After a month-long Covid19 quarantine where mostly everyone were prohibited from going out, the government finally eased off the restrictions in Manila and the neighboring province. After the announcement, we hurriedly organized a Sunday fishing trip to a nearby spot around 3 hours south of the Metro. On our way, I noticed that there were some quarantine checkpoints but the officers were not really checking anyone coming in and going out.
We were supposed to launch the boat on a beach resort but the resort caretaker said she was not informed in advance and she refused our request to park and launch because "of the threat of Covid19". We had no choice but to park on a residential lot about a kilometer away. Lucky us, the parking spot was near a ravine and we needed to walk far to the beach (we paid P300 per day for that "sweet" parking spot :-O). Our original plan was to start fishing at 5am but because of the issue with the parking, we started at past 7 in the morning.
I tied on a 15g micro jig on a 15lb flouro leader on my Ize Certate 2506 loaded with 0.8PE (10lbs). The rod I was using is my fave Daiwa Emeraldas 8ft eging rod. The area was shallow (15-20meters) and was perfect for micro jigs. The only problem was the wind. The boat had no anchor or a drift chute. (I don't think the boatman knew how to use a chute in the first place. Maybe I should bring one and teach him on the next trip). Without a chute on a strong wind, we drifted really fast and the waves kept hitting us broadside. This made fishing really uncomfortable especially when there are 4 of you in a small boat.
After an hour or so of small CnR groupers, I finally got solid hookup. At first, it felt like it was another grouper but a little bigger but when I turned the handle, the fish dashed and pulled drag for a good 15-20 seconds. After the initial run, it just stopped and remained motionless. I tried pumping the rod but it would not budge. I thought that it ran inside its hole and snagged my line. But after a few more tugs, the fish pulled drag again. The fight perhaps lasted for about 15 minutes. I was very worried that the banca's outrigger will fray my line (i was sitting in the middle of the small boat). The rod's tip was barely over the outrigger. When the fish finally came up to the surface, a fellow angler tried to net it with the only net on board. The net was almost as big as the fish and the head barely fits inside it. Luckily, it did and was able to land it. The hook fell off while we were taking pictures. It barely penetrated the jaw. It is my biggest diamond trevally on a micro jig so far. 4.2kg. It was my only fish on that trip. The spot was great but when the wind started to pick up, our jigs were barely hitting the bottom and the jigging action did not impart the correct action because our lines were almost horizontal. If only we had an anchor or a drift chute.
I almost lost my rod to a rogue cast of a boat mate. (Two guides pulled out from the blank. I hope the blank is still in tact). Just before going home, the rod and reel of my boat mate sank in the bottom of the ocean. My popper got tangled in his line during my cast. I didn't realize he was rigging behind me while I was casting. My other boatmate captured the rod and reel while was about to hit the water.
The trip was full of lessons. First is not put too many anglers in a small boat. The rent will be cheaper but it may cost you more if something happens. And believe me, accidents can happen. One or two is ideal. Also, do not forget to bring an anchor and a drift chute. Chances are, your boatman will not bring one and you'd never know when you will need them.