grouper, parrot fish and trevellies and the box was half full. We tried a bit of float fishing in the last spot the boatman brought us to. I caught two more little ones at that spot.

It's one thing to try to play a boys game but it's quite another to be willing to learn and enjoy the sport to its highest potential.

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