You creep out of the house early in the morning even before the rooster is awake, clustering your fishing tackle just like you have done hundreds of times before, you look forward to spending some quality time with the mates and anticipate the experience. WHAM! Next thing you know the fish of a lifetime is on the end of your line!
That was how the weekend turned out for Ed. And the circumstances that he did it in just makes it a truly memorable day.
Going Back to School
We may as well be thinking we have arrived at the wrong place and have ended up at some shopping center. Then we spotted the first of the many directional signs that pointed to the Syopz Fishing Competition.
I’ve heard of Taylor’s University’s reputation of being “nicer” and “pricier”, and I’ve also seen their brochures but what I saw was still unexpected… lots of stores, Starbucks, Subway and the likes. You don’t give your kids pocket money when they go to school here, you give them a credit card!
Coming out of the elevators and walking pass a walkway we laid eyes upon one of the nicest fishing pond I have wet my lines in. The pond have actually existed for a long time and it was heavily covered in vegetation before the university took over the land for their new campus. Now it is slick and nice and clean. Most importantly the aquatic inhabitants have had a chance to grow. And grown big some of them have.
Pure Fishing Malaysia is the sponsor of the event and they are doing a great job promoting sport fishing in the country and amongst the youths. Fishing tackle companies should take the lead in events like this. Sure, they are promoting their brand and products, it is a win-win situation for all and the future of the sports.
The Taylor’s University Fishing Club was only recently set-up by a group of students. A young man by the name of Wayne was the guy running around helping to put things together. It is excellent that they are promoting this as a healthy sport and practices Catch and Release.
Here Comes the Rain
The competition went smoothly bar the rain earlier on.
The first fish was in fact landed 5 minutes into the starting horn. Then came the rain. But hey, they say snakeheads like to feed after the rain. Sure enough when the rain stopped at around 10am the bites heated-up.
This weekend’s new moon should also help in getting the fish in the correct mood.
Eighty something participants out of the maximum 100 permitted turned-up for the event. The Haruan or Striped Snakehead is the primary target species of the competition and scores the most points.
Only fish of 500 g and above are eligible. All fishes caught is to be taken to weigh-in and released into a recovery tank. The only baits permitted for this 0850 to 1350 hrs event are soft-plastics with de-barded hook.
Serenity amidst fabricated beauty
And the Bad
The above rules are the reason we decided to join in the fun. Most local fishing competitions are more like a carnival that appears to have no limit to the number of participants. The more the merrier and the more entry fee they can collect.
The hell with quality of fishing. Bring everyone you know, have a party, mess up the place, rub shoulders with your neighbors, get lines crossed, use any bait and rigs you fancy, hang-up them catches like salted fish for all to ogle at. They suck.
There are big haruans here that will break many personal-best records. We witnessed one young angler near us loose a huge one when his line snapped when the fish was almost under his nose.
There were many fishes below the qualifying mark being landed and there were also many misses. I personally lost three fish that felt hefty and was pulling out line from the reel. All succeeded in throwing the hook. Where is my mojo when I needed them?
Standing beside me, Ed who nearly resigned to the fact that it will be a fishless day for him suddenly manages to fool the winning fish into taking his soft plastic with his final casts.
A Striped Snakehead aka Haruan (Channa Striata) of this size from a non-stocked pond is a rare catch these days of the pathetic take all you can because it’s free or someone else will take it if you don’t yet I am a sports angler mentality.
It is his personal best for this snakehead species and landing it under this circumstances is nothing short of monumental. I remember teasing him once to walk all the way to the other side of the lake so he can free his snagged lure and he just have to say “excuse me” about a hundred times. And a little while later he’s walking with his whopper around half the lake passing hundreds of envious eyes. Many too were congratulating him on a fine catch of the day that tip the scale at 1.93 kg.
I call this his walk-of-fame. After the weigh-in cameras were clicking like a group of paparazzi chasing a hot story.
We did not have a landing net. Looking back, what if the fish broke free while I was helping him land it? Epic day.
The Charlie Brewer’s Slider Bass Grub (courtesy of Bangkok Hooker Fishing) riddled with teeth marks and tear the result of two consecutive good bite but failing to keep the hook in.