We finally head off, sunset in the background a la Western and everything with our breaths smelling of Japanese rice wine.
Not long after, our small little fishing boat taxied smack in the middle of the bay under the starry night sky with the city lights flickering away in the distance. The four of us geared up our rods under the instruction of our guide, Tor.
“We will be squid fishing now,” he said. We all grabbed our rods and looked at eachother before drawing the same blank looks on our faces. Not one of us have had any squid fishing experience. The rods and reel were both mine but attached to our lines some very basic looking squid lures. These lures were just short little cylinders around the diameter of a pencil with some spikes attached to the end that pointed upwards.
“Um… how do we do this?” I asked him.
“Just drop them into the bottom of the sea and then reel them up a little from the ocean floor. When you feel something heavy just reel up the squid”.
Tor then extended a long pole from the roof of his boat. On the pole were some lightbulbs the size of Nerf footballs to attract the plankton, which then attracts the krill, which finally attracts the squid. Complete lifecycle abuse in the making.
It seemed easy but the four of us struggled for over an hour before our first catch while we saw Tor putting in a squid into the livewell every two minutes. Then all the sudden Suchote gets his first nibble and lands his first squid. The alien-like creature cam out of the water fluttering the flaps on its side as it squirted ink and water in every direction.
Soon enough the rest of us started getting the hang of it. Tor would also occasionally dim the lights to pressure the squids to surface, how this works I have no idea but the man would bring out his net and catch the surfacing cephalopods by the bucket load. By the end of the night we’ve collected over 40 squids to become live bait for tomorrow’s fishing and tonight’s sashimi.
40 something squids, a plate of sashimi and a few drinks of sake later my three friends made their way to the cozy little bedroom while I continue to practice my squidding skills. Now I had four rods to play with as my friends slumbered away in their cozy conforts.
I soon hit the hay after a few hours. With no space left I slept in the captain’s quarters which, unappropriately is just a small wooden cabin with no mattress.
By 4am we relocated to a different area due east to start fishing. With some heavier rods set up by Tor we send some live squids back into the water with some hooks through them.
Not long after we begin landing some fishes: two stingrays, a young barracuda and a random puffer fish.
After the sun rose Tor moved us even further Eastbound. “This is where the big ones are” he told us. The currents here were strong and anything surviving in the area would have to be some seriously tough fish.
Soon enough, at a cost of some live squids here and there, we started landing the “big ones”: a trevally and about 15 yellow queenfishes (ปลาสละ “plaa sala”) all weighing anywhere between 4-8kgs.
Thanks to a little bit of practice after watching some how-to videos on youtube, breakfast was queenfish sashimi and sake. Lunch was also queenfish sashimi and sake.
By around 4-5pm we got back to land. I had a serious hangover that was quickly fixed with the help of three paracetamols.
We filleted the majority of the queenfish to bring back home in our cooler ice cooler. There really was a crapload of fish to bring back so we gave three of the fishes away to Tor.
We finished the day off with a McDonald’s triple cheese burger, the most un-sashimi thing we could find on the long drive back to Bangkok.
So long Bang Saray, see you next time.
Thank you for reading,