Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Spratly 2009 - Jig Fest

While we spend most of our time popping the reefs with the small boats, we jig most of the time while on board Sea Maiden I, and of course bottom fishing. Again, jigging were more productive at Dallas compared to Mariveles. We had several unstoppable trains with Stella 20k and also Dogfight; of which we lost the battle to corals and Barracoutas.

Damn the Barracoutas... they were EVERYWHERE!!! Alan was totally the champion of Barracoutas. The annoying part is, they tend to whack your main lines and leaders. What's even more annoying is, once hooked they fight like dead weight!! It's like reeling in a bag of rubbish!
The Barracoutas were so abundant that, Bruce and I decided to play with FIRE and try our new jig... Sevenseas Hooker, Anatahan... The SUPER ATOMIC DARTING REACTION!! Anyway we didn't use it long. After landing 2 Barracoutas, I retired the jig back to the bag :-p Hehehehe...

Anyway, speaking of unstoppable trains, we had a few from jigging and also live baiting with flying fish. But they were not meant to be... All in all, we jigged the usual Big Eye Trevallies, Barracudas, baby Dogtooth Tunas, etc. Most of the jigging action were at night as we spent most of the days popping the reefs.

There were some decent size fishes landed from jigging and 1 decent size Dogtooth from bottom with a tiny piece of bait meant for Kelisi.

And the same angler, landed a decent size shark on jig.

Andrew once again was the champion of jigging with a 22kg Dogtooth. When he hooked on to the Dogtooth, I heard him shout 'HELP HELP!!'. Straight away, I rushed over with the fighting belt and put it on and start snapping away with my camera.

And then there is DD with his 22kg Yellow Fin Tuna and also a decent size Dogtooth. Overall, DD landed the most fish, and rightfully so!! He's our one and only JIGGING MACHINE that runs on solar during the day, and moonlight after the sun sets.

And later, the crown was taken by Alan with his giant Barracuda!!

And now for the bomb of the trip... 45kg Yellow Fin Tuna!! Please go to Spirit of the Sea for more details!!

To sum it all up, we had an excellent trip with all round thrills. Company was excellent and the arrangements by Michael, top notch. The only down side is the wheather which turn nasty on the 2nd last night onwards. Wind was blowing one side, waves going another side, and current going a totally different side. It was so bad that during the last night, the captain couldn't anchor the boat AT ALL!! So we ended up DRIFTING and REPARKING the whole night through!!

Beside that, we also had a few freak high speed short storm. Freaky because everything was flying around and everyone was running for cover. High speed because it came within seconds and the wind was super high speed. It came so fast that one minute you are jigging with warm mild wind blowing, and next minute the wind turn bone chilling and it just started pouring within seconds. Short because it only lasted for 10 minutes.
SO all in all... SHIOK :)
Now that the trip report is wrapped...
GILBERT!!!!!!! Named by Brewst.This dude flew in the last night out of nowhere and decided to just chill with us all the way to Labuan.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Spratly 2009 - Pop Fest

Alltogether, we fished the Spratlys water for around 5 days 5 nights where we spent 2D2N at Dallas and the rest of the time at Mariveles.
Right after 'checking in' at Layang Layang, we head straight to Dallas.

Overall, Dallas was much much more productive compared to Mariveles, with very obliging GTs and Blue Fin Trevallies, who are not shy at all with whatever poppers thrown at them.
They are so ganas that lines were peeling out the moment my popper hit the water!! YES... before I even start popping!!!
What's even MORE amazing is according to Michael and the deckhands, they even have some where the GTs leap out of the water before the poppers even touch the water. Can't quite comment on that... :-p

ANyway, few jackpots were hit right here at Dallas!

After the 1st hour of popping, after landing several decent size GT and Blue Fins, we saw the other boat chasing after some boiling action on the surface. I think the boatman (red boat) was quite inexperience as he was charging right smack into the boiling. From what I know, that would usually drive the boiling further or disperse them. Fortunately for US!
Several minutes later, the boiling was a mere 20 metres away from OUR boat!!! And lucky me, I was holding on to my rod in a standby position that time and without hesitation, I cast past the boil and started popping smack through the boiling!

BIG SPLASH!! MISSED!! ANOTHER SPLASH!! MISSED!!!!!!!!!! THIRD SPLASH!!! With flipping fins!!! And my popper went DIVING!! Very quickly, I retrieved all the slack line and realised that the fish is heading right under the boat. Once the lines tighten, lines were peeling out at SUPER HIGH speed from the almost LOCKED Stella 10k, heading underneath the boat!!! And very quickly, I had to lean forward with rod under my armpit, half of my Shimano Kaibutsu LP is under water, both my hands on the rod hanging on to the raging speeding bull!!!

Everything happened so fast and Johnson and DD, who were on board, must have freaked out thinking my rod is gonna fly off my hand as right after I leaned forward in a very composed and commanding manner, (or was I slipping and falling) they were both behind me trying to give me a hand to hold me up and lift my rod up. No way am I gonna let anything slip from my hands!!!
After it's first run, the boatman repositioned the boat to let me start gaining lines on the fish.
At the same time, NN who was jigging behind me with Sabre Dance II and Stella 5000, hooked on to a TRAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!! Which got cut off after some non stop lines peeling!!!

I couldn't do much about it as I was very very engaged!

The fight lasted about 15 minutes, of which by the 5th, I was already dying... but NO WAY am I gonna let go of my first monster of the trip!!! So as tired as I was, I went on fighting the fish til my leader finally appeared on the surface of the water... And shouted the boatman 'SHARK, SHARK!!'.

Armed with a 3 feet gaff... and a tiny boat with 4 anglers on boat... bringing that beast on board would be freaking dangerous. Well... sometimes can put on your lap, sometimes cannot... This time, we shall let the fish swim away with the popper. This is when I quickly turned to the boatman and asked for a weight estimate.

'Boss, brapa kg ah??',
'30 kilo lebih oh...'
'Ya kah? Ok Ok...' :D :D :D

After that, I was too tired to carry on anymore so I went back onboard mother Sea Maiden I so another few could take over my place. This is when history was made once again on DAY 1 by Andrew, newbie to jigging and popping, who landed a 20+kg GT!!
Dallas totally KICK ASS!!!!! And most importantly the boatman for Sea Baby. Please pay attention to the guy in BLUE in the picture below. If you see him, make sure you are with HIS BOAT!!
Seriously no joke. If you look at the pictures here, these are only a fraction of the fishes we caught while popping at the reefs.
But if you gothrough them, the boat is always WHITE colour. The other boat, the red one, taken by another fellow always makan telur. Serious shit man...