Friday, October 20, 2017

The Fresh Water Killer (淡水杀手)

 A lake can become barren due to over-harvesting. So can a river.

A few years ago, I bought a new artificial fish bate and wanted to try my luck. So I visited Yusof and together with a few friends, we went to a river flowing through the heart of a jungle near Mersing, Johor to fish.

According to Yusof, a decade ago, the location was a place filled with many varieties of fresh water game fishes: toman (snakehead), sebarau (hampala), red and green kelah (mahseer), giant catfish, belidah (Asian knifefish) and etc.

It was a treasure chest of precious tropical fishes but now there were hardly any big fishes left. Well, since we were already at the place; we just had to try our luck and pray.

I cast my bate into the middle of the river and slowly retrieving the fishing line. The fish bate moved swiftly swayed left and right as if a small fish negotiating river current. Not long after that, I felt there was a bite on the line and my fishing rod took a dip.

It was quite a small fish judging from the bent of my fishing rod but I wasn't ready to let it off the hook. So, I relaxed my fishing line a little to prepare for a tug-of-war game with the fish.

The cunning fish swam into grass beside the river bank. I managed to tighten my fishing line and managed to pull the fish away from the grass and into my view. I tried to prevent the fish from swimming into dead woods which would cause the line to be entangled and snap.

After some struggle, the fish seemed to be lethargic and the line felt light. I hastily retrieved my fish line and just as I saw the fish head and about to pull it out of the water; suddenly I felt there was a strong tug and the line again dipped into the water.

In a split of a second and while I was lax, the fishing line was being pulled away me into the middle of the river. In a rush, I quickly pulled up the line and it managed to take load again. The fishing rod became full bow and I thought that I was caught by surprised by a large size fish instead of a small one.

Before I was preparing to start another tug-of-wall with the fish, the fishing line suddenly became lose and I thought the fish had finally gave up struggle. So I happily and quickly retrieved my fish line... And before I could show my victorious smile, to my surprised; my fish only left with its head opening and closing grasping for air...

Maybe it was really the case of a hunter being hunted. It was the hard lesson given by the killer fresh water fish that roams Malaysian waters: the infamous toman fish (giant snakehead).

After the incident, Yusof consoled me and brought me  to his fish farm where I can fish freely for some siakap fish (Asian sea bass) without the fear of my prays being consumed by larger fishes.

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