POLE fishing can be exciting and a therapeutic activity for anglers and non-anglers.
It is not a difficult hobby to engage in and no special skills are required.
All one needs is a pole rod, monofilament lines, small hooks and pellet sinkers, which is optional.
In general, pole fishing, which comes either as a single-piece rod, two pieces or retractable, is good to catch freshwater species and popular along the banks of any waterways, small ponds or even a lake where the water is stagnant.
It is not ideal for river fishing, unless there is no current.
As for the bait, the all-time favourite is either earthworms or live crickets.
To handle earthworms, one has to have the guts to handle the slithery creature and to insert it into a hook.
Setting up a pole rod is easy. Just secure a long monofilament line, about two to three metres, to the tip of the rod with a simple knot and a hook to the other end.
One can also use a pellet clip-on sinker to the line, nearer to the hook, to sink the line.
Well, depending on the type of fish targeted, pole rod can handle fish as small as two inches long to big ones that are about 2kg to 3kg without having to worry about how to fight and reel them in.
Of course for the bigger fish, like haruan or keli, one needs to have a stronger line tied to the pole. A 9kg to 13.6kg line is recommended.
But for small species such as the puyu or betok, as it is known locally, or sepat siam, a 0.9kg to 1.8kg line would be sufficient.
Pole fishing is therapeutic, said Ridzuan Troy, a beginner in this type of fishing.
In fact, during the recent long holidays, he and his family, all non-anglers, went on a two-day fishing trip next to a padi field and canal in Wang Ulu, Perlis, to get away from the madding crowd.
To everyone’s surprise, Khadijah Puteh, Troy’s wife, who had never fished before, outdid everyone during the trip.
She landed five puyu, two haruan and one lampam jawa during the outing.
For me, the pole fishing stirred my interest to become a serious angler.
Troy’s fishing outing brought back many old memories for me.
As a child, about eight years old or so, I was already fishing the puyu and sepat siam with a homemade bamboo rod next to the padi field near my home.
Both species are delicious.
The puyu, which has plenty of flesh and less bones, is used to make masak lemak cili api.
Similarly, sepat siam can also be fried with the chilli paste or known as goreng berlada among the Malays.
The sepat siam, especially the bigger ones, are also made into salted fish.
My secret in successful puyu and sepat siam fishing lies in the specially mixed bait of weaver ants’ eggs with fresh rubber tree latex.
The latex is to bind the ants’ eggs.
The puyu or sepat siam simply love this bait.
It is one of the most effective known baits for these two species of fish among local anglers.
This traditional bait is still being used today, but it is difficult to come by these days.
Pole fishing is indeed a good training exercise for any would-be angler.
It teaches basic fishing – to be sensitive when the fish nibbles and to know the precise time to strike – in order to land a catch.
If one can master the stroke and technique, successfully bagging their catch with a pole rod, then they are set for bigger game.
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