Fish were everywhere around the island, if you want to know the best locations, you come along with me.
Warning: For your safety, fishing was an illegal act. By law, you could go to jail and had your head shaved if you ever got caught by the island Police Task Force.
One time I almost got caught.
Fishing from Shore
The only places that we could fish from shore were the rocky areas, where water was deeper. Other than these rocky areas, we swam out about 1/2 to 1 mile into to the deeper area so we could get more fish and bigger fish. Sharks were in the area and some stingrays were 5 feet wide.
Fishing Away from Land
A better way to get more fish was to swim out to the sea. We had no boats or life vest: we were not allowed to have a boat, if so, some people would get back to the mainland for business transaction, trading or whatever.
Our life vest was 4 1-liter bottles of Coke, Pepsi, or Sprite: 2 bottles were on each side and we laid on a string. Our fishing equipment was composed of a 4 inch long tube with 4 inch diameter, which was our fishing rod. With a couple yards of fishing line, some hooks, some shiners, and 4 1-liter bottles, which was the life vest, then, we would have a very nice fishing trip. Sometimes, I brought a pack of noodles for my stomach, because, I did not want to waste 30 minutes to swim back to land for food or water.
Sometimes, I did swim back to land, started a fire, fried the fish and ate it with raw instant noodles. It was a perfect meal. Then, I swam back out again.
Anchor? My legs were constantly pushing against the water, otherwise, the tide could push me out of the fishing spot for miles. Some fish schools stayed where they were at. When the tide was low, they moved out a little bit. Otherwise, they only moved if there was a bigger fish in the area. Therefore, I spent a lot of time to scout for the fish by swimming up and down and dropped the bait down to the ocean floor to see which type of fish was present. No, we did not have the fish finder.
I spent an average of 3 or 4 hours per fishing session in the water or until the finger tips were all white. There were times I could not locate a school of fish so I had to go for individual fishes, which took longer time to get a larger quantity.
The most favorite spot for me was the northwest area, which was between the untainted beach and the northern most point. There were big fish, giant clams, sand sharks, and all kinds of fish. Plus, it was a very beautiful area. Corals were everywhere and some of them were like a housetop. There were layers and layers of hard corals. Pulau Bidong had very nice beaches, corals, and its water was crystal clear. Usually, I tried to hold breath for a long time so I could stay under the water to study the corals, fish, and enjoyed the moment.
Besides fishing, I enjoyed taking on giant clams: some of them were bigger than my head. The only way to get them was that I held breath for a long time, reserved some strength, and a half-inch thick steel to snap the clam off the rock: sometimes, it would take me up to 30 minutes to get one claim, which was stuck on the rock for so long and firm.
Eating a live giant clam was the best food while I was in the water, but, I had to squeeze all the salt water out and tried to not consume salt water: I could be hallucinated, yeah, it happened to me, because I was so thirsty, lazy, and stupid enough to drink salt water during a fishing trip. While I was fishing on a hot day for a few hours and I was so thirsty. To swim back to the land for fresh water, it would take 45 minutes and to swim back out again, it would take me longer because the tide was coming up and waves were smashing the shores. Therefore, I drank some salty water and felt a bit funny. Never drink salt water!
All Hell Broke Loose
One time, I was fishing in the water off northwest area, our beloved Police Task Force canoes came. There were 2 canoes came from the north. They sneaked on us by circling the right side of the island (from the Jetty, west side, they went south, Zone C beach, then, they headed east, Zone F beach, came up to the north, then turned south). I was about half a mile away from the land and there were people fishing further north: it was a very hot spot for big size fishes.
All hell broke loose, everyone tried to swim back to the shore to run up the mountain to hide. At first, I was able to swim back very aggressive with all the gears and fish. After a few minutes, I threw away all the fish, because they were pulling me back, then, a few minutes later, I threw away all the gears, and then, I threw away my life vest (4 1-liter bottles) and swam back to shore by hands and feet.
During the rest of the way, I was gasping for air, but, I made it to shore. I looked at my throw-away- life vest (4 1-liter bottles) like I had just lost 4 best friends. I had very hard time to buy them by selling fish and they were my investment.
I could make it to shore because I was in the south. There were some poor older fellows fishing in the north, who got caught and who knew what had happened to them in jail. The police might beat the hell out of them and shaved these guys’ head, also, they might get special treatments from the Big Brothers.
Going after the squids
The zone C beach was the most crowded beach, where everyone swam here. It had very nice corals throughout the area and its water was very clear. There was one time, I was a few hundred yards out. I saw a huge jelly fish that was a triple size me. Its tails were about 25 yards long. I got scared for the first time while in the water. There were times, I saw sharks, but they ignored me. This huge jelly could have killed me instantly.
There was no one swimming in the area between the Church and Temple, because its bottom was dark and had a lot of small black rocks: it was like a dead area. A few yards out, the sea bottom dropped very steep and it was very dark. It was very fortunate that I found a lot of squids with shelf in this area and I must say that I found them and I was the only one, who went after these squids. It was my top secret spot, which was right in front of everyone. If my secret had leaked out, there would not be any more squids left for me. I told people that I got the squids from the west side, which was the forbidden area.
One time, I was swimming behind a school of smaller size sword fish and tried to shoot them through the belly when they made a turn. Suddenly, I saw very weird animals flapping wings on the bottom of the ocean (the area between Church and Temple). Their skins matched exactly the ocean floor. Slowly, I dived down with my heart pumping very fast to examine what the heck was it. They were squids. I saw squids for the first time on the ocean floor. I approached them and tried to catch them by hand. Guess what? In seconds, they whooped away like a jet airplane. So, I tried to be patient and being stupid at the same time to try catching one of them again and whoop, it jetted to another location in a flash.
With curiosity, I went home, took my spear, which was about 5 feet long and went back to this area. As I was passing the beach, people looked at me as if I was going to kill somebody because this was a swimming area, no one fished here. Anyway, I went back the spot and tried to spear the squid on the back. Guess what? Their shelf was so thick that caused the spear to slide off.
Finally, I thought about their neck: the soft spot. So, slowly I dived down from behind, aim the spear at the neck and pinched its neck. Ting ting ting. I got my first squid and it pissed out a lot of dark ink that caused me to be very scare, because, I could not see anything and being afraid to swim further out.
So, I learned my lessons well. The next days and the following days, I was able to bring more squids home. When there was a mating season, there were always some squid couples, who were coupling. This was the best opportunity for me to nail them or a squid couple at the same time. It was so fun and they spitted out a lot of inks.
Did I say the ocean floor dropped suddenly out here? One time, I missed a squid, and it swam further out and stopped right on the edge where the ocean floor dropped and it was total darkness. I did not want to let go this squid, so I took a deep breath and dived down. I got the squid and ran out of breath. At the same time, I look out a few yards, I saw a very large figure moving in the darkness. It was bigger than me.
Damn! I though that was it. My friends from the church would say a prayer for me, tonight. Through instinct, as I was coming up, I squeezed the squid to spit out inks to cover me. I got to the top, took a deep breath again and swam backward under the water so I could see what else could come after me. Luckily, I made it to shore and since then I did not go after the squids any more and I became afraid of this dark area.
That was my last squid.