|Boat Half Way Done|
|First Full Test|
|GT of the Trip!|
|Even when the water was calm, they had no qualms smashing poppers.|
We arrived in Lombok without much incident and were picked up by Herry, who is Sahil's partner. He told us that there had been in a change in the logistics plan as the speed boat we had booked to take us to Maluk had become unavailable because the mining company that operates on the island had chartered it for the whole day to send it's employees back to site. This meant that we had to make a 2 hour drive to a ferry terminal, spend 2 hours in a ferry and drive another 2 hours just to get to our Hotel. The speed boat would have reduced the travel time significantly. We were bummed out because this meant we would actually lose a day of fishing so that we can get back in time on the eve of the day of our return flight. We arrived at Maluk late in the evening and had a quick dinner before we prepared our tackle for the next day.
|At Lombok airport with Herry|
The next morning we drove to the beach and boarded the boat. We realised that there would be an additional person travelling with us. He was to be our Captain. We made our way to the first location and were drenched by the time we reached it. The wind was strong and the sea was choppy. It took some time for me to get adjusted to the boat and how it moved with the waves. It was a little unnerving as there were no railings in the narrow bow. It was a little more than a meter in width and extremely unstable in the waves.
|Typical fishing area|
|That homemade sambal was so tasty|
My companion for the trip was Jith and it was his first popping trip. He gave up rather too easily when the conditions got tough and began goofing around with a light casting outfit. He and Herry hooked on to some juvenile Queenfish but that was about it. The wind really picked up in the afternoon so we had to shelter nearby some islands. This area was suitable for light jigging and we spent some time trying to catch some fish for dinner. We had a little dogtooth and a coronation trout on some 40g jigs.
We were told that we would be heading directly to the fishing village the next day so we can have one full day of popping at the remote area. We assumed that we'd be fishing along the way. But we were mistaken.
|Grilled Coronation Trout|
|The sun rises pretty early here|
|One of many islands we passed on the way to our fishing grounds|
|We were jigging in about 80m of water|
On the second drift, I had another hit. Same fish same outfit. At the same time Jith had a massive hit on his ATC Chaser Jig. His Shimano Ocea Jigger 3000HG reel was peeling line and his ATC Vulcan #3.5 rod was wickedly bent. But alas, mid-way through the run the fish managed to dislodge the hook. I hit a third Coronation Trout and we had to leave after that, otherwise we would not reach the village before nightfall.
|Pretty Simple Life|
We were sound asleep but the chickens had other plans. I was awaken by the poultry symphony at 4am. Try as i did i could not fall back to sleep. I went outside and it was so quiet. I sat outside with my 4 legged friend and looked at the stars for a bit. Shortly after the villagers began getting up and going about their daily routine. A simple breakfast of some rice, noodles and eggs with black coffee put some fuel into our bellies. We headed out shortly after the sunrise.
|Went to pee, and snapped a picture immediately after.|
|They don't have access to drinking water like we do.|
Our Captain, stayed back at the island and our host who is the spear fisherman accompanied us on our trip. The conditions were friendlier and i had gotten accustomed to casting from the boat. We learned from the villager that there were caves below these rocks we were casting at and that it was along these caves where the GT were. I tried their method of casting to the rocks with poppers but i was not getting any action. I went with my gut and switched to my Stickbait setup. I made a long cast parallel to the cluster of rocks and began to work my lure back.
Then i spotted a silvery silhouette chasing down my lure. I kept calm and continued with my retrieve and BOOM!!! It hit my lure. I told Sahil to put the boat in reverse while i set the hook as the fish tried to dash back into the rocks. It did not seem like a big fish to me when i first saw it hit the lure, but it was putting up quite the fight. Using the current to it's advantage it circled the boat before we finally landed it. Finally, my first sizeable Indonesian GT! It measured in at 80cm and was released after taking a photo.
|The only sizeable one|
|The smile on his face says it all|
He had several small GTs chasing the popper but no takes. Herry got his light casting outfit out and threw out the Zerek Cavalla sinking minnow. He hooked up instantly. But the fish cut him by dashing back towards the structure. This continued until he ran out of Cavallas! Finally, he hooked up another one on his sinking pencil.
|Another one for Herry|
As the next few casts yielded no hits, we stopped for lunch. That's when we were told that we had to catch our lunch. I was a bit skeptical but played along anyway. To my astonishment, we got a Coronation Trout on the first drop. Jith followed it up with a 2kg grouper and we were ready to cook.
Sahil whipped up a savoury fish stew with the freshly caught fish and momentarily our fishing took a back seat as we enjoyed a delicious lunch.
|Happy Belly, Very Happy|
|Last night at the village|