|Different Ways of Fishing for "BULAN-BULAN"|
|Written by Kenny Val U. Ong|
|Saturday, 27 October 2007|
Before I divulge the different ways of fishing for the high and mighty Indo-Pacific ox-eyed tarpon or locally known in our area as "bulan-bulan", let me first share details of this highly prized gamefish.
The Indo-Pacific Tarpon or Ox-eyed Tarpon (Megalops Cyprinoides) inhabits tropical coastal and brackish waters of the Indo-Pacific Oceans. The largest confirmed specimen is an adult 1.5m long 18kg fish. The fish is smaller than the Atlantic Tarpon but with the same mouth turned upwards and with a lower jaw containing an elongated bony plate. The Indo-Pacific Tarpon mainly feeds on smaller fish and crustaceans. In parts of Southeast Asia, the Indo-Pacific tarpon inhabits both freshwater and saltwater and it is not a surprise to find some mingling with bangus in inland ponds in our locality. However, the freshwater species tend to be smaller, usually over 50cm in size. The saltwater variety may grow to over a meter in size.
Here in Dipolog City, the bulan-bulan is usually found at the Dipolog City Receational Fishing Area (our own version of the Bedok Jetty of Singapore), which happens to be situated right beside the estuary of the Dipolog River. Here, bulan-bulan fishing is best during the months of June 'til September when these gamefish conregrate in good numbers at the estuary to feed. They are easily spotted during dawn or dusk when they are constantly breaking the water's surface with their high dorsal fins. These behavior makes the bulan bulan a delight for anglers relying on accurate sight casting.
My usual gear for bulan bulan fishing is a light tackle outfit. My favorite is the Lemax President one piece light medium action 6'6" ROd coupled with a Tica Taurus 2500 Reel spooled with a 10 pound test Sufix braid. Attached at the end of the braid is either the Winner Pop Tiger (Popper) 90 or the Strike Pro Sea Monster 90 popper with all treble hooks removed. Then I tie a Sufix flourocarbon leader (8 to 10 pund) to the popper's front and tie a Goodcatch Wiggler (preferably orange) at the othe end of the flourocarbon leader. By the way, the leaders length must be at least one arm's length.
This type of outfit and method of fishing is deadly on bulan-bulan. Usually the fish are attracted to the popper's commotion on the water's surface and sees what it thoughts to be a defenseless and easy morsel trailing behind the popper. Once the fish takes the wiggler, set the hook well so it will insure a good hook-up since these bulan-bulan have tough bony jaws. The blan-bulan is a joy and a thrill on light tackle as these fish can put up a really good fight and their aerial acrobatics when hooked never cease to amaze the angler. No wonder my angler clients keep going back to my tackle shop and buy what I have pioneered a year ago in Dipolog City.
Another method of fishing for bulan-bulan is float fishing using live bait, preferably the humpback shrimp usually found along the Riverbanks. With these type of fishing, accurate casting is a must to schools of conregating bulan-bulan feeding at the estuary. Light tackle is still preferred but No. 6 or No. 4 O'shaughnessy or beak hooks are a must when using live bait. The only disadvantage of float fishing is that it is static and the angler must contend with the current of the river.
On an average day, I can manage an average of two to four bulan-bulan out of an average ten strikes. Somehow, these aggressive game fish always manage to unhook themselves by constantly leaping out of the water and performing aerial acrobats. I have already experienced many hook-ups with really serious action when my rods get really bent and reels screaming to the delight of fellow anglers and on-lookers. However, the fishing technique which I introduced (deadly on talakitok too) and pioneered in Dipolog seems to have made an impact on the bulan-bulan population at the Recreational Fishing Area. With ore and more anglers seeking the thrill of a bulan-bulan fight,we have banded together to conserve the local tarpon population by agreeing on catch and release practices and observing the two fish bag limi. But , still some greedy anglers still manage to catch more than the two bag limit and haul off many fish. According to the Wikipedia on the internet, the the resiliency of the Indo-Pacific Tarpon is around 1.4 years, meaning that this prized gamefish can recover its population around that that period after some exploitation. Although edible, the bulan-bulan has little commercial VALUE and is considered a garbage fish in some countries.
Sportfishing / Recreational fishing is still an infant recreational activity in Dipolog City but has grown by leaps and bounds over the past year. It is now part of the City's tourism program to encourage more people to enjoy the great outdoors. Hopefully, in the near future, everybody will join in helping conserve our marine resources through proper education and applying non-destructive fishing methods. More articels to come especially on asuhos fishing in the next issue.
Fish : Indo-Pacific Tarpon or Ox-eye, Megalops Cyprincides
Habitat : Tropical Coastal and brackish waters of the Indo-Pacific Oceans
Size : Adult length 1.5 and may weight up to 18kg
Mouth turned upwards, lower jaw with containing an elongated bony plate
Food : smaller fish and crustaceans
* Many live in freshwater and saltwater
* Freshwater species tend to be smaller, over 50cm in size
Saltwater may grow to a meter
submitted by :
Kenny Val U. Ong
Kenny's Tackle Shop
Gen. Luna St. cor. Arellaño St.
Dipolog City, Zamboanga Del Norte
|Last Updated ( Saturday, 27 October 2007 )|
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