Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Jinxed trip for mangrooveDan but still an enjoyable trip to Sematan 12-13 May

The trip couldn't have been planned better. Noel and myself met HH and Jong at the small idlylic town of Sematan at 2.30pm. Everyone was beaming with confidence and ready to do some serious fishing. The drizzling didn't dampened out spirits at all. We proceeded to buy some ice for the trip. Then it was off to the wooden jetty, 10 minutes drive from Sematan town.

The jetty was actually a common jetty used by the villages, situated in a coconut farm. When we arrived, the tide was coming in, so we didn't have any problem loading our fishing gear and stuff directly onto the boat. The boat was pleasantly quite big. 6ft wide with the length of 20-25ft. Upfront, it was comfortable to sit 3 people, but onli Noel and HH fished from there. Me and Jong was fishing from the back... though it was a bit tight. The boatman, Hashim, was fishing from the roof.

Once everything was loaded, we headed off. By that time, there was dark clouds and it had started to drizzle again. HH and Jong started trolling, but there we no strikes. We travelled about 1 hour before Hashim parked and we started fishing. First on the agenda was to fish for parrot fish. It was actually the best time to hunt for parrot fish, i.e between 5pm - 7pm. We used mud crabs and hardshell shrimps as bait.

Hashim, along with other fishing guide in Sematan, uses a special way to find fishing spot. First, they would look at the landmarks... island, hills, beach etc. then they would shut the engine... and lift up a plank on the boat... and put his head into the bottom of the boat, much like an ostrich burying it's head in the sand. Wat he's doing is actually listening to echo... sound. If there is coral right below, the sound would be different. I must say that his skill is 80% effective.

Anyway, to proof his prowess, Hashim was the first to get a fish... a parrot of about 1kg. We all had fish taking off our baits but... it all went the fish's way.

By 7pm, we switched to sotong as bait for fishing tandas, kerapus and others. The moon was FULL that night. Sotong was hard to comeby. Throughout the night, we would only catch 4 sotongs. The freshly caught sotong was potent. Once the bait was tossed, within seconds there were bites. Many tanda, kerapu, cupak... between 500g - 1kg were caught. The freshly caught sotong were precious commodity. One piece of sotong was recycled to catch 4-5 fish.

Hashim's a hardworking boatman, once the bites at a certain location has died down, he would move. Midnite came, and he brought us to a place where the water was only 2m deep. And the action there was a frenzy. Fish after fish were caught. It was also at this location where the hardfighting MJ's were caught.

Noel got a 1kg specimen, HH got a 2kg specimen and Jong got 2, a 1kg specimen and a 500g specimen.

By 4am, i was too tired and decided to take a nap. Besides, my luck was bad. Til that time, i had onli got 2, 500g, tanda. KNN.

The next morning 6am, i was up and ready to renew my quest for the elusive parrot fish. Again, we used mud crabs as bait. It was a long wait, when i got a hookup. Surely it was a parrot fish. The water was so clear i could see the fish, i was winning the battle... but suddenly, my fishing rod straightened... KNN... lost the parrot.

Jong on the other hand had a solid hookup and a parrot was landed. Around the same time, I got a strike on my rod, and managed to pull up a 500g kerapu. Well, that summed up my luck.

On analysis of the result, i realised that there might be some flaws in my fishing technique and rig.
1) My casting distance was not far enough.
2) The leader i used was way too short.
3) The hook size i used might be too big.
4) Just pure bad luck.

Overall, eventhough my catch was terrible... i had a good time and i definitely plan to be back again at the earliest available opportunity.

:::... Noel with his first ever MJ ...:::

:::... one of the 50L coleman... half-way full ...:::

:::... majectic dawn scenery ...:::

:::... jong the champ (left), hashim (boatman) ...:::

:::... so wat r u waiting for Sharma, Navin !!!!!! ...:::

:::... one of the 2 parrot fish caught during the trip. the flesh sure was tasty ...:::

:::... the biggest LOSER of the trip ...:::

:::... scenery during dusk... just as we were about to head out to sea ...:::

:::... typical scenery at Sematan ...:::

:::... typical size of tanda caught ...:::

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