Gut Feeling – Fishing

When’s the last time you followed your instinct despite not being sure it was the right thing to do? Did it end up being the right call?

“It’s time to try another spot. We have waited long enough here but no bite.” my god-brother Andy said to me when we have been at a spot for over an hour. I agreed and we packed our rod and baits and moved to another spot to try again. This could go on till the tide went out and we knew there was no point in staying on so we packed up and left without any fish for that day. These were some of our experiences when fishing near our shores in Singapore.

There were times when we went to nearby islans off Malaysia to fish on what we called “Kelong” (a malay word for houses on stilts in the open sea). These kelongs were commercially operated and anglers like Andy and I with a few other like-minded friends would pay a small fee of about a USD100 to stay 3 days and 2 nights. All meals, basic baits, bunk beds, toilet and washroom facilities were provided. The boat would pick us from the jetty to bring us to this kelong out at sea where we can fish day and night to our hearts content. We looked forward to such short and quick getaways to spend time together out at sea doing our favourite hobby without worrying about getting sea sick or need to stay on a boat.


One time at the kelong, late into the night, the winds were blowing and the waves were quite strong. Many have retired to their bunk beds but Andy was keenly fishing at one end of the kelong. I decided to join him and when I stood beside him and asked how was the catch, he said nothing much so far. So I asked him why not rest and wake up early to try again. He said the waters seemed to be right for some types of fishes so he wanted to try a bit longer. He seemed to have a gut feel about it so I asked what type of fish was he expecting. He replied, “Big eye.” Then I thought to myself that this would also mean there may be wolf herrings around. So my gut feel was to change my bait to metal jigs that will attract such fishes and cast as far as possible against the current and start reeling in using a quick tug and pull method.

After a few casts with my shiny metal jig out in the dark and reeling in, suddenly there was a sharp pull. The jig was taken and my reel began to screech as the line was taken out. My rod bent hard downwards at an angle and the fish was running fast outwards to the right. I held up my rod firmly and when the fish stopped, I reeled in and pumped the rod to take in more line. It was a tug of war for a few minutes before the fish finally gave in.True enough it was a wolf herring, a 3.5kg prize catch for me on that trip. Andy also got a couple of the Big Eye he wanted although they were smaller species, less than 500gm each but he preferred them for their feisty fights when using a light rod.


Wolf Herring or Sai Toh


Big Eye or Tua Bak

We both had a great time catching our favourite kind of fishes and reitred later than the others but definitely happier for sticking to our gut feel that night for we had a good tale to share with our comrades the next morning.

Gut Feeling – DP


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