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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fishing - Mersing Tragedy and Nenasi Fishing on 14 Aug 2010

I've stopped fishing offshore since the middle of August last year - we couldn't make it for the last offshore trip for the year which was scheduled on my CEB's birthday in October because we were in Phuket holidaying. And then there were no further offshore fishing trips arranged because most of the weekend slots in Nov had been booked by others targeting sailfish and it was also the monsoon season (late Nov to Feb).

I have had fishing trips cancelled because the boatman refused to go out to sea due to the choppy weather, and that wasn't even during the monsoon season. So it was with great sadness that I read about the deaths of 4 Singaporeans who drowned when the boat they were in capsized off Mersing where they had gone for a fishing trip this month. To compound matters, there were insufficient life jackets on board and the boat was loaded past capacity. Talk about sheer irresponsibility on the part of the boatman. May their souls rest in peace. The sea is an unforgiving master, and seeks to exact its toll on those who take from it.

And that is what I intend to do in a couple of days time. Like the past 2 years where I welcome the new year abroad, this year I will not be in Singapore again. Well, at least not on the island. We are going fishing (Singapore waters) and will be on a boat to catch the fireworks before heading for the wreck to get some monster groupers ("gaos"). More fun, chicken wings and beer than serious fishing, according to my fishing kaki who was the organiser of my last offshore fishing trip of 2010 in Nenasi. Yup, the picture below shows my first catch on that fishing trip. A bright chermin. Caught it on the bradmis which has brought me incredible luck this year and a wide variety of fishes. The fight was thrilling but too short - I wasn't targetting chermins this size but GTs so this fish was no match at all for my 40lbs leader.

I caught a couple of greasy groupers but they were only 2kg+ each which meant no one scrambled to take any photos at all. And I left my trusty Sony Ericsson behind which was a huge mistake because to get photos from pp generally is a tough process. The rest of the fishing trip was rather quiet for those who were doing bottom fishing so I switched to jigging for squids. It was sotong season besides. With the triangle technique I'd learnt from my fishing shifu, I landed about 7 sotongs in all - the first one fell off the barbed end of the cheap jig while waiting for my CEB to go get the camera. So i changed jig and after 3 casts, I landed this decent sized sotong which ended up as bait for those bottom fishing.

So although I don't eat sotongs and one doesn't really pay good money to go squidding on an offshore trip, I spent about 2 hours jigging for squids - cast retrieve in triangle fashion until one feels a tug, then the dead weight at the end of the line which means either a catch or....a lost jig (sungkot)...nothing beats the thrill of fishing and wondering what the hell is on the other end.

Well anyway, after realising that most of my sotongs had been butchered by the anglers on board to be used as bait (their prawns weren't working), I decided to go after my dream catch. Yeah, it's nothing much - a parrot fish. It helps that the meat of a parrot fish is even more tender/delicious than a normal greasy grouper of course, but no, I chase the parrot fish not for its meat but because I've never had the luck to land one.

See this beauty I'm holding? It isn't mine. There I was using the same bait (prawns) as the guy on the other side of the boat who was using a handline and this 4kg+ parrot fish took his bait and not mine. He let me pose with a picture of his fish (which he packed back to HKG) - only the borga used to grip its mouth, and the bradmis behind in the picture belong to me. And that is the thing about fishing - it reminds me that as in life, there are many things beyond our control and sheer will (or force of will) is insufficient - there are many times when we have to surrender to a higher power/forces greater than us. May the good Lord deem it fit to bless me with a parrot fish and many other fishes in the coming 2011!

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