Monday, May 10, 2010

A Trip To Sajali

Last Monday, I received a call from my brother, Dennis. He asked me if I'd like to go for a fishing trip over the weekend. It's been a while since the last time I went fishing. I've just done my third full marathon, and I thought what better way to celebrate?

I spent that evening ransacking my fishing stuff—the 3 fishing rods, 3 fishing reels and a whole bunch of nonsense in my tackle box. Of the 3 reels, I decided to change the thread on my Shimano. I also bought some more fish hooks, leader lines and pliers.

On Saturday morning, we arrived at the KK wet market at 7am where the KK Law 2 was already all set to go. We brought our stuff onboard and went for a quick breakfast. Then we went to the wet market to buy some baits, i.e. some ikan basung, rumahans and sotongs. We were the last to get back to the boat. At about 8am, we started our journey to the fishing ground locally known as Sajali.

Because of rampant fish-bombing and uncontrolled trawler boats, sports anglers like us are finding it increasingly harder to get a good catch these days. In order to hope for something decent we need to go all the way to places like Sajali. A single trip from KK to Sajali takes between 5.5 hours to 6 hours. Sitting in the boat for that long can be quite a challenge. We can sleep for a bit; or we can keep ourselves busy like tying some fish hooks etc. But how much can one sleep that early in the morning?

Not a very spacious cabin, but this is where we sleep. And if you become seasick, don't expect any sympathy from the other anglers—they won't even consider to go home. You just go and lie down for a bit and hope that you can get better.

After spending about an hour trying to sleep, I decided to tie some fish hooks. But, y'know, 6 hours is still a horrifyingly long time when one is made to wait.

Thankfully, about 3 hours into the journey, KK Law, the boat owner who trawled a lure, caught a fish. It sort of caused a bit of excitement to break to monotone. From afar we could see the fish leap into the air in an awe-inspiring fashion. It was easy to spot since it's yellowish in colour—such a beautiful bugger!

It took a while to haul the full 400 metres or so, but eventually Law landed the fish and all of us crowded to see it. It's a fierce little fellow. We were mesmerized and accorded the fish the fascination akin to looking at a poisonous snake.

After that, we continued our journey. A little more sleep, and meddling with my tackle box, and moments of restlessness later, we finally arrived at Sajali a little after 2:30pm. The weather was fine and the sea was calm; such an ideal condition for fishing—except that the fishes were not biting! Except for some kurisi bali, titir, and some bright red-coloured fish, none of us actually had a decent catch.

Shortly after nightfall, when I least expected it, suddenly something tugged at my line. And my reel started to scream loudly. I grabbed my fishing rod and started working on my reel. It's not always that one can get a good catch these days. I started reeling the bugger in and every now and then it would pull away again. But eventually it became tired, and it became increasingly easier to haul it in. Upon reaching to side of the boat, I thought it had surrendered totally. I lifted my fishing rod, and then suddenly the fish made one last bold bid to pull away, thus breaking my fishing rod in the process!

And this is the fish which broke my fishing rod (took this photo when I arrived home.) I don't know the name of this fish, but the boatmen said it's "Kingfish". Not sure if that's the official name. Very naughty with that last attempt, but no escape from my Shimano reel and Daichi fish hook!

At night, when the fish were no longer biting, it is strange how quickly one can become sleepy. At home, we would have the TV, blogging and facebook-ing etc, but at sea—nothing!

After a while, I decided to go to sleep, perhaps at around 9pm. Dennis fought his sleepiness and waited for the fish to come. Well, it did not happen. I think it must have been around midnight when I was awaken. I went out to the deck and asked Dennis if there's a good reason for me to fish. But still no fish. So I went back to sleep.

I think Dennis must have also gone to sleep on the bed beside mine not long after I did. I was too tired and totally did not know what's happening around me. But by around 4am, perhaps my body had had enough sleep and became a bit more sensitive to its surrounding. I was awaken by Dennis' snoring. He was playing—I think—the tunes of either Beethoven or Amadeus, I'm not sure. I went out again to check on the other anglers. Many of them were already up and getting ready for the morning feeding time.

At around 6:30am as soon as the sun came up, the fish began to bite. One after another, we were all busy putting fish into our ice boxes. Well, actually not all of us. Dennis wasn't that lucky, don't know why. Maybe it had something to do with the music he's been playing the whole night.

Unfortunately, we had to pack up around 10am, at which time we had to start our return journey to KK. We took turns to bathe. Well, not really "bathe" bathe, if you know what I mean. But when your whole body smells of fish, whatever amount of fresh water you can get to wash off whatever you can, that's as good as a bath you can have at sea. The toilet, which wasn't very much of a toilet, had no door. But that's the beauty of being men, you know, there's nothing very interesting to look at! So a quick goosh-goosh over the head, a bathing soap from top to bottom, and some more goosh-goosh to wash off the soap, it's done!

Then we had lunch. Well, if you can really call it lunch. After lunch, we all went to sleep for a couple of hours. I woke up again at around 2:30pm shortly before passing Pulau Sapi. We arrived back on land at around 3:45pm.

Another shot of the Kingfish and the rest of my catch on my kitchen sink.

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