Monday, May 30, 2011

Eging and Ultralight Jigging in Subic Bay

We went to Subic over the weekend. Even though the weather is less than desirable, I gave eging and fishing using light lures a go.

First try was eging. I had so many problems with the spinning reel. I think I overfilled the reel with braid or the reel is not made for braid so it does not cast properly. Everytime I cast, the line gets terrible backlash. Imagine that, backlash on a spinning reel. I used up most of my fishing time fixing the tangles.

Anyway, I was able to get a squid using a Blue 2.5 Yozuri Egi. I actually got three hookups but the other two got away.

Then it rained for the most part of the morning. Somehow squids stopped biting when the rain started. So, I shifted to a 20gram jig and caught three kitoks. I need to get real spinning reel in the 1500 size and some 6 or 8lb braid. This eging and ultralight jigging/popping thing is getting addicting.  :devil:

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Trying Out Other Tactics (Ultralight Jigs and Poppers)

I'm an avid fan of baitcasters, that's for sure. But like most anglers, I started out with a spinning combo. After a few years of using nothing but overhead outfits (BC), I am beginning to realize that I am missing out some of the fun enjoyed by spinning reel fans. Among them are the use of really light lures (sub-5gm lures), weightless plastics, and eging (squid game).

When I heard of the sale at Fish and Dive, a JDM rod and reel shop here in Manila, I grabbed the opportunity and got myself an 8ft PE .6-1.2 rod purposely built for eging or squid fishing. At 50% off, the Daiwa E-GEE rod was a steal and I just can't pass up on the chance. Eging rods are really rare here in PH and the only other way to get them is from this shop, which I can't afford if on a regular price, or by ordering online. I still don't have a matching reel but getting the rod is the hard part. There are plenty of reels locally available. The only problem is the cash. It's a good thing my daughter has a decent ultralight spinning reel that I can borrow.

A week after getting the eging rod, Bong, our fishing mentor, got himself an eging rod with a matching reel -- A Daiwa Neoversal and a Team Daiwa Z 1500 reel -- all JDM. He got it really cheap from a Japanese surplus shop. After hearing about his recent purchase, I convinced him to go out and try our gears. Unfortunately, eging spots are quite far so we decided to try a relatively near river just up north of Manila. But instead of eging, we tested these rods with other applications such as ultra-light poppers, spoons, jigs and finesse plastics.

We left just before 5am and arrived at the spot almost 7am. We immediately tried the small spoons and poppers. And, it was an instant blast. Small predators just can't get enough of the very small lures. Bong got some bagaong (Terapon) and a mangilo bidbid (Ladyfish) using 2inch poppers while I got a nice sized Kandule and a bagaong on a 1.5 inch spoon. Aside from being able to throw light lures, the beauty of the very light and long rod is that you can feel every small nibble and bounces on your lure. I know some BC fans may frown on the small fishes on very light gear, specially spinning gears, but I began to appreciate the absolute fun we got from using them.

In between using the light spinning gears, we still got to cast bigger lures using our trusted casting outfit. At the end of the day, I ended up with 2 threadfin salmons (pics to follow).

Next stop --- squid fishing (eging) and asohos or bakoko fishing (whiting and bream) , either south or north (Subic perhaps). We can probably cast some small spoons and poppers in between. It's really good to have light spinning rod and reels in your arsenal especially when fishing salt. It's an absolute fun to use.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Recon Trip Up North

Together with Bong, Mikko, and Rich, we did a recon trip to Bulacan River up North a few months back. The trip was organized with the invitation from Irving. 

There are very little paved road going to the area --  some areas have worn down asphalt a quarter of the way to the spot. The rest is a dusty dirt road, and when it rains, it's practically impossible to get to. Anyway, we got to the place by boat. Probably an hour's boat ride from the main town. We were very lucky when we arrived, threadies were active. You can hear exploding water when they feed on mullet. Some are almost feeding on the banks.  It's basically sight fishing if you want to target the threadfins. 

When there's feeding on an area, I had to rush to the scene and throw my favorite topwater. I was running all over the place when there's feeding but in most cases, I always arrive too late. Fortunately,  on the late afternoon, the threadies got bolder and they don't leave the area after feeding. Then one explosion on the water occurred near my spot. I immediately casted my lure to the spot. After a few twitch, the fish took the lure. The problem is, the strike occurred too near the banks where there are a lot of bamboo snags. I fought the fish for a good two minutes but it dove under the bamboo poles and wrapped the line. I had to call the boatman to check if he can retrieve my lure and the fish. When he got to the snagged lure, the boatman dove under the poles and got only the lure. No more fish. I swear it was a big one because my Revo Inshore was not able to stop it from diving down the snag.

I then changed posts and move downriver a bit. I saw a threadie gave out its location. I casted and in one swoop, it swallowed the lure.  This time, the spot I was in is on a very steep bank. The fish was able to angle me and swam so close to the bamboo poles sticking out from the bank. I had to reach out with my rod using one hand to get a good angle on the fish and prevent the line from fraying from the bamboo poles. And then the unthinkable happened --- fish made a very strong dive. The Majorcraft reel seat was slick when wet and in one dive, the fish was able to yank the rod from my hand. I froze for an instant, fearing that I lost a brand new rod with a Revo Inshore. Luckily, when the rod and reel fell into the water, it snagged from another set of bamboo poles  preventing the fish from pulling it into the deep. 

Without thinking, I jumped down the water's edge even it was about 5 feet from where I was standing. I grabbed back my rod and fought the fish. I still had to climb the last set of poles at the edge of the fast running water --- the fish keeps on diving near the bank. The spot where Rich was taking the video is where I first fought the fish --- where it took the rod from my hands. Anyway, here's what happened after that.
 Shy of 2kg. This is the fish that almost took away my Rod and Reel.

Photo and video courtesy of Richard

At the end of the trip, Miko got Mangrove Jack and Richard got a Threadfin. It was a very nice trip considering we hardly know what to expect from the place. It was a very challenging river and finding the perfect time is not easy. This was actually my 2nd trip there. My first was with my cousin JB last year. We were invited by fellow anglers from the North who frequent the spot. At that time, despite a lot of strikes, I basically got skunked. My cousin JB was a little luckier. He got a Bikaw (a juvenile Threadfin Salmon) using live bait. Lucky for me that I was able to hook up twice on the 2nd trip. I hope to revisit the place with a perfect timing --- perfect enough for us to hook a wild Barramundi. I hope sometime soon.