When I got more acquainted with the methods and art of fishing, I started meeting more people that were like me, amateurs in the sport of Fishing that were trying to “climb up the angling ladder”, all of which were men (I’m still yet to meet the ladies, where you at!). It was natural to learn from them, to understand how they started, why they got into it and where are they headed; if they took it as a serious hobby or just as another pastime. After all, they had more years of fishing experience compared to tiny ol’ me.
Soon I started going deep sea fishing with my husband, another chance I took despite my fears, with the understanding that there truly are and very literally, many fishes in the sea. I’m yet to get lucky out there, though on our first deep sea trip in Port Dickson, I witnessed my husband’s intense fight with what would be his biggest fish caught then, an 8kg Stingray.
My husband and I started trying out fishing ponds to compensate the missing of deep sea fishing, and not to mention saving on the cost of travelling and boat rental. Fishing ponds to some anglers is seen as a ridiculous waste of time therefore when I initially started, I wondered what was so bad about it- after all, fishing is fishing no matter where you’re at, isn’t it? This is where I feel a women’s perspective may differ from majority of the men (not all!), whose idea of fishing is about catching the big fish and that 30 minute fight to talk about.That is a story to blog about another day. Thankfully, my husband isn’t one of those men and we now frequent various fishing ponds to enjoy something we truly love doing together, Fishing, no matter where it is.
After a year of continously fishing with no luck since my Toad Fish, I finally caught a 1kg Barramundi from the Serdang Saltwater Pond. That powerful inspiring feeling from the fish fight propelled me to read up on more fishing options within Malaysia, preferably nearer to Kuala Lumpur.
That is when I came across an article in a local fishing magazine about the chase for Tarpons in Pulau Indah using lures. A pond with Tarpons that allows fishing with lures?! Both the species of fish and method of fishing is unlike what you find in most ponds in and around Kuala Lumpur, we have to give it a shot!
On our first trip to Pulau Indah, we brought with us two friends, Dave & Sumy, who are new to the sport of Fishing, in fact it was their first time. The pond was indeed very big and for Dave, it was a fruitful trip with two decent sized Barramundis which had him hooked on fishing just like my husband and I. For a first trip, the Pulau Indah fishing pond has left a positive impression on us. Upon familiarising ourselves with the pond and coming up with rigs we feel could work better, we decided to give it a shot once more on the next weekend.
My fishing gear is a Shakespeare EZ Cast rod & a Banax Vesta reel. They were my cheapest gear that by then had caught me enough fishes to fall in love with. I had on a 15lb Berkley Vanish Fluorocarbon leader attached to a Powerpro Super slick 8 – 50lbs test hi-vis yellow braided line. An odd combination highly influenced and supported by my husband. Our choice of hook on this trip was a size 6 Mustad Big Red.
Instead of the casting method which is ideal for my gear, I decided to cast the live prawn and wait it out whilst I join the gang under the shade, away from the heat of the sun. I remember taking one step into the shade when I heard my indicator bell on my rod ring, I turned and saw that my rod was about to fly out of the rod holder; I ran as fast as I could and grabbed on to my rod making sure my hook was set on the fish. By this time, my husband started recording what would be the fish fight video of my life thus far… the video that became the talk of anglers in Singapore and Malaysia for a brief period of time.
(Video available at the end of this blog)
I reeled in slowly, thinking it was just another Barramundi. A fish commonly found in paid fishing ponds and one that we knew was in the waters of Pulau Indah too. I was confident as I have experienced the fight of a Barramundi however this one started running and pulling my line out faster than I could reel it in, must be a huge one!
With my drag at its tightest & my line heating up from the speed of its pull, the fish was a force so strong that the usual grip on a casting rod and reel was beginning to hurt my wrist. It soon became clear to me that this “huge Barramundi” may not be a Barramundi after all…
I had to lift my rod up for a better support, the fish felt “heavy” and I was concerned that the force would pull my rod out of my hands. Evidently, as seen in the video at minute 1:37, I was holding on to my rod and bending my knees so as to maintain my grip and not succumb to the pulling force of the fish. It was very strong. Whatever it is at the end of my line. I was beginning to get worried… and I admit, a little scared of the unknown when all I anticipated for was a Barramundi.
I had a momentum going; reeling whilst moving forward and pulling the fish in as I took slow steps back. It felt like I had control and just as my confidence was slowly creeping back in, at minute 2:07 of the video, the fish took some SERIOUS control all over again. It wasn’t only pulling more than half of my line out of my reel at an uncontrollable speed, it was also pulling me as I hang on to my rod!
The battle with the fish continued, it pulling me, draining me, and numbing my arms from holding on. I even tried screaming at the fish to stop running… hoping it would listen to me (well you never know unless you try right!). Before long, I looked out and saw fins emerging from the water, it was then that I realised how big the fish was. I got a little more worried and a little more scared… WHAT FISH WAS AT THE END OF MY LINE!
I tried to give my husband and our friends a glimpse of what it was as I wonder to myself if it was a baby Shark… then Dave jokingly said “SHARK”, I jumped on that, “it looks like a Shark right?!”. Thankfully my husband said he’s good with Sharks so we’re all in safe hands and company (LOL).
Shark or whatever it was, I was even more pumped to land it. Now, I wanted to know what species of fish it was and despite an aching arm, I was ready to fight it!
Let’s do this!!
…I spoke too soon.
It pulled me again but thankfully, it started swimming closer to shore and as I followed its trail with hopes to reel it in a little quicker, I see it splashing right in front of me. Unfortunately, every moment I got close, it kept running away and I was running out of energy! Instead of tiring the fish, I believe the fish succeeded in tiring me! I requested for my husband’s assistance to pull in the fish from the leader once its close to shore, at this point, our video stopped recording.
Two minutes after the video stopped, my husband was able to catch on to the leader and pull the fish in. My hook came off from it and at this point, the fish was almost flying in the air and we were all trying frantically to stop it from jumping back into the water but it did, it landed in the water sending our hearts racing for a few seconds. Thankfully, my husband was quick enough to grab it from its tail and this time, bringing it back in so that we could hold it down firmly whilst securing it with a grip, trying our best not to hurt it.
By now, we have attracted other fishermen from the pond who came by on their bikes to inspect on our fish. I looked down and wondered… what fish is this, it looks oddly familiar, almost like a Tarpon… Then one guy walked by and said in Malay, “Ikan susu ni! Siapa tangkap!” (That’s a Milkfish! Who caught it!”)
I looked up at him and in such delight started jumping for joy celebrating the catch whilst others laughed at my excitement, and some shocked that I landed it.
The beautiful Milkfish weighed 2.5KG.
During my research on fishing, instead of following the boys in their quest to land the biggest fishes in the sea, I told my husband that I wanted to land quality fishes, regardless of their size, because I was learning that there are smaller species of fishes that can put up a good fight. First on my list was, believe it or not, a Milkfish. One that my husband promised a trip to Australia for so that I could have a go at catching “the world’s most challenging and explosive light tackle sportsfish”, as quoted by fishingworld.com.
Unknowingly but thankfully, I got the chance to land the fish at the top of my list at the Pulau Indah Fishing Pond and my lovely husband captured those painfully intense yet hilarious moments on Video.
Personally, I was more than happy and it was an achievement that I was truly proud of myself for. To my surprise and delight, my pictures and video was being shared amongst fishing websites, groups and different anglers all over Singapore & Malaysia. I was not aware of what a big deal it truly was, how the Milkfish was regarded as “the fish” to catch on light tackle, alongside a few other species, not just for me, but for almost every knowledgable angler out there.
I was soon getting recognised whilst visiting tackle shops in K.L, it was a lovely feeling, getting the support of fellow anglers, especially being a woman in this sport. It wasn’t long before they started calling me, The Milkfish Lady.