The Toman that Made my Day

I perfectly remember the time I got to kiss a girl after my first date just as well as I remember the time I landed this fish. It was a calm and hot sunny day, meaning that barometric pressure was high. My friend and I were going after toman (Channa micropeltes) just before the spawning season. That morning every toman in the lake rising to the surface would dive down so quickly that we could not manage to place any of our lures in the striking zone for several hours. We ended up with zero catches till noon.

A good midday break is kind of a “compulsory” daily routine if you have a fishing trip in Malaysia, so I chose to have a good short nap after lunch. Later on, when we launched our boat in the afternoon, wind had started to pick up. We decided to fish inside the bays of the lake in order to be shielded from the wind and, allowing us to sight fish over clear water.

We eventually end into a bay with two groups of toman fry ball, the boat positioned near dead trees. I choose to use my old but proven heavy duty spinner bait and make few casts. I notice a rise to my left while retrieving, so I quickly make a cast over it and let the bait sink to the bottom. With only few inches of line retrieved into my reel, I feel a heavy pull from the other end. Yes! My 30 pound rod fully bent to one of the most powerful toman I have ever encounter. Every time I gain some line the fish would pull out just as much and sprint toward the structure.

The fish makes it into that structure twice during the fight, I am forced to hand my leader to the boatman for few gentle pulls or otherwise the fish may die stuck down there. Thanks to lady luck, after a few pulls the fish comes into the net, perfectly hooked at the corner of the mouth. This was a very special fish for me as it was the first nice toman I caught in lakes and ponds I had fished for my entire childhood.