A Snapper, a Goby and a Barracuda!

Weekend of January 28th, I woke up with an itch and found myself on the road to my favorite fishing spot in Cavite. It was past 8:00am when I arrive. Thinking that I was a bit late, I was just hoping that the day would be less lousy. After I parked, I wasted no time and rigged one rod for some live bait skipping my usual routine of casting artificial lures for the first hour or two. My target bait was the promising, becoming a favorite feathered river gar (‘kansusuwit’). In a few minutes, I reeled in one. I immediately tossed it back to the water for some 10 meters and as it splash and thrash in the water to get rid itself from the hook, it was like whaaaam! In an instant, I got myself this:

I got myself a perfectly sized Pargo or the Mangrove Jack. Officially called a Mangrove Red Snapper (Lutjanus argentimaculatus). As excitement engulfed my senses, I reached to remove the hook when I got careless. It was able to snap the tip of my thumb and blood just oozed for like 5 minutes. I realized then why it was called a ‘snapper’. It was really painful but was quite happy with what I landed. My first ever Pargo.

Then got myself another lively kansusuwit and as it landed back to the water, another strike from something big. This time though it got away. Then no strikes for the next hour or so.

I decided to change rig and opted for some dough bait to try if some tilapias would bite. Then I got another bite. This time I got this:

This is some biggest Biya (Tank Goby, Glossogobius giuris) I have ever seen and caught.

For the next couple of hours, there was no sign that my day would be bountiful so I was just there keeping myself busy with some sandwich and some ice cold soda.

Past lunch time, I decided to switch to live bait once again and got myself a kansusuwit. I tossed it back to the water and after some minutes, I got a huge strike but I wasn’t able to set the hook. As I retrieve to cast my bait farther, I got another strike, then a long pull. I moved to set the hook but it got away. However, all that was left of my bait was the head of the river gar. Something hungry got the other half of the fish. I tossed back the half bait and got another strike. I was able to set the hook properly and as I reel in, the fish jumped out of the water and showed itself to me. This is what I caught:

I got myself a Juvenile Great Barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda). I wasn’t able to properly shot some decent photo right after I landed this unexpected predator but shot this after I got home. Few more hours of casting live baits but gotten zero strikes.

It was getting late in the afternoon when I decided to have my mobile parked nearer to where I was so I decided to just leave my rod unattended. As I got back, the rod was violently bending and shaking as I have forgotten to loosen the drag a bit. But before I could get to the rod, something snapped. As I retrieve, all I got was a freshly snapped branch of the mangrove tree, around half of an inch in diameter, with the leading hook, a bit straightened and embedded on the bark while the trailing hook gone. It must have been some kind of a monster to do something like that to a size 2 hook tied to a 30 pound test line. After the incident, it was uneventful until I called it a day.

I went home a happy angler! 🙂

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The Reckoning: The ‘Sword’ Just Got Bigger

January 3, three days after I lost my topwater lure to some biggie, I went back for some reckoning … this time with Dennis, my bird photography buddy. I went to Ternate, Cavite, he went to Mt. Palay Palay for bird photography. I settled in a small riverbank adjacent to a lagoon where I lost my P322 topwater lure from some fish that I failed to identify and land. The fish must have been huge to snap a 16 pounder braid and took off my one and only topwater lure.

Without my topwater lure, I decided to fish for some kansusuwit (Feathered River-garfish) as live bait. This species seem to be a perfect live topwater lure. It was actually my first time to intentionally go for live baitfish and here trying out these kansusuwits. I rigged my first rod to catch some kasusuwits with a size 10 hook and laced it with some diced shrimp. As soon as the bait landed on the water, a few of the river-garfish nearby raced for the shrimp and in no time, I reeled in one. Immediately, I carefully unhooked the fish and transfered it on my 2nd rod which is rigged with a size 6 hook.

As soon as I tossed the baitfish by some 10 meters on the deep end of the riverbank, I got a strike and I instantly set the hook. Then whaaaam … something very strong is pulling down the line. It fought strongly for some 30 seconds, then the line went loose. I thought it got away but as I reel in some line, it pulled down my line again and showed it’s silvery body near the surface. This time, I reeled it fast as excitement rush through me. As I reeled it out of the water, it was some needlefish. Then I realized it wasn’t hooked but it got itself entangled with the line and it has not swallowed the baitfish. Just as I was about to grab it, it was able to free itself. Luckily, it fell on the sandbar and I was able to prevent it from getting back to the water.

Here it is, a 15.5 incher Spottail Needlefish (Strongylura strongylura):

With its not so large mouth, I figured the needlefish must have rolled itself after it snatched the bait entangling itself with the line in the process.

Live-baiting for the rest of the day proved futile. I got not even a single strike after the needlefish.

Thinking my luck has ran out, I shifted my focus on the wild ‘saltwater’ tilapias that is so plenty nearby. With some worms, I was able to land a few. This is also my first time to catch this ‘saltwater’ variety.

Then I called up Dennis to see how he is doing, he got something that eventually was identified as a rare migrant, an Asian Brown Flycatcher.

We went home very much contented with our catch.

As for me, it was a reckoning day indeed and I was able to land a bigger “sword”.

On The Last Day of 2011, I landed 13 ‘swordfish’!

Few days prior, been contemplating to find some new fishing site for some wild fish species near my place. I tried those in the CCP Complex and snagging Tilapias was not for me. I thought of Valenzuela’s but its stressful traffic and crazy motorcyclists turned me off and Subic’s just too far and expensive.

I thought of trying Cavite as the next best place so I found myself raring to go to Ternate. I used to go here for bird photography so the place should be quite easy to navigate. I thought going to either Puerto Azul or Caylabne would be a treat.

I went to Puerto Azul to check out their pier that has been unused for quite a long time but security personnel barred me from fishing saying their policy now prohibits recreational fishing due to some recent accidents involving foreign nationals. As fishing in Puerto is now prohibited, I thought of going to Caylabne but the thought of paying P500 for entrance scared me away.

So I just roamed around Ternate and found myself in some mangrove laden lagoon teeming with wild Tilapias. As soon as I was able to deploy, I had my first cast using a topwater lure. As I retrieve it .. it was like whaaam! A huge strike, then a snap. As I retrieve, only a few inches of my 16 lbs braided terminal and a swivel were left. “@#$*&%^&%@#$%^ Sayang!” I told myself.

Then I realize that it was already past 2pm and I still haven’t landed any after the big one that got away. I have deployed 2 rods, alternating various baits. I tried doughbait, peeled shrimp, artificial ones but nada! Changed hook sizes to the smallest and still no takers. Around 3pm as the tide is rushing in, I switched back to #6 with some peeled shrimp when some river garfish took it. Then another, then another til I landed a baker’s dozen. Maybe their bellies were full early in the day, or was it the size of my hook? Or was it the bait? Was it because of the rushing tide? I am not sure but that will be charged to experience.

I went home with a handful of river garfish that looks very delicious and vowed to return to do some reckoning with the one that took my P322 topwater lure.

Here are my 13 ‘swordfishes’!

Feathered river-garfish (Zenarchopterus dispar). Locally called ‘kansusuwit’. Did I say feathered? Look at the long beaks! I am in familiar territory!

And here is what I did to some feathered friends with long beaks the next morning! 🙂