Updated: Jul 29, 2019
Ever since the day I discovered that there is a boat ramp at Lumot Lake, I have always wondered when will I finally get a chance to go camping and spend a night at the lake. I did some checking through Google Earth and explored the possibility of booking an overnight stay at one of the resorts around the lake, but the rates are somewhat a bit too expensive. What I'm after is to find an islet, drop anchor and pitch up a tent, cook dinner, enjoy a hearty meal and spend the night. Or, I can also just stay on the boat and should the anchor detach, I know for sure that I'll still be in the Philippines by day break <chuckle>.
My chance finally came when my angler friend Cyrus Capuno told me about this camping trip in Lumot Lake that he is organizing with his cousins. The plan is, to be at Lumot Lake by July 6, Saturday morning, go fishing for Largemouth Bass (LMB), have a picnic, pitch tents and spend the night at the lake. I eagerly replied "Go ako diyan!".
In my previous blog, I talked about how ecstatic I was to finally catch my very first LMB after six solid months of trying, as I finally science the shit out of it and conducted a more systematic approach in fishing. Now, in this trip, this will be my chance to gather more data, prove my findings on when LMBs are active, and add more to my experience on fishing at Lumot Lake.
I was so terribly late that first day for so many trivial reasons. I left the house 5:30AM when I was actually aiming 3:30AM. Boat was on the water around 8:30AM. It was a fine sunny day, even though July is already considered way into the rainy season here in the Philippines. The rest of the gang were already at the lake 6AM and were all out fishing on their float tubes at the Northeastern side of Lumot Lake. I called Cyrus and told him that I'll try to catch a few LMBs first before heading out to join them at the campsite. And lo and behold, just a few minutes after my first cast at the very same spot where I caught my historic first Largemouth Bass, I caught one and I got it on cam! Woohooo!!
After an hour of trying to fish for more LMBs without a single nibble, I decided to head out to look for Cyrus and the rest of the group. One by one I stumbled upon the members of the group, floating about with rods extended out in the air on their float tubes, twitching. I also saw a red kayak and later learned it was Patrick's canoe and both Patrick and Kevin were on it, looking so focused and very busy fishing. Upon finally seeing Cyrus floating about on his float tube, with two rods waiving outwards, I yelled out and asked how he was doing so far and he smiled back and showed me a couple of LMBs already bound together at the side of his DIY waterborne fishing platform. Now this guy is really a master LMB angler! He averages a dozen catch a day, minimum! Whenever he posts photos of his catch online, we always tease him that it must be his "balls", being submerged underwater whenever he uses his float tube, that attracts LMB's to him! Or maybe it's the soap he uses? We'll never know for sure. <LOL>
So after a short chat with the Largemouth Bass Master Angler Cyrus, I buzzed off and started scanning with my Lucky Fish Finder for a good spot. Upon finding an area with lots of fish icons popping on the screen, I quickly dropped anchor and started casting again... and just after a few minutes of twitching my rod and reeling in the line a feet at a time, I caught my second LMB for the day!
I spent the rest of the afternoon trying other spots but it seemed that I could not get the LMBs to bite anymore, even after trying other worm colors. In hindsight, what I should have done is switch to a Drop Shot Rig. Around 5PM I decided to call it a day and headed back to the campsite, parked my boat at the shoreline, unloaded my camping stuffs and popped open my 2-second tent, while the rest of the gang were busy preparing dinner.
The temperature started to cool down from a midday high of 33°C to around 27°C by 5PM.. then it went as far down around 24°C by dinner time and lowest of 23°C by 1AM. The forecast for that evening was clear skies, the stars were all visible and no rain. We can hear lots of cricket sounds, the kind of tranquility and ambiance you can only experience at a lakeside campsite. The best part of camping at such a place, NO ANNOYING KARAOKE! NADA! Don’t get me wrong, karaoke is a wonderful invention, but in the wrong hands, it’s such a pain to hear people with zero singing talent belt out simultaneously all throughout the night! So dreadful!
At the center of the campsite were four 4-inch thick bamboo poles, forming the corner stands of the dining area 10 feet x 10 feet wide. They had a canvas suspended and tied at the tip of these bamboo poles to form a roof covering. LED light strips were dangling across the ceiling of the makeshift cover, powered by a gel-type battery brought by Cyrus's brother, Cen. The LED lights were left switched-on the whole night which kept the whole camping area lit. I brought a portable generator with me but we ended up not using it to preserve the peaceful ambiance of wilderness lakeside camping. In fact, I brought so much camping and camera stuffs which I ended up not using. Remember, when camping, just bring the barest of bare essentials. No need to pack so much stuffs. Believe me, if you find setting up camp difficult, packing up is three times more difficult!
Dinner time was around 8PM. We had a hearty meal comprised of Nilagang Baboy, fried largemouth bass, enseladang itlog na pula and plain rice. I super enjoyed the soup of the pork stew with so much veggies! And the ensalada, it was to die for! It really complemented the pork stew and fried bass so much! It is made up of itlog na pula (salted eggs) with onions and tomatoes and mixed in mayonnaise.
After dinner, some had coffee, some took turns taking shots of brandy. I was able to hang out a bit for maybe another half hour and shared some funny stories before I decided to call it a day and retired into my tent. I gazed at the stars for a bit, amazed with how clear the sky was that night and then went to sleep. I really felt so much at home with these guys. They were all snoring with great gusto! The night was a symphony of all sorts of farting and snoring sounds, all done NOT in grace, but in such great abandon! Without efing care! It was so hilarious and such a liberating experience! <LOL>
Come Sunday morning, around 5AM, Cyrus was already awake! I can hear him already out of his tent, while everyone was still in Cloud 9, the concierto of sounds was still on <LOL>. Cyrus was pushing everyone to wake-up and go start fishing while he prepares breakfast. I felt the urge to poop, so I told them that I'll be taking my boat back to the boat ramp and use the barangay's toilet. Upon reaching the barangay hall, one of the tanods was so kind enough to lead me to the toilet found across the road, at the back of the tricycle terminal and unlock the door. I was surpised to find out a not so bad toilet, no mosquitos, no foul stench, with modern toilet seat /water closet, a bucket full of water with a dipper, a working faucet and white tarpaulin on the floor. The white tarp on the floor, which looked like an old poster used for a campaign of some politician in the recently held barangay elections, was repurposed now to cover the flooring of the toilet to keep things neat. So after pooping and flushing the mother load, I then closed the toilet seat and took a bath. Emerging fresh out of the toilet, I thanked the tanod and went back to my boat.
I got stuck for an hour at the boat ramp area. The outboard engine wouldn't start and it smelled like there's a fuel leak coming out of the engine. After checking the fuel line connections for any leaks, I found none and realized that I over primed the fuel system and flooded the carburetor. The outboard engine I have is a Mercury two-stroke 90hp. The solution was to keep starting /turning the engine to get the fuel out of the carb, but not to crank the engine continuously. Two to three 5-second cranks and then pause for a few minutes before trying again. This will help prevent the Motolite 3SM battery, that I have on board, from depleting beyond recovery. After an hour of trying, around 7AM, the outboard engine finally started. Phew! Lesson learned: never use the choke button ever again! Just try a few more cranks if unsuccessful the first try.
Arriving back at the campsite everyone was already done having breakfast and they were all preparing to go out fishing. I parked the boat and took my time enjoying breakfast comprised of scrambled eggs, hot dogs, Spam Tucino and fried rice while the rest went out fishing. After breakfast, I brought two of Cyrus Cousins with me, Kevin and Cydney to check out other spots around the lake. Fish icons were all visible on my fish finder but not a single fish took the bait. So after going through all my usual spots, we decided to head southwards. We fished for a while close to shore and when we were about to head back to the campsite for lunch, Cydney caught a big LMB! What a catch!
Back at the camp, around 11:30AM, as lunch was being prepared, someone suggested we buy ice, soda and a 5-gallon mineral water. So off we went on my speedboat back to the boat ramp area, with Patrick, Kevin, and his brother Mervin. It was just a quick ride going back to the boat ramp since it is just 3 km away, about 5 minutes with an average speed of 20 mph. On our way to and from the boat ramp, I let the guys take turns driving the boat. They all had a blast, laughing out loud, on a speedboat full of hecklers! <LOL>
Here's a short video clip of Patrick driving the speedboat... Yes! Driving my speedboat has this effect on people! :D
2PM, Mang Amir finally arrived at the camp site with his pump boat, to transport the group and all their camping equipment back to the boat ramp. Patrick went ahead on his canoe, while the rest were still busy loading stuffs. After loading all our camping equipment, I did a once over at the camp area to make sure we did not leave anything and it is clear of trash. I was last to leave the campsite and second to arrive at the boat ramp.
At around 3:30PM it started to rain hard. The pump boat was still minutes away out. Patrick's motorized canoe was already parked at the shoreline near the boat ramp and he was able to get all his stuffs loaded already into his SUV. Patrick was just waiting for the rest of the gang to arrive to help him get his kayak on top of his vehicle. Since it was raining so hard, I took the opportunity to clean the boat and remove mud at the rear step boards.
When the pump boat arrived carrying the rest of the team, they all started moving stuffs to their cars and assisted Patrick first in getting his kayak loaded on top of his SUV. I just waited for my turn for assistance to get the boat back to the trailer. At this point we were all drenched in rain water. When we finally got my speedboat out of the water, I decided to linger for a bit longer at the parking area and took my time setting up the trailer's tail lights and side markers. Even though my boat trailer's tail lights are rated waterproof, I still remove them prior to launching the boat. To make this easy, I use an industrial type velcro to attach the tail lights and bullet connectors for the wires. I was assisted by a Barangay Lumot local named Topher. After bidding goodbyes to Cyrus, Patrick and the rest of the gang and agreeing that we should do this again soon, they all went ahead.
And finally, at around 4:30PM, it stopped raining. I rested a bit and changed to dry clothes. I paid the barangay Php200 for overnight parking, gave tips to those who assisted me and at about 5PM, I was headed back home.
My takeaways from this camping trip:
1. Battery powered electric fan and 12v LED lights - so there won't be a need anymore for the portable generator. Found some portable electric fans that are powerbank rechargeable / AAA battery powered. Maybe two e-fans will do the trick per tent?
2. Pack light. Only bring barest essentials. If you can carry all your stuffs in one big backpack, the better.
3. On your way home from Lumot Lake, avoid passing through Los Baños crossing and the whole stretch of Pansol between 6PM - 8PM rush hour weekend. It would be much more of a pleasant drive with a trailer boat in tow if you pass through this route much later. What I usually do is have dinner first, like Shakey's, Lucidel's or at Lugaw Queen along the National Road prior to reaching Los Baños. Forget about Itlog ni Kuya.. they always close early. So frustrating!
4. If you could not catch anymore bass with a Carolina Rig, switch to Drop Shot Rig /Paternoster Rig with the weights at the end of the leader line and 18 inches to about 3 feet away from the hook. This will help catch fishes that are hovering way above the Lakebed.