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