Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Camping and Fishing for Bass

The second trip to Pantabangan was planned a month ago. Like all other planned trips, something unexpected usually happens. We were hoping for a calm and sunny weather last weekend. Instead of that calm and sunny weather, the Amihan (cool northeast wind) was blowing the entire two days that we were there. Along with it blew tropical depression Crising. The trip was an EB-Camping-Fishing trip with our visitors from overseas. There a total of 14 anglers from Filanglers.org. Despite the weather, everyone was in good spirits and unmistakable excitement.
We left Manila at around 11:30pm and we drove to North Luzon Expressway via Mindanao Avenue. We met with the other Filang guys at Lakeshore past midnight. With them was Larry from Texas and Kenny from BC Canada. Even while in Pampanga, it was already cold and windy and we knew that we were in for a nasty fishing weather. After a bit of waiting for others to arrive, we left past 2 in the morning and arrived at Pantabangan around 6am. It was freezing and the wind was howling. The water level in the dam is already low and we had to walk down on a steep hill to get to our bankas. Upon loading we immediately went to our base camp -- a small shack in a floating fish cage. After unloading extra gear, everyone hurriedly rigged and started fishing.

Fishing in this condition was relatively tough, we were unable to cross the dam to get to the other side. That's where we caught most of our bass last month. The wind stirred up big waves that made crossing dangerous. So we settled with fishing near the fish cage(s). Even close to shore, the wind made fishing texas rigged worms difficult. It literally blew our rods making it difficult to feel those subtle bites.
Nonetheless, some of us managed to get a few nice fish. Me, I got a few from t-rigs but what really caught me a lot of them is my trusted Daiwa E-Gee eging rod with Daiwa TDA 1500 on 6lb Fireline -- my squid fishing combo which acted as a wonderful dropshot rod and reel.
We fished the entire day up until around 8pm when it was really cold and the hunger was unbearable. After a few minutes rest, we set up camp up on top of the hill next to the fish cages. The view from there was spectacular but the wind was biting. Our boatmen prepped a camp fire and cooked sausages, hot dogs, and other goodies. After a great shore meal, most of the guys dozed off while some of us tried some brandy to fight off the cold. After a few shots, everyone fell asleep. 
While others brought tents, some us didn't and we slept in the open using a huge election campain tarpauline as our bed. It was so cold because of the wind, even with three layers of jacket, sweater, and long sleeved shirt, plus thick socks, I still had to roll the tarp over my body to keep me from shivering. By 3 in the morning, Mikko was already waking everyone so we can go back fishing. So fishing we went in the freezing morning until 9am. I got a few bass from t-rigs and drop shot when the moon was still up but at around 5am, the moon sets and dark took over, then the bites stopped. Since then, not a single bite until 9 in the morning. It appeared that the bass are already spawning and are no longer actively feeding.
We hoped for a better weather but it never came. Even so, everyone had a great time. By 10am, we packed our stuff and drove off to Jiro's for those sumptous Lomi, Liempo, and Liempo Sisig. That hearty meal made up for the bad weather and less than stellar fishing. 

Maybe just before April, the weather will be better. I just hope I have the time to fish there again. Unfortunately, I was told that bass fishing season is almost over by end March. If not this April, then next year again.