It was yet another long public holiday weekend. Me and Jochen decided to give the newly opened Natural Exotic Fishing Pond in Behrang a try. The pond had only officially opened to the public two days before on the Friday and I was concerned that it would be very busy – but we thought that the long weekend may have resulted in people taking advantage travelling back to home-towns to see relatives, etc. Well, that idea didn’t materialise – when we arrived it was packed, and the car park was full.
We took 15 minutes to check out the place before deciding to fish. It was interesting to see the new place – it was obvious that a lot of money and effort had been put into the facility. The pond is broadly rectangular in shape, approximately 140m long and 115m wide. It is bisected by a 100m long central fishing “jetty”. This jetty is a double-decked structure c.14m wide. The lower deck is tiled and with built in central seating, and includes a toilet block. Fresh water hoses are located strategically along both sides, and their are inbuilt fishing rod tube holders (flush to ground level) regularly spaced along the platform:
Angling is only allowed from this central fishing jetty, which is covered for 85m of it’s length with a metal roof. The upper deck is a viewing area and also set up with tables and chairs, presumably it will be available for private functions. There is also a restaurant on the eastern side set alongside a large fish pen full of various species of carp, arawana, catfish and gar. As with the old Natural Exotic, live-bait pens are present offering lampan and keli live (or, if preferred, dead) baits. So, very well set-up, but certainly not natural and now even more industrialised, with concrete, tiles and close proximity to other anglers. On the other hand, it is full of an impressive array of exotic, very large and hard fighting fish ….. which is why we come here ….!!!
And so to fishing. As already stated, it was extremely busy. We decided to fish but the only space available was in the south-western corner where the pond becomes asymmetric and narrows into a small corner. So, we rigged up – I was trying out a new Stella SW6000HG for the first time and was keen to give it a work-out. Jochen was using my old Penn 6500ss that he just purchased from me. Both reels were spooled with 30lb braid and with 40lb leaders that I tied with FG knots – another tackle test. For bait we’d brought pilchards that Jochen had picked up from the market (we weren’t sure if the bait operation was going to be in operation).
We cast out and waited. It was slow …. very slow. The occasional fish was being caught at various locations around the pond, including to our left right in the small corner. But it was generally slow, and completely dead for us. We started to doubt our (sea-fish) dead-bait. Jochen switched to a lampam live-bait from the nearby bait tank . Eventually he got a tentative take that didn’t hook up. Then, after almost two hours, I started getting a strange plucking on my line. I wound in to find my bait was partially shredded. I re-cast to the same location, hard against the eastern wall, and the same thing again. I picked up the rod and felt pressure. I immediately wound down and a decent fish started violent head shakes and short runs. It didn’t remotely feel like a catfish, and I was suspecting a gar. An then the inevitable happened and my mono leader got cut. Damn, almost certainly a garfish, one of the species on my wish list.
I was certain that I wouldn’t get another shot at a garfish. So, I re-rigged with mono leader, a larger 5/0 circle hook and re-cast my bait to the same location. I was surprised when, within a few minutes, I had another subtle plucking bite. I waited with the reel in free spool until the line started moving then I flicked the bail and wound down and was hooked-up on an evidently good sized fish. Once again the fight was characterised by violent jigging and short runs. I kept the rod vertical and high, and kept the line taught at all times to minimise the chance of a bite-off if it was indeed a gar. Then I saw it, a large Alligator Gar emerged from the cloudy green water. My first legitimate Alligator Gar. I became completely focused on landing this fish and quickly brought it to the waiting net.
My first Alligator Gar . I was elated and it certainly made up for the extremely slow fishing. A nicely conditioned fish (except for another hook in its jaw from a previous encounter with an angler) which I would guess to be c.8 kg, with very sharp scales ….!
This was my first fish on the new Stella, which easily handled the short runs from this fish. The FG knot held up well too. A good first tackle test.
A couple of quick pictures and then the fish was released. I was very satisfied – that fish had made my trip.
Now it was Jochen’s turn. He had a similar subtle bits and was hooked-up to another fish that seemed to be a gar before he was suddenly off, bitten through the mono leader. That was 3 bites from garfish. We both switched to wire leader in an attempt to catch more, and I was soon experiencing another subtle take. I picked up the rod, felt some light resistance and then the line went slack – I reeled in only to find my entire rig and c.3m of 40lb leader gone. It was like it had been bitten off, or I theorised, cut through against the scales of a second garfish that was passing by as the bait was taken. It was very odd, but it was cut-off with a taught line, but with only mild load. Definitely a cut-off rather than a break-off …!!
As I was re-rigging my leader, Jochen was in action once again. This was another subtle bite, but the fish was making stronger runs than the previous hook-ups, and I was begining to suspect an even bigger garfish. But then the fish broke surface, an Amazon Redtail of around 8 kg or so. It turned and made another powerful run before escaping from the line. When Jochen reeled in we could see that the fish had broken the clip on his leader.
We fished on for another half an hour of so until the end of our session without any furtehr action. It had been extremely slow, but I was happy with my catch. It was interesting to see the new pond – I will try it out again soon, but will wait until it settles down, with less anglers and more space to explore and test the waters.