First Snakehead

First Snakehead

George Drew | Saturday, 17 June 2023

In July last year my mate Declan and I decided to make a trip over to Malaysia with Paul and Ashly. We packed our backpacks and made the flights over. Tassie to Melbourne to Singapore, and finally to Penang. We found Paul at the airport. (It would have been hard to miss him, the only fella in Malaysia with a beard and dreads). We got to the car, didn’t even have enough time to get our pack off and were met with a beer. We were in for a good trip!! We made a few stops, then on the road to Gerik. Some good driving by Paul we dodged the other crazy drivers and made it safe to his place. Made one more stop for food and we were on our way to the Battleship. We got to the shore and had to take our gear down some of the dodgiest stairs to Paul’s tinny. Loaded up, we putted across to the battle ship. Nearly taking on water, the Ronan (Paul’s tinny) was so full! We unpacked, set up our hammocks, had some dinner and told a few stories.

The next morning we were keen ready to fish, not really knowing what we were in for. We both jumped on Paul’s tinny and started looking for snakehead straight away, we saw some small bait that fooled Declan and I. It wasn’t long after that, that we saw our first set of babies. Too bad we ran right over the top of them. Paul played it off and gave the fish a few minutes and we found them again, they weren’t spooked!! Declan and I rocked off quickly for the shot. I won! I was already shaking like I’ve never shook before, seeing these two nice snakehead and their babies rise in front of us, I was so pumped full of adrenaline and excitement that I completely fell apart. I could barely pick my line up off the water. A couple of shots went in but nothing good enough to get an eat. That was all the shots I had for the first day. We made it back to the battle ship, Declan and I the most sun burnt we’ve ever been. Feeling so determined to get the shot in at the next opportunity, we both were practicing out shots again and again.


The next day we moved the battleship down the lake, it took us most of the morning to get where we wanted to base ourselves. This day was the day we started to fish apart, I was out on my own. It was so good checking out the lake, I was loving having a boat to myself. I came across a small bay with a few free risers in it, I thought I was in for sure. I drove in with the electric and got ready. I put a few shots into different fish but no luck again, eventually spooking all of them.


The next morning I was with Paul and we put in a good morning effort, but I can't really remember it too well. I do remember the arvo real well though, Declan and I swapped. So I was by myself again fishing and he was off with Paul. Another fishless day for me I came back to the battleship to meet Declan and Paul with two big smiles!! “ You’ll never guess what happened” was the first words that came out of Declan’s mouth. We were both ecstatic so happy!! But I was feeling under the pump I needed to catch one more than ever now! We all had a great night that night. A few more beers were drunk after that


This morning had to be the morning I was desperate for a fish, I jumped straight on the boat with Paul and off fishing. We decided to fish one of the island on the lake and went into deep bay. As soon as we went into the bay Paul saw some babies, they were moving quickly and very frequently. They were big babies and had lost their orange colour. Paul turned off the outboard and moved us up with the electric, we saw them moving up the bank and got into the next likely spot they would rise. Both parents rose and I put the shot in it wasn’t right and landed in the babies. Paul said not to pop it and we might have another shot. The fish kept moving around the shore and went into a fallen tree at the back of the bay, they stayed there for a while then finally moved out. There was a sandy bit of bottom where the fish were headed, Paul said to put my popper out and wait till you see the fish and pop it. The plan worked perfectly the fish swam over the patch of sand and we could see the all of them, I gave it one pop and one of the parents was onto it. Engulfing the popper, the loudest boof over ever heard from a fish!! The fight was on, I was giving this fish nothing, I couldn’t let Declan be in front for another day. It was the most intense fight I’ve ever had, I can't believe how strong it was! Got the fish to the boat and Paul netted it! We were both that excited, couldn’t believe it happened. We took a few photos and released it back to its babies, we couldn’t crack a beer soon enough. I was on cloud nine for the rest of the day!!