The prodigal son had returned home, once again! This time seeking redemption and with a will to sort himself out. After a few days to get over his jet-lag I took him out to the Natural Exotic Pond to get some fresh air and sun, and to enjoy some fishing for big catfish, and hopefully, an alligator garfish.
We arrived on location at c.4.00 pm and I rigged up two bait rods , one for soaking dead-bait and one for float-fishing live-bait; and one spinning outfit for fishing soft plastics. I was watching the bait rods whilst Siôn busied himself with a spot of lure fishing. In due course, after a couple of missed bites I hooked-up to the first fish of the day, a decent sized Amazon Redtail Catfish:
Amazon Redtail Catfish no.1
Once the bite started, at around 5.00pm, we started to pick up fish every 10-15 minutes. Siôn took the next strike and did well to bully a big Amazon Redtail away from the restaurant structure opposite Post 5 where we were fishing on a 30lb line set-up. He’d wanted to catch a large catfish and got his wish, bringing in an impressive 14kg (30lb) specimen:
Sion’s 14kg (30lbs) Amazon Redtail Catfish (fish no.2)
We followed up this fish, 15 minutes later, with another, slightly smaller fish of around 12 kg:
It was shaping up to be a good session. A bit of father-son bonding, good fishing and the sun on our backs. Then disaster struck. Siôn was lure fishing whilst I watched the bait rods. We took a hit on the left hand rod and I wanted Siôn to take the fish. As he ran over to pick up the rod before the fish got under the pillars of the restaurant, I ran towards him to take the spinning rod from his hand. After catching the previous fish, we hadn’t laid the landing net down flat on the ground, instead we’d left it at an angle, resting between the ground and a plastic tray. I caught my foot on it and went flying. As I fell I did a double bounce, landing awkwardly as I tried to avoid falling into the pond. Unfortunately I managed to graze both hands and my right knee, but badly gashed my left knee. As I stood up, blood was pouring down my leg and already soaking into my sandal. Whilst I gathered myself, I urged Siôn to bring the fish in. It was a small baung and certainly not worth the injury …!!
Baung (fish no.4)
The ground where I fell was filthy, and the gash on my knee was deep and ragged. Fortunately, one of the assistants went and got me some first aid equipment – tissue paper, plasters and an old and dirty bottle of yellow iodine solution. I had no choice – I cleaned up with the tissues, poured on the iodine and closed the wound with two plasters. To my surprise, the bleeding stopped. As we were only half-way through our session, I decided to continue fishing. I was next up and got another hit on the shallow, float-fished live-bait. I suspected a garfish and let the fish run on the light bait-runner drag before setting the hook. It was, however, big Amazon Redtail, again around 12kg’s in weight:
Amazon Redtail Catfish (fish no.5), c.25lbs
Unfortunately, this fish was deep-hooked due to the long drop back that I’d given (garfish takes are typically slow, and require some time to turn and eat the bait before setting the hook). This was my first deep-hooked fish, despite the use of a circle hook, in all of my trips to this fishery. Another casualty of the day ….!
The bite then slowed for a while. Siôn took the opportunity to persevere with the soft plastics, to no avail. Then, as dusk approached there was another flurry of activity and I picked up another good Amazon catfish on the floated live-bait:
Amazon Redtail Catfish (fish no.6)
As the session drew to a close, amid a surge feeding activity, Siôn picked up two further fish – another nice Amazon followed by a smallish Asian Redtail Catfish to close the day:
Another big Amazon Redtail (fish no.7)
Now, with the session over, my thoughts turned to my injury. It was a nasty gash in a bad location for healing. I also had a sailfish fishing trip the following weekend. I was also concerned with possible infection due to the unsanitary nature of the pond bankside …!! I needed to get this treated. So, after returning home and cleaning up, it was a 2.5 hour visit to Pantai Hospital A and E Department for treatment. I ended up with four stitches, a tetanus shot and a 5 day course of antibiotics for my troubles ….. my first ever set of stitches! I think that it was a good decision though, because otherwise I’d be looking at many weeks for this wound to heal.