Saturday, May 19, 2012

Hunt for Mangrove Jacks Part 2

May 19, 2012: I got owned AGAIN!

I got my wish -- a rematch. I had been prepping for this day since the day I got shamed. Sharpened my hooks. Replaced some of the stock hooks with Owner ST-36. I opened my new 40lb  Accubraid in my box which was screaming for action. I knew that if I want to muscle the MJs from shore or even from a kayak, a minimum of 35lb braid is a must.

But for some unknown reason, I remembered that my Accubraid was still screaming for action inside my box and that box was left back home. With the thought that my reel is still loaded with 20lb Powerpro, I got really worried. It a mamaw strikes, I might lose the fish and my lure. Still, I decided to push through. I had no choice, I was far from home already and going back was no longer an option.

We arrived at my parent's house at around 10am and sparing no time, I geared up and drove my scoot to my spot. When I got to the spot, it was sooo darn hot. The tide was also still high and it will be a few hours before the current downstream will start. Disappointed, I drove back home and took a nap.

By 4pm, I was back on the saddle and was on my way to the spot. Perfect current and perfect weather. Rain still hasn't started but the clouds have covered the scorching sun. I changed tactics and casted towards the opposite bank. As soon as the lure touches the water, bam! A strike and after a few minutes, the fish was landed. A kilo and excellent size for steaming. Perfect start. As soon as I got the fish out of the lure, I casted again. And an hour later, another fish. This time, a bit smaller but nice fish nonetheless.

These were not the fishes that I came here to catch but I was relieved because if a mamaw hits my lure, I know I would be in a big problem.

And that exactly what happened.

It was almost dark so I decided to throw 5 more cast before going home. On the third cast,  huge swirl behind the lure and massive splash. The fish pulled line from my reel like it was a pig on steroids. Seven seconds and it's still pulling and a few seconds more it will reach the mangroves on the opposite side. I had no choice but to increase the drag, 2 clicks and toink! My braid recoiled back to my face --- without the leader and without my lure.

WTF! My lure is gone, again and my reel is almost half empty. I said to myself. I got owned! Again!

F&#^ the 20lb Powerpro, I am upsizing my line as soon as I get back to Manila. But for tomorrow, I will gamble with my remaining 20lb with my last lure and hope a miracle will happen.

Hunt for Mangrove Jacks Part 1

May 13, 2012 Sunday: I got owned

It was supposed to be hot and dry until the end of May and sometimes up to the middle of June. But this time summer somehow ended early. It was cloudy most of the day and it rains the entire afternoon. The rain was ok but the lightning is not something you want when fishing with a graphite rod on your hand.

I normally fish my favorite mangrove jack spot using a Kayak. But because our trip to my parent's home town was just an overnight-er, I left my Kayak behind. Fishing from shore, I have only one choice --- haruan. Unfortunately, by May, my Haruan spot had dried up and fishing it was not really an option. I had no choice but to fish the river. But I always thought that the river is not fishable from shore. I had to find a way to get to one of the banks to fish it. Took my 50cc Suzuki scooter and drove all over to ask for directions. Finally, I was able to find an access foot path where I can drive my scoot to one of the river's rocky banks.

This bank is not an ordinary bank. This is where I caught my 3.5kg MJ way back. I was so excited and scared at the same time. If fishing the spot from a kayak is hard, fishing it from the shore is suicide. But an addict is an addict and I had to try it. So, late afternoon took a 2pc BC rod, my favorite reel, a backpack with a few of my favorite lures and drove my scoot to the spot. I haven't left our street and rain started to pour. What the heck,I said to my self, I still get to fish - wet or dry. After a kilometer or so of driving, I parked, rigged my rod and reel with my WTD lure and scanned the water. It was low tide and it was raining. Topwater when raining might not be a good idea, I thought. Still, I casted near the bank and a strike. IT almost dove under the rocks. Good thing my drag was almost locked. I played the fish for a couple of minutes or so and landed it. Shy of a kilo and I was elated. Not bad.

After the catch, no more takers so I decided to switch to a bigger lure - a bigger WTG. I played with the lure for about an hour or so and still no bites. Then it rained really hard and the lightning were getting really close. I was soaking wet and decided to call it a day. But before I hopped into my bike, I casted a couple more. On my last cast, the rain all of a sudden turned into a drizzle and just as I was about to give up, a massive strike.  It was an unexpected panic driven strike. The fish pulled a amazing amount of line. I knew right that instant that it was a beast- a mamaw that has the muscle to punish me and my gear. And that's what it exactly did. It was taking a lot of line and it was nearing snags so I decided to increase my drag. After three to four clicks of increase in drag, the line went limp. The fish disappeared near the mangroves and with it was my favorite WTD lure with the 35lb leader still attached to it. My 20lb main line was just too light for this fish. It broke near the leader to main line connection.

I went home in shame and had a whole week of shallow sleep. It was a mamaw and it owned me. Again. I kept on telling myself, I want a rematch. And that's exactly what I got the following weekend.