Monday, November 19, 2012
Haruan Hunter Adventures
I was more dehydrated than a dog in a fire hydrant factory. The long walk through the semi arid desert augmented with a dash of tropical humidity had reduced my water reserves to nil. Soon, calls of nature will definitely go to my drinking bottle. Overhead, vultures were circling probably waiting for me to drop dead and have their chance to squabble over human jerky.
A grim scenario and probably worth the consequences if there were fish in the abandoned ponds rumored to be found in the area.
Reality was I was overweight, unfit from the comfy couch at home and had hiked 200 meters through cogon grass in the middle of the day. The high flying vultures turned into pesky flies hoping I’d collapse and turn into a putrid mass they could dine on.
Thick aroma (thorny shrubs) replaced the sawtooth grass. They reached out and snagged as much clothing and flesh as they could hoping to stop my progress. I pressed on a faint familiar smell was in the air and was exciting!
I stumbled over a rock falling to my knees a nice round carabao pat inches from my face. No, this wasn’t the smell I was excited about. I looked up and through the thick tangle of thorns on my left I saw the pond. It was shallow with clear stretches of water interspersed with thick green islands of grass. This was where that sweet odor of haruan emanated from.
The thorns tried for one last time to stop me but after trading some flesh and cloth for safe passage I finally reached the pond.
There’s no greater excitement than being the first angler to cast his lure on strange waters. The thought of plunging your shaft into dark untouched waters brings on primal urges that have driven many men from the realm of sanity ( A different subject matter entirely but one I couldn’t resist adding, sorry).
My shaking fingers tie on the imitation frog. Judging from the terrain and the high possibility of submarine sized denizens in the water, this lure had as much chance coming back into the hangar as a kamikaze pilot.
I cast to an island of grass near the middle of the pond and slowly pulled the frog into the water. Barely had it touched the surface when the water humped beneath it and exploded sending the hapless rubber imitation flying through the air. It landed near the center of the clearing.
The same hump that had sent it airborne was bearing down on it sending waves to the grass islands around as a mud trail followed ( the old movie JAWS came to mind). I reeled in the slack and attempted to retrieve the lure (panic at the thought of being eaten had overcome me), barely had the frog started kicking when it was engulfed by the hump. The lure disappeared. Reflexively, I reeled tight and set.
There was a moment in vacuum, a brief pause, then pandemonium. The water exploded ! The hump transformed into a huge haruan angry at the bite of his prey. Tables turned in an instant. The tranquil clear water turned into a living brown, muddy mass heaving with each surge of the angry fish. Again it took to the air landing on the grass island and for a moment I was fighting fish on dry land a truly unique experience in the annals of fishing.
The haruan slithered back into the water. The moment it’s caudal fin found purchase it went full bore ramming its length deep into the mud. I raised my rod tip, the slender but strong carbon shaft went to work force against opposing force. My thumb was clamped down on the spool preventing the fish from gaining the much needed inches for it to find leverage in the thick mud a trick these fish use to break off or bend hooks.
Again it went to the air, somersaulting and head shaking unable to rid itself of the leash. Finally, it succumbed and I lead it in. A good 2 kilos of muscled fish lay at my feet-spent but not done. I unhooked it and stepped back. The fish turned around and walked back into the water slapping its tail hard as it reentered its domain.
I wiped the smelly mud off my face, the victor turned vanquished.