Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fishing Before the Storm

Typhoon Pedring (Nesat) entered the Philippines last Sunday afternoon and made landfall the following day Monday. It was really annoying when you have a fishing trip planned and then a storm will appear all of a sudden. It was also odd that in the past weeks, a storm always appear every weekend. We could not fish on weekdays because of work and for the past weeks, we couldn't even fish on weekends because of these typhoons. That Sunday, myself, my cousin JB, and Miko just can't accept that and we decided to push through even when there's a storm coming.

We decided to leave early to make the most of the clear weather. The plan was to bolt when the storm arrives -- and we expected that to happen in the afternoon. We got to the spot 6am and immediately rigged as soon as we parked the car. We were so pumped because we really need to maximize the short time to fish. But even though we got there early, the swell started to appear and the dirty water has mixed with the clean water on our fishing spot. From those signs, we feared that fishing would be tough.

And tough it was. We casted almost all imaginable lures we had and caught nothing. I lost 2 brand new madai jigs, one brand new squid jig, and another casting jig from rocky snags. Not a single bite for the most part of the morning until around 2pm.

Then past 2pm, the tide came in, and it cleared the water for a short while. The clear water triggered feeding, and we decided to use baits instead of lures. The change in tactics proved successful and we were rewarded with an almost-1kg grouper and two of these 2kg+ Mangrove Jacks.

Even when the typhoon appeared over the horizon, we continued to fish with baits but unfortunately, no bites after that. At around 5pm, heavy rains and strong wind battered the spot we were on and after a few minutes, we were soaking wet. We decided to call it quits while the roads going back to Manila are still passable.

Because of the rain and traffic, we arrived in Manila past 9pm. The trip was worth it and we will be coming back. The next time, I will be bringing my kayak with me.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Downsizing Leaders at Aling Nene's Pond

Last weekend, I took my wife and kids to ANP for a half day of fun fishing. Because crispy fried tilapia are my kids' favorite (next to KFC's Snack box), my diabolic plan was to coax my kids to join me fishing so I can also fish myself. I told them that they can catch all the tilapia they want. They fell for it and nagged my wife until she wasn't able to refuse. Little that they know that the real plan was for me to try my three-hundred-peso Eagle Claw fly rod (from HMR) on a few famous ANP bangus.

My wife and kids had a blast. They caught more than three kilos of tilapia. They also consumed a ton of chichiria and week's worth of food from the ANP canteen. Unfortunately for me, the plan backfired. Not only did I pay for all they caught and ate, I also got zero bangus, zero dalag, and not even a nibble from a hungry apahap.

My only catch that day was a scrawny tilapia on an DIY bread fly.


Like all self-respecting anglers out there, I scheduled another trip --- this time I came prepared. I got a few batches of bread fly using the cosmetic foam as the imitation bread. I was convinced that the bangus would fall for it instead of the hard foam that I used the last time. Not only that, I also came alone. This is to maximize my fishing time and minimize my expense. :-)

Like almost all evil plans, things do not turn out as you would expect. The bangus fly was a bust. Not a single bangus paid attention to it. It was complete waste of time. Although I threw more than 10 kg of stale bread as chum, not a single bangus came even close to taking a look at my immitation bread fly. Even tilapias did not pay attention to my new fly.

So, instead of wasting my time on fly fishing for bangus, I took out my trusted BC rod and reel and casted lures after lures after lures and like the weekend before NADA! Not even a fish following my lure.

So I became bold and downsized my leader from a 30lb mono to an 8lb flouro. On almost all my trips at ANP, I was always using heavier leaders -- from 15-30lbs. But this time, and probably out of desperation, I was convinced that the fishes in ANP have become smarter and can see better. They are also better fed nowadays as almost all the ponds in ANP were recently seeded by tilapia fries. And under those situations, I was convinced that going light would be the best option.

So, I took out my Momoi flouro which was originally for eging and tied on a meter or a meter and a half of it into my 15lb main line. I tied on my favorite lure and casted parallel to the banks of the ponds. Not long after that I got a massive strike. I was instantly worried that my leader would not hold. It was a good thing that I was using a light reel with a light drag to play the fish better. After around 10 minutes, I was able to land this fat 2.3kg Snakehead.


My spirit got a jump start after the catch and went back to try for some more. Unfortunately, the weather turned and rain poured non stop. I tried to wait it out but the rain wouldn't stop. When lightning came with the rain, I decided to called it a day.