Sunday, December 26, 2010

Mangrove Jack Part 2

After the successful trip just before Christmas, I just can't control the itch. I really need to go back and see if the bully jacks are back. So,even though I still have a hangover due to previous night's drinking, I still went out to fish at around 5:30am. I paddled lazily to the spot and just before daybreak, I anchored securely near the opposite side of the bank.

I casted towards the rocky wall and then twitched the big six- incher WTD lure a couple of times. On the pause, a swirl appeared and then the lure sank. I barely had the time to set the hook. I fought the fish for a good 3 minutes or so. I saw that it was smaller 1kg Jack. When I was about to lip grip the fish, the hook came off. It was disappointing. Not a good way to start the morning. Or so I thought.

I checked my 37lb leader to see if there were any marks. No marks so I casted again on the far side of the rocks. Played the lure but no takers. I boatman on outrigger passed by and we exchanged pleasantries. He politely asked what bait I was using. When I said it was a big artificial, he said, ahhh ... with a sign of disbelief. When he went on his way, I casted again to the same spot and just as the lure hits the water, a big strike. I instinctively set the hook and played the fish. It was a 1.5kg Jack. Not the bully that I was hoping for. still, it was a great fight. The boatman saw me land the fish went back and anchored to watch me fish. I can see his eyes glare in disbelief.

So, with an audience next to me, I casted again to see if a bully jack is out to play. Twitched the lure twice and then something inhaled the big piece of plastic! I knew immediately it was one of the Bullies. I set the hook twice and it angered the fish. My reel was set to maximum drag and it still was able to get some line. I pumped sideways to make the fish turn. It did but tried to run again towards the snag. It gained some more line. I kept on pumping sideways to steer it away from the rocks. It worked and steadily I was able to gain some line. We kept on with the tug of war for a good ten minutes. When it was near the boat, it dove underneath the hull and it almost broke my 6ft Clarus. I hade to reach out to prevent the rod from breaking.

THe fish kept runnning around my kayak. I was literally helpless. When I was about to grip its lip, the fish would dive underneath. While everything was going on, the boatman kept cheering like he was watching a boxing match. He kept on saying, baka mabali! (It might break)! baka mabali! (It might break)! He was obviously referring to my tiny dalag rod mounted on a dalag reel.

When I was finally able to lip grip it, the boatman  shouted, P*%*@ &@& AHNNNG LAKHEEE! (F*@*$ it's so big!) It was indeed a big one (at least from the perspective of a dalag angler). One of the bullies i think. It was the best fight I had so far. Very powerful bully indeed. The fish knows how to ride the current of the outgoing tide.

A 3.5. My biggest Jack to date.

After exchanging stories with the boatman, I paddled back to the launch site and drove back home. It was 8am.

Oh, did I mention that I dropped my phone again?? It was my niece's phone that I borrowed last night. So, I have to buy 2 phones to replace the ones I broke. Good thing I was able to save my SIM. Anyway, it was worth it.

(Finally, I was able to get a decent copy from the Digicam.)

Here is a photo of the 1.5kg Jack.

Happy New Year everyone!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Mangrove Jack Just before Christmas Eve

Yesterday morning, I went to my favorite fishing hole using my Kayak. The weather was really nice. No rain, not too cold and not too warm. But the fishes seemed timid. My only catch was a small Jack and nothing more. My guess was because the tide was not right. So instead of exerting more effort I went back home and decided to practice fly casting instead.

In the late afternoon, I went back to the spot to check if the Big Bully jacks are back. Took out my favorite topwater lure and casted towards the river's bank while drifting with the incoming tide. I was probably casting for a good half an hour when I came across a deep pool near the bend in the river. I casted parallel to the bank and as soon as lure hits the water, a massive explosion swallowed my 4inch lure. On instinct, I set the hook hard. I was confident that my 30lb braid on the Citica should be able to take the fish. Oh sheet, my leader was only 20. I have set the drag at around 1kg. The fish took some line so I locked the drag immediately.

The fish might have felt the tension so it dove really hard and it managed to pull me with my kayak a good 15 yards towards the other side of the river. I wanted to drop my anchor to get a leverage but my anchor was still velcroed to the rope. I wasn't using it the entire day. When the fish was about to reach the snag, I decided to pump the rod to make the fish turn. On the first pump, It turned but it went back to the direction of the snag. I pumped one more time and then tack! my leader snapped. The fish ran off with my favorite lure. My guestimate, a good 5-6kg Bully Jack.

Today, I prepped myself for a quick round 2 just before Christmas eve. I replaced my leaders with a 37lb mono. Tied on a 40lb snap and brought out my last spare fave lure. I was really pumped, I barely got any sleep last night. At around 3pm today, I drove to my launch. When I was prepping my kayak, I realized that I forgot my paddle! F$##@! I had to load the kayak again and drove back home to get the damn paddle. At around 3:30, I was on the water again and paddling like mad to my new spot.

Before casting, I anchored my kayak really good and casted and casted like there's no tomorrow. No takers. I was really getting frustrated. I thought to my self, maybe the fishes knew about this lure since one of them has one like it as a lip ring. I switched lure to a bigger and louder 6-incher. After 15 minutes, bam! the dam fish missed. I went on with the WTD, the fish doubled-back and hit the lure again. WTF, it missed again and my lure went flying a couple of feet away. I gave the lure a couple of jerks and the fish went for the lure again. On the third attempt, it was fish on! I really thought that it was a big one but it turned out to be a smaller fish. A locked drag and an anchored kayak proved to be a no contest.

A 2.5kg Mangrove Jack!

Half an hour later, I managed to get another Mangrove Jack! A bit smaller at 1kg but fiesty. I was trying to take a photo and it thrashed around and knocked the phone off my hands. The phone got wet. There goes my Phone+Camera and all the photos in it.

I wasn't able to get even with last night's fish but I got two of its cousins. Just in time for Christmas eve noche-buena.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Kayak Bass Fishing

After last week's trip. We decided to go back to Lumot Lake in Laguna. This time, we brought our kayaks with us. I was with Bien, Carlo, Obet, and my cousin JB. We left 2:30am and met with Bien on the way to Laguna. During daytime, it will take you probably 4 hours. AS usual, we passed by to Josie's Goto and had an early breakfast. We lost time on our way to the lake when we got lost somewhere in Famy. All of us were first timers driving to the lake. From Manila, it's supposed to be 2.5 hours for an early morning drive. But it took us 3 hours to get there.

When we arrived at Laguna, it started to rain. We were hoping that it was going to be a short rain but we were wrong.

On the dock, we met Manny, Erwin, and Rene. The wind howled and the clouds turned dark. When we reached the spot, it rained. Not just a drizzle but real heavy rain. The worst part was, it rained without let up. I was drenched from the waist down. I did have a rain coat but the Kayak was swamped with the rain and I was sitting the whole day on a watery seat.

Anyway, we were miserable because it was wet, it was really windy, and the bites were off. I got a small bass on drop shot and after that, no more bites. The guys didn't catch much in the morning but we still fished despite when we were cold and miserable.

In the afternoon, I was out of hope in catching anything. I toyed around with a saltwater WTD lure to pass the time. When I casted near the bank over the weeds, a huge swirl appeared and then my lure disappeared. I was slow to the take and failed to set the hook properly. The fish ran and pulled drag. I know it was a big one because I was using a heavy setup --- 30lb braid with 30lb leader and the drag was set to 1/3. After the initial run, I cranked hard but the fish was able to pull free. It was a huge disappointment but I had an idea what they were looking for.

I changed spot and went to a weedy area. I casted again using the saltwater lure. 2nd cast and it was fish on! Nice sized bass on WTD. I was able to get 2 more using the same lure. I guess the fish were not into worms at that time.

At around 4pm, we called it quits. It was still raining and we were really wet and miserable. We drove back to Manila at 6pm. We kept turning the A/C on and off because the car kept fogging but if we turn on the A/C, our wet clothes got unbearably cold. On our way back, we got lost a couple of times in Rizal. We reached Josie's by 9pm. We had some hot soup and tokwa't baboy and then drove back home.

The trip was not what we expected but it was an awesome experience. A big boat with 2 anglers, a dinghy with 1, and 3 anglers on Kayaks. Definitely, this will not be the last. I just hope that the weather will cooperate the next time around.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Lake Lumot Laguna

December is a very busy day in the Philippines. A lot of work needs to be completed before the end of the year. So many Christmas parties to get to and so many stuff to buy and prepare for the holiday season. This means fishing time gets really affected --- less and less fishing. The irony is, December is the start of the best fishing months either in fresh or in Salt but you just can't go out fishing whenever you want to. It sucks!

I heard from my angler buddies, Noel and Obet, that there was a bass fishing trip this Sunday and the bite has started. Unfortunately, I have a company party that I need to go to. But when I heard that the traffic to the party venue was a nightmare, I decided to skip the party and join the bass fishing trip instead.

I was really excited because this is practically my 2nd Bass fishing trip ever. The biggest fish that I caught was about 300 grams and that was a long time ago. My goal for this trip was to learn worm fishing and most specially practice drop shot fishing.

We  left Manila 2:30am and passed by a Goto and Arozcaldo (soup) house in Teresa Rizal. They serve the best Goto and Arozcaldo ever, specially when it's very early and very cold. After the brief early breakfast, we drove to the Lumot Lake dock. There we met Rene, Erwin, and Manny (who was going to try his brand new Yak). The problem is, it was raining--- a continuous drizzle. The sort of rain that will go on and on for the entire day. And that's what happened. It rained the entire trip. The good thing though was it wasn't scorching while fishing.

When our boat arrived, we quickly loaded our gears tied in the dinghy and Manny's kayak and went to the first spot. I joined Rene on his dinghy and tried the weedy banks of the lake. I got the first fish -- a small one using  an X-rap. No takers on top water. IT was still too early so I haven't tried worming yet.

After a while, I changed to a texas-rigged 6in worm and caught my 2nd bass which was also a small one. Pretty nice for a newbie bass angler. But after that, no catches for any of us. When we joined the other guys in the big boat, Obet caught a couple of nize sized bass on worms. Manny caught his first bass on Yak.
In the afternoon, I changed rigs and I tried drop shot fishing. I rigged my Daiwa Sol with 15lb braid and 12lb flouro leader and tied on a curly tail worm. I thought there wasn't any activity in the shallow areas so I targeted the deep portions of the lake. Tap and another tap then I set the hook. It was amazing, truly an exciting fishing using light line with small hook on deep water and a relatively big fish pulling. I landed my first real bass. A 1kg bass. I wanted to release it but our boatman quickly tied the fish through the gills which made the chances of survival small.

When we moved to our last fishing spot before going home, I caught another small bass. Rene, who was frogging the entire day finally caught his target Haruan. He almost broke his rod while setting.

I wished I could have taken more pics but it was always raining and its hard to do so without getting my phone cam wet.  Even though the weather was miserable, the company was excellent. The food courtesy of Obet was perfect. We were laughing the entire trip.

Right now, after waking up, I just can't get the drop shot method out of my head. I got to get some Shaky worms and Realistix minnows for saltwater. I need to go back with my Kayak. That's going to be awesome.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Super Quick Fishing

Went to Subic yesterday to celebrate my wife's birthday and our wedding anniversary. In laws and their family were there and drank since the afternoon until late at night. This morning, I had this uncontrollable itch to wet my line. So, 4am, I drove from Camayan resort to Malawaan Fishing Area. I wish I could fish Camayan but it's really not allowed.

After rigging, I started casting around 4:30am. After half an hour, I got a hookup on a WTD lure but the fish jumped and threw my hook. Must be bidbid (Lady Fish) but I can't confirm because it was still dark. Around 5:30, I got another hookup on the same lure. I set the hook twice to make sure the hook will penetrate the jaw. It jumped four times before it tired.

Here is my Tarpon that I caught this morning. Almost 2kg. By 7am, I drove back to the resort for breakfast. Fishing trip is over.

Indo-pacific tarpon

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

All Soul's Fishing

It has been a while since our last visit to Zambales. I was longing to use my kayak and visit my old Dalag spot. Once my kids had their school break, I also filed for vacation so I can take some time off from work. It was a perfect opportunity because there was no work on election day and also on the following Monday because it was All Soul's day.

On our way, we spent the night in Olongapo to meet up with the in-laws. It was still dark when I sneaked out for some quick fish just before we start our drive to Zamba. Somewhere in the shallows in Malawaan, I noticed a big shool of fish. It appeared like a school of travallies chasing baitfish. I casted a shallow diver onto the shool and cranked. After a few casts, It was fish on. It really felt like a trevally when it pulled line. When I landed it, it wasn't a trevally but a milkfish which was fould hooked on its back. It wasn't really sporting, but heck, it's still a fish and they were nice sized too. I repeated casting into the school and managed to catch 2 more until the school swam to deeper water.

When we got to Zamba, It was already late in the afternoon. No fishing yet but I managed to scout my old Haruan spot. I was hoping that after the rains, the marsh would have recovered from the drought last summer. Unfortunately, it was still dry in most places. The marsh that was previously waist deep in water, still is practically dry with some areas where water has accumulated. I went around the spot to check if Haruans started populating the place. They have but, unfortunately, they were just still too small for my lures. I was able to hook up one about five inches. I guess that I still need another year before they mature. I hope more rains would come and submerge the marsh some more.

The next day, I went out with my kayak and did some top water fishing. It was a really relaxing trip just before daylight. Nobody around but you, your kayak, and birds of different colors and sizes. I wasn't really expecting anything to catch something because the it wasn't the right tide. Still a mangrove jack managed to snatch my lure.

Last Sunday, I went to Masinloc and kayaked near the powerplant. It has a really nice potential but it appears to be heavily fished. When I got there, there were many motorized bancas fishing the area. The bay was also littered with floating fish cages. Not wanting to spoil the trip, I decided to hug the breakwaters and try my luck on squids using squid jigs from master bong. No luck on the squids so I decided to try my trusted top water lures. Fortunately, I managed to catch a familiar quary -- another mangrove jack.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The (Lady) Fish Got Even

I wasn't able to shake off the memory of a Lady Fish's blistering run a couple of weeks back so I went for another shot at it this weekend. I was hoping to get one to bite on topwater ... hopefully something bigger.

I woke up early hoping I could get to the spot really early. Had coffee and then turned on the computer to check my mails. It was a really bad move. Instead of just checking my emails, I strayed to Filang's forum, checked what's hot in Tacklewarehouse, checked some stuff in eBay. Before I knew it, it was already past seven. Took a quick shower and left. I just grabbed the first rod that I saw from my rack. I then drove TO McDonalds and grabbed something to eat. Had my breakfast while on my way to the spot.

It was already past 8 when I started fishing. Tried my Rapala Countdown for a while but no takers. I switched to my Lucky Japeks Craft Sammy and casted as far as can. I twitched the lure thrice and then BAM! The strike was massive followed by a lightning run. It was Huge! Without blinking, I set the hook. CRACK!!! WTF, the rod broke on the 3rd guide from the top. The fish felt the hook and dashed away from me. It was really fast! Before it gets near the snags, I used my thumb on the spool to slow the fish. It got really mad and jumped really high. It was huge! bigger than my last catch. When the fish hit the water, CRACK!!!. The rod broke again from the middle part. DANG!

I was shocked and completely held on the spool. The fish jumped once more and because there is no more rod to break its tension, the hook pulled out. I was shaking. The fish owned me! DANG! Lesson learned, don't bring a knife to a gunfight! It was home made rod. I got the blank really cheap from one of the tackle shops near my place. It was no match to that fish.

I saw Millard from the other side. We both laughed at what happened. I said to myself. No way, it's still early. I need a rematch. So drove back to my house to get another rod. By 9:30, I got back and re-rigged my reel and the St. Croix rod. First cast, big strike! Unfortunately, the fish didn't hit the lure. After that, no more strikes. It was as if they disappeared all of a sudden. I stayed until 5pm. Since the last strike, we didn't get a single bite.

I just have to accept it, the fish got even.


Update: 9/11/2010

I went to the place once more hoping to get the Lady fish to bite. But instead of a Lady Fish, I caught a Haruan on WTD lure. This explains the short strikes. They were haruans, not Lady Fishes. I will go back one of these days and see if the resident Ladies would bite.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

An Unusual Catch

It was one of those days when I really wanted to go fishing. But on the last minute, I was having second thoughts. Upon waking up, I was not really excited. I was supposed to leave early but ended up leaving almost 9am and the sun was really up. So much for the early bird. The chances of getting a bite was not really high at that time of day.

Anyway, I still left and drove to the fishing spot. To make matters worse, it started to rain. Oh well, I said to myself, this trip might end early. But then, just as quickly as it started, the rain stopped and the fishes started biting. Not just ordinary fishes ... judging from the splashes, they are really big ones. A fellow angler lost one while trying to land it. Lady Fish! Big ones! Since then, everything got really interesting.

Unfortunately, the bites were short. Just a few minutes and they stopped all of a sudden. You can see some of their fins breaking the surface. I decided to wait for one to swim within casting distance. After a while, one broke surface around 30 yards from me,  I made a cast about a yard ahead of it and then cranked my Shad Rap. Hook up! The fish went berserk! It sprinted like there's not tomorrow. My reel had a hard time stopping it as it dashed straight to the piles of bamboos. When almost 60 yards of line was taken, I tightened the drag to prevent it from spooling me. Because of the tightened drag, the fish took to the air. Unfortunately, the line got caught on a floating bamboo and the fish was able to break free. It's a good thing I didn't lose the lure. Oh man!  the run was so exciting. It was like a milk fish on steroids!

After lunch, one of the guys who was with us caught one. His line wrapped around the fish's head. After a long time trying to land it, the fish was netted. A 2.5kg. Awesome!

I waited once more for something to break surface. Then I saw one surfaced on the other side. I hurriedly ran to that direction and readied my Shad Rap. When I got to the spot, it was gone. I just stood there and waited. Then just around 10 yards from me, it again broke surface. I hurriedly casted just a few feet from its head. Pow! Fish on! It was the most exciting run that I have ever endured. An 8kg Barra is no match to this freight train. Good thing I set my drag a little higher. The fish jumped a couple of times and then it lost steam. Thank god for Carbontex!

I called for one of the guys for a net. But just before the net arrived, I got so worried that I will lose the fish because I saw that my Shad Rap wasn't hooked to the fish at all! My lure snagged the double-lined heavy mono which was hooked into the fish! It was incredible! The hook held even when the fish jumped twice and sprinted for around 50 yards.

I grabbed my leader and heaved the fish into land. But before it touched land, the hook came off. I was lucky the fish was so tired. I grabbed its gills and heaved it into the bank.

A 3.8kg Lady Fish caught on lure even when it wasn't biting.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Revisiting Irving's Pond

We revisited Irving's pond this weekend. We had a small bet on who can catch the biggest Haruan from 7am-11am. Winner take's all. The initial pot was 200 per person. Unfortunately, only 5 of us was able to join.

Anyway, even though there were only 5 of us, we went on and fished for half a day. The bite was really slow that day. Obet, Alan, and Irving decided to go for Tilapia's instead. Me and Gil went on fishing. Just a couple of minutes before 11am, Gil landed the winning Haruan -- actually the only fish caught during the contest period. It was a 2.15kg beauty. It could be one of the fishes caught during the previous tournament.

After some photos and a few minutes of fishing, we had lunch and tried out some fly fishing.

I really had a hard time with the fly. The line keeps getting tangled on some brush on the ground. I should have gotten myself a stripping basket or a pail. After countless snags on the ground, I decided to quit and go back to BC fishing for Haruan. But despite the snags, I really enjoyed casting the fly rod. It must be the sound of the fly line zipping back and forth that's really captivating.

At around 3pm, I finally was able to catch a Haruan. It was a 1.8kg.

All fishes were released.

As always, Irving was a generous host. He had his staff prepare our lunch and drinks. He even gave me a lip grip as a gift. That's the floating lip grip that we are using in the photos. Those things are really awesome. Very light and doesn't have parts that will rust. Plus, it floats. The grip is 10x better than those metal grips that I have tried. The "teeth" doesn't injure the fish. I highly recommend it. Thanks again, Irving.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Another Quickie in Coloong

At around 8am, I went to Aling Nene's Pond to try my luck on their Haruans and Barras. No luck on either one. I wanted to stay but there were not enough casting areas because there were a lot of anglers fishing for bangus.

It was still early (10am) and I still wanted to fish so I decided to transfer to Kapitan Larry's to try the lawak once more.

After getting off the ferry, I immediately casted and got a nice reward on my first spot. It's a fat 1.3kg Haruan. It made a hard strike on my Ayu swimbait with blade.

I went on and casted around the banks using the same lure. I got another one. This time it was a smaller specimen. Less than a kilo, give or take. I really wanted a Barra but I was distracted by the Haruans. Maybe on my next trip, I will focus on the Barra. Now I know for sure that there are still barras there because one of the anglers that morning got a hookup on an estimated 5kg barra. Before they were able to net it, it snapped their line. Sayang!

Just before 1pm, I decided to call it a day.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Quick Fix in Coloong

Our trip to Lakeshore did not push through. Even the planned recon trip somewhere in Pampanga, around 50 kms from Manila did not push through. It's a Sunday and I had nowhere to go. I just couldn't let the day pass without wetting my line.

So I decided to go to Valenzuela. At first, the plan was to check out Tagalag. I have been hearing a lot about Barramundis on one of the ponds and a rumored catch of Toman's on one of the rivers there. IT was almost 9am when I hurriedly drove to the said location. Alas, when I got there, all the waters around Tagalag are "owned", meaning every inch of water is now staked and bounded by nets. There not a single free area where I can cast without paying. When I got to Llenado's Pond. I was politely turned away. I was told that their stocks are quite small and it's a waste of time fishing there. So, the rumor about Barramundis and Tomans, are really rumors. :) 

So, no choice but to go to Kapitan Larry's to pass the time. I can't let a good fishing visa go to waste. 

I was not expecting to catch anything there. I was told the week before that they electro-fished the area to rid them of Haruans. Barras are also gone due to the Ondoy flooding. Still, I thought the river on the edge of the ponds may hold something promising.

When I got there, there was not much anglers around. The worst part is there was not a single bite for the next two hours or so. Instead of fishing the pond, I targeted the river on the edge of the pond. Nada! Then I saw a couple of boats rigged for electro fishing. They were electrocuting the damn stretch of the river. It's bad enough that the river is polluted, they even made it worse by doing illegal fishing.  @%#$@%#^!

Anyway, when the ferryboat passed by my spot, I signaled the pilot to fetch me on his next trip. While waiting, I went back to casting. This time, I casted on the pond's edge. After around 30 or 40 casts, I got one. It was a mad Haruan and it made several jumps before I got to land it. It swallowed my pogy with spinner. A very lucky fish, considering the electrocutioners combed the pond the week before. This 1.1kg fish deserved to be free.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Another "Recon" Trip

We went to another favorite Haruan spot this Sunday. We were supposed to go to Lakeshore but got an invitation the night before we leave. 

The bites were slow. Only Bong seemed to haul them in. He got 7 in the morning using cranks. Our froggies were not getting much action. I was only able to get one using the my fave froggy and got 3 on spinners. 

Even late afternoon after the rains, there were no takers. I think these critters have started breeding and does not want to feed that agressively as before. 

My only consolation was that I was able to catch one using a Walk-the-Dog stickbait. They say that it was very uncommon to catch one using that lure. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Jessica is Free Again [7-10-2010]

This was a late post. I said goodbye to Jessica. Jessica is what my fellow angler named the 3.11kg Haruan that I caught last June 27, 2010. She was taken to an aquarium on one of the Tackle Shops here in Manila for display. 

We picked her up at Alex Tackle the afternoon of July 10th. With the help of Obet, my angler buddy, we placed her on a 48qt cooler. She was massive. She can barely fit inside the cooler.


Me, my wife, and my youngest daughter drove to the Wildlife Center and showed her to the Center officers before the release. We carried her near the spot where I caught her.






At first, she wouldn't move and just stayed where I released her. Maybe she couldn't believe her fate. I had to nudge her a bit and that's when she swam to deeper water.

I hope she breeds more baby haruans for everyone to enjoy.

Thank you so much to the officers and staff of Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center. You guys and girls are awesome!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Recon Haruan Trip (7-11-2010)

We received and invitation from Matt to fish with a VIP and also conduct a recon for a potential Haruan Hunter Challenge leg.

Bites were slow very early in the morning. The first blood was from RC. It was a nice sized Haruan. 17inches and could reach more than a kilo.

When the sun started to heat the place, the bites picked up a bit. Miko and Obet are getting strikes all over.Bong and Richard got some as well. But me, nada. 

At first, I used my Revo Inshore mounted on 7ft rod. I was planning to chuck those lures really far. Well, the cast did went far but I can't seem to get anything to bite. I decided to change gear and used my home made 6'4" rod with my Daiwa round reel. True enough, I finally was able to get them, 7 of them to be exact.

Then in the afternoon, the winds picked up and then bites just stopped. I never got anything since then. Even so, RC seemed to get all the luck. He was able to haul more in the afternoon. I think his total was 5. Bong, Mikko, and Richard also hauled in a lot of fish.

Haruans we caught were released immediately.

I think everyone will get a real thrill when the HHC challenge is held here. Lots of fish that are eager to bite. All we need is a little bit more rain. 

Monday, July 5, 2010

Kayak Fishing Zambales (7-3-2010)

We went to Zambales for the 96th birthday of my wife's grandma. We left for Manila at around 10:30PM. But coming from work, I was too tired to drive further and we decided to spend the night in Olongapo and continue driving the following day.

7am Saturday, we went ahead and drove almost 3 hours to our destination. 10am, I hurriedly unloaded all our stuff and rigged my reels and the kayak. The birthday party will start in late afternoon so I still have a few hours to fish. I rested for a bit then drove to my favorite spot and launched the Kayak. It was almost 12nn and it was scorching. The tide was good so I fished even when the sun was unbearable.

To get away from the sun, I paddled into the narrower tributaries to get under the shade of trees. Rested a bit and then paddled back again into the deeper part of the river. Here's what the tributary looks like. When the tide is right, there are big mangrove jacks cruising in here.

When the water reached the peak tide, I went back to the deeper parts of the river. Luckily, the clouds covered the scorching sun and it started to drizzle.  I threw a huge popper/walker and got a decent sized Mangrove Jack. Around 1.5kg.

The strike was awesome. It was like someone threw a big rock into the water. Like all jacks, it swam full speed to the direction of snags. It was a good thing my reel's drag was recently replaced with Carbontex from Smoothdrag. It was really smooth and subdued the fish with ease.

I still wanted to fish but it was almost 4pm and I had to go back for the party.

Too bad the vacation was very short. We had to drive back to Manila Sunday. We were supposed to leave very early sunday but my hangover was unbearable. I had to sleep it off until lunch. Because of that, I also missed the Haruan tournament in Bulacan. Anyway, there's next time.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Taste of Haruan Paradise

Me and my cousin JB were originally planning to hit Coloong to scratch our weekly fishing itch. But instead of going to coloong, we received an invitation from Bong. Mr. Alex Ngo and his son Matt, proprietors of Alex Tackle, informed us that there is very interesting place that we really need to visit, and we need to visit it this Sunday. It's one of the most coveted haruan holes Manila --- The source of haruan hunter's wet dreams --- It's none other than the 2.4-hectare pond of QC Wildlife Parks Services.

We got to the Wildlife park around 7:30am. When we arrived, we didn't start fishing right away, we proceeded to the Wildlife office next to the pond. Waiting for us there was Mr. Alex Ngo and his son Matt. The pond was huge. It was awesome and the best of all, it's full of Haruans.

We waited for the officer in charge to give us the official instructions during the trip. At around 9am, the officer in charge arrived we got the go signal to start fishing. I haven't started rigging yet when Mikko drew the first blood, just in front of the Wildlife office. It was a 1.1kg muscular brute. After a few minutes, he got another. Mikko was burning hot --- maybe because he's using his awesome hot reel. Me, nada! It wasn't until around 10:30am when I caught one using my spinner swimbait combo. We spread out all over the pond, then everyone got lucky until 1pm. Miko got 4, Obet 1, Bong 4, Richard 2. Me, I got 4.

We grabbed a quick bite and then went back to the pond. And then it rained really hard. We thought the fishing was over as the rain appeared that it wouldn't stop. By 3pm, it was still raining and we decided that there's no use waiting for rain to stop and we went back fishing. The disturbance on the water made our topwater lures unproductive and we didn't catch anything.

By 4, the rain stopped and somehow the Haruans started biting again -- like a switch bulb. Bong hauled a 1.35kg monster and another 1kg while I got 2pcs 1kg fishes. Obet, who was having problems in the morning started hauling Haruans every 5 minutes.It seems as though Mikko's heat transferred to him. From one fish to 5 in around half an hour. It was really awesome. By 5:00pm, my count was seven.

Then by 5:30, I got even luckier. We were all concentrated on the north bank of the pond as the bites seemed to occur there. When the bite was appearing to slow down, I went the the corner of the pond and started casting over Lotus leaves, I casted and casted and felt something inhaled my frog -- there was a big swirl and my frog disappeared. By instinct, I set the hook. Luckily, it was a solid grip. Amazingly, the fish swam and pulled line even when my drag was locked.

The reel's drag washer started to shudder and I got worried. I thought that either my line will snap or my rod will break. Then the fish swam around the lotus roots. I had no choice but to ran to my right to prevent the fish from getting an angle on my line. While I was running on the bank, I sank chest deep in the lily pads. There I was immobilized and holding the rod high. My sandals was stuck under the mud and I cannot get free. Obet noticed that I disappeared all of a sudden, and ran to my direction. When he saw me on chest deep water, he held the rod while I crawled over vegation to free myself. Once free, I got back the rod and pumped it to gain line. When the fish reached the edge of the lily pad. It again dove under the muck. I had no choice but wade again on chest deep water and then crawled over the lily pads. Finally after freeing the fish, I was able to drag it to shore. When I saw it in full, I was in shock. It was a monster haruan.

I held the fish and went back to the rest of the group. Everyone was shocked and we cannot tell for certain how much it weighed. The weighing scale was left inside the pickup truck. When we got back to the office and weighed the fish, it was a 3.11kg monster.

The pond is truly a haruan paradise. All in all we landed 25pcs Haruans ranging from 500grams to 1.35kgs. Over 70 strikes.

I was skeptical at first because I refused to believe that we can really fish the place.  The Wildlife Parks and Services Pond is off limits to fishing and has been since the very start which was over two decades (if I am not mistaken). When we met the officer in charge, I was proven wrong and we were allowed to fish the entire day. The reason why they allowed us to fish at that time is because they are interested in Sport Fishing and they want to observe anglers and to get some inputs on how they can offer the pond as a recreational pond for the public. They have little idea on what's sport fishing and how it can relate to their conservation efforts and at the same time add additional income for their cause.  We explained that we're fishing for the thrill and rarely take home our catch.We also explained that, as much as we can, we try to help other anglers to practice lure fishing to minimize damage to fishes and, most especially, we promote catch and release. We also explained that other Asian countries now have lots of CnR ponds that cater to a lot of local and international anglers. It wouldn't be that hard to start one in the Philippines.

After the day's end, after speaking with the OIC and  one of the managers of the park,h we got very good reception with what we did --- catching, photographing, and releasing the Haruans. They stated that they will work with angler groups to formulate guidelines on how to operate a CnR pond for the public. I sure hope that this will become a reality in the near future.

We are so grateful to Matt and sir Alex for arranging the trip and to the management of Wildlife center for letting us fish the pond. Again, thank you so much.

It was an awesome trip with Lagiffe (Rich), Mikko, Obet, Bong, JB, Frank, Sir Alex, and Matt. It was a sweet sweet taste of the possible final leg of the Haruan Hunter's Challenge.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Testing a Soft Plastic Lure

It was a long weekend because of the Independence Day celebrations and I planned to try the monster haruans from a new pond in Bulacan. But last minute changes in plan led to my begging out of the trip. Saturday, at around almost noon, I had nothing else to do and decided to try my favorite pond -- Kapitan Larry's Lawak in Coloong, Valenzuela. It's practically a wild brackish lake containing lots of possible catches -- Barramundi, Haruans, Jaguar Cichlids, etc. But after the disastrous flood brought about by the storm named Ondoy, much of Coloong is now trying to recover from terrible loss of fish stocks. After some months, nice sized tilapia, milkfish, and jaguars are being caught by die hard anglers.

With the news of catches from other anglers, I went to Coloong and I was hoping for a barra or two. Unfortunately, no barras caught but I managed to land one haruan. After around 3pm, I called it quits.

Getting a good quality Soft Plastic Swimbait here has been hard lately. The stores that sell them are selling the kinds that, in my opinion, doesn't catch the fishes that I want to catch. If not too big, the soft plastics  that they sell have really poor action, ugly colors, lacks durability, and/or just plain unattractive to fishes.

Anyway, I settled with ordering from online stores from abroad--as usual.

Last Sunday, I received the soft plastics and secretly tried them first before giving my personal review to others. I gave some to Bong for testing. Luckily, we were planning to to go to the private pond in Bulacan the following day.

We got to the pond a bit late but still I was excited to try out the plastics. I hurriedly tied one and went to the pond's edge and started casting. On the third cast, I got a 1.75kg Haruan. That catch made me a believer of the plastic.

When Bong saw my catch and the lure, he tied one as well and after half an hour or so, he also got one.

The lure was hot! I managed to hook 2 more big haruans but lost them when the hook straightened.

The first fish I caught and the one caught by Bong was the only Haruan catches for the day. Both caught using the same plastic.

I even managed to catch a Tilapia using the same lure.