The MFF Blog

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Like father like son?

Could not resist buying this set of children's clothes by Anakku. We saw them on discount when we were in Gerik's The Store (Belum trip) and bought 2 sets - this one and another sleeveless one trimmed in orange. At 50% off they were about RM12 per set of top and bottom. We were kiasu and bought the largest size available, which was for 12 to 18 months, so ZY will not outgrow them so fast.

Maybe MFF should come up with fishing-themed baby clothes! Hmm...

The obvious reason why we bought them despite having lot's of clothes already at home, was the design! If you cannot see the words printed on the t-shirt, they are "I Like Fishing. So Fun!"

Can't wait to bring him fishing!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Casting Practice @ Upper Seletar

This is the third reservoir we went to for casting practice and among the three, this is our favourite. Kranji had too many trees above that you have to look out for and also too many mosquitoes trying to bite. Bedok had this wooden railing behind you have to be careful of and also too many people trying to bi... Haha, no lah... they were all trying to take a look at the big poppers that were making splashes in the usually calm waters.

This signboard makes a lot more sense than the one at Kranji...

We also realised that Kranji and Upper Seletar are the haunts of anglers practising their casts... for good reasons. Thus we will continue going there every Sunday morning! Fingers crossed... :)

It's always a bonus to be able to cast with friends!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Crabs again... this time as pets!

Fancy a crab for a pet? Now you can! Mini hermit crabs are now available as pets! I was immediately reminded of the huge hermit crab hooked up accidentally at Hotboys Kelong!

Greedy sea hermit crab that eats sotong!

This HaHa Crab company has a booth at United Square where there are about 20 crabs crawling around on sand. And all the crabs have houses that were 'renovated' - painted in different bright colours! For slightly more than $50, you can bring home 1 crab with a couple accessories in a small plastic aquarium.

Could not take a photo of the crabs, so had to take one of the poster.

Apparently, this is a company that has, since 2005, been legally importing these land hermit crabs to sell as pets, so please don't pick any crabs up to keep as pets!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Belum Fishing Trip Part IV - The Food

Was debating whether to write about this... then decided that we have to recommend this to our readers who might be going to Pulau Banding!

So, if you are going... and if you are going to be there either on Thursday or Friday or both... do make the effort to drive to the Gerik Night market. This market is located in the town of Gerik itself at the open area with a "Pasar Pagi" (Morning Market) sign, every Friday. However, it is located every Thursday at a paved open area at the outskirts of the town, where the permanent police checkpoint is. We actually did not know of its existence till we saw a sign at the resort that offered transportation to the night market at a fee. We simply drove towards Gerik till we saw it!

Delicious Sup Kuey Tiow that we had for 2 nights running!

No, we have no idea why it's at different places (about 10 minute's drive away) on different days. And no, we did not ask. Yes, we made a 45 min drive from the resort to the night market on both nights. And yes, we stuffed ourselves silly both times!

Fancy any poultry? Get it at the Gerik night market!

Other than the fishing, this market was really a highlight of our trip. Unlike the pasar malams of Singapore, the Gerik one is a night and wet market rolled into one. You can get fruits, vegetables, meat and even fish at this market!

You will find stalls like this with fish, crabs and sotong displayed for sale.

And don't get me started on the prices! A bowl of kuey tiow soup with generous pieces of mutton is RM3.50, a piece of mutton murtabak the size of your hand costs RM1.50, a cup of teh tarik RM1, while a crispy peanut and corn pancake RM0.50!

The food section. Yummy...

The most amazing part of this all is... if you come back the next day, there is no evidence of the stalls having been there at all, the stall owners would clear every scrap of rubbish away! Can our local pasar malam stall owners beat that???

Friday, July 10, 2009

Belum Fishing Trip Part III - The Fight

The boatman's style for the first 2 hours of the day was to bring us to a spot he knew/thought (we don't know which!) there were fish, but as there were absolutely no action, he changed tactics after lunch. He cruised at a slower speed, keeping his eyes peeled for surface disturbances. We caught on after a while and eagerly followed his example. There were 2 or 3 times when he spotted something that was probably a toman surfacing and drew our attention to it. He would then stop the engine and tell us to cast in that direction. We did our best to cajole whatever was out there to sample our lures but was disappointed every time.

No fish, so we enjoyed the view instead...

The weather was hot and the air was still, but we pushed on. Eventually, we spotted a 'boiling' effect that was larger than any of the surface actions encountered earlier. Instead of a lone fish, this was a group of babies and when there's babies, the mama should be near!

With the possibility of a big fish nearby, we renewed our efforts enthusiastically. Unfortunately our lures did not seem 'delicious-looking' enough for them. The group ignored us totally. There were several times that the 'boiling' shifted a few metres and each time the boatman, not wanting to scare the fish off, used his wooden paddle to shift us near again.

Orang Asli kampong - we passed by quite a few of these.

Frustrated with what seemed like a good chance slipping through our fingers, we decided to change the lures. All of a sudden, everything changed. There was a tap and one of the baby tomans had finally decided to bite! The baby was too small to put up a fight, so we quickly reeled it in and released it unharmed. The same thing happened again on the second cast of that lure! Sad to say, this one was injured badly as one of the treble hooks had pierced its belly. :( The boatman decided to keep it as he thought the fish would likely not survive.

1st fish of the day - Toman baby.

We were wondering where the mama was and wasn't she supposed to be aggressively protecting her babies when there was a big tug on the line. ZZZZZ.... Mama mia! The fish was finally irritated enough to chomp on the lure. It was quite fun fighting the mama on a Shimano Clarus and Daiwa Freams Kix 1500, as the angry fish put up a fight first by swimming away, then by dashing under the boat a couple of times.

When the fish was landed, the boatman made an amazingly accurate guess of its weight - 6 kg! After photo-taking, the mama was then released to be reunited with her babies.

We continued trying to lure in other areas after that, but with no result. Well, we would have to be satisfied with this one and only significant catch from Belum Rainforest, Perak, Malaysia!

Our toman catch against the backdrop of Belum Rainforest.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Belum Fishing Trip Part II - The Hunt

We set off from the Banding jetty around 9am and reached our first spot very soon. It was not more than 10 casts each before the boatman already wanted to change spot! Ok, guess we've really got ourselves a very hardworking boatman...

Rules stated that everyone had to wear a lifejacket.

We moved around the river and the different tributaries, stopping now and then to cast and always moving on with 10 minutes of no action. Pretty soon, an hour had passed and we caught had caught a grand total of.... zero fish.

Thinking of taking a rest anyway, we welcomed the boatman's suggestion that we take a short hike into the forest to see the Rafflesia flower. We had earlier asked the resort about their Rafflesia sighting tour, but was told that no flowers were in bloom. Hmm... did the boatman know better? 10 minutes later we arrived, and saw... Rafflesia buds. Haiz... I was rather curious about its supposedly disgusting smell...

This big 'cabbage' lookalike is the bud of the Rafflesia flower, it will bloom in approximately 8 to 9 days.

One of the highlights of this trip soon showed themselves... Leeches! Unknowingly, we had brought 4 leeches back with us to the boat... all engorged with our blood. The boatman helped us pull them off and the blood just kept flowing for more than 10 minutes after! Yikes!!!

The leech before it started sucking blood. We were too freaked out to take the 'after' photo!

So, when we requested that the boatman bring us to a waterfall for our lunch break, you can imagine it was with much trepidation that we made the half hour trek into the forest.

Note point number 2. We were definitely not worried, we were just absolutely disgusted...

We had our lunch by a lovely waterfall, with the sound of falling water and birdsong as accompaniment. It was almost perfect - if we didn't have to constantly worry about the leeches lunching on us!

Plenty Ikan Kelah could be seen in the water, but they were all babies less than 3 inches long.

One thing definitely worth mentioning is the fact that everyone seemed to be really environmentally conscious about their nature reserve. We did not see any rubbish floating in the river at all and the boatman conscientiously bagged all his rubbish - which he deposited later in a bin at the jetty!

We gladly brought all our rubbish out with us as there were no bins in the forest.

By the time we went back to the boat, it was already 1 pm. Half the day was gone and we had nothing to show for our efforts. Was this destined to be a wasted trip after all?

To be continued... :)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Belum Fishing Trip Part I - The Journey

We started our journey at 4am in the morning on Wednesday 1st July. Zzz zzz... No choice, as we knew that if we had to drive for 8 hours straight, we rather it be in the morning when it's cooler! As planned, we had an uneventful journey and arrived at Belum Rainforest Resort on Pulau Banding, Perak at 12 noon.

Entrance of the Belum Rainforest Resort.

The room cost us RM200 per night, including breakfast. The room was big, airy and... empty. Do note that as the resort is supposedly "your gateway to nature", there is no TV or radio in the room. That's pretty ok, as it would encourage you to walk around the hotel look at the herb garden and admire the beautiful scenery! By the way, there's no bathtub in the bathroom - well, I can accept that in the name of saving water...

The mattress reminded me of a certain brand that is "as hard as wood" - but rather comfy actually!

Having unpacked and settled in pretty quickly, we decided to take a walk around the hotel. We quickly spotted a path down to the lake just outside the resort and started to try luring. We gave up after about an hour as there was absolutely no action at all!

Trying our luck below this bridge just outside the resort.

Great view, though no bites!

Mindful that we would need all our energy to fish tomorrow, we retired quite early to wake up the next day at 7am. Had our breakfast at the resort's Hornbill Restaurant where the food was so-so, but the scenery great as usual. In fact, I think the only reason the resort costs that much is because of its location and the surroundings!

You can see all the way down to the lake from the restaurant balcony.

The resort actually offers fishing packages, but as we thought we could get a better deal with the local boatmen, we decided to simply go down to the jetty and grab the first boat we see. Well, so off we went after breakfast. We reached the public jetty around 8am and looked around. There was... Gasp! No one!

Photo-taking at the jetty while waiting...

There wasn't a single soul, even the cafe at the jetty had yet to open. We waited about 10 minutes before a car turned into the jetty carpark - the owners of the cafe had appeared. Unfortunately, they didn't understand a word of English and our Malay is... Haiz... Continued waiting... We were starting to doubt our sanity in blundering our way there without making any bookings when a boat came in!

After combining words like 'pancing', 'Toman', 'satu hari' with various gestures, we managed to convey what we wanted to the boatman. He said, "Ok!" Yeah! After buying our lunch from the cafe, we set off with glee...

And we were off!

To be continued... :)

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