A Proton X70 in your armoury, with patin the quarry

I always harboured some kind of aversion to the sport of angling – regarding the men at the end of the rod as prey, at the mercy of the wily fish who are actually the real predators in this unequal game of cat and mouse!

The chance to actually grip a rod, handle a spinning reel, and cast a baited line however, came my way recently and I succumbed to the lure – yes, I had to pull that pun; of a combination of car – the Proton X70 SUV, and the chance to check out a newly-opened fishing pond in Hulu Langat, Selangor.

Proton’s X70 is hardly a new Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV), having been first introduced as a fully-imported, rebadged Geely Boyue way back in 2018.

Within two years, the CKD (completely knocked down) model made its appearance – built and assembled in the Tanjung Malim Proton plant, and came with upgraded specifications.

It came with a refined 1.8 litre turbocharged direct injection (TGDi) petrol engine, fitted with a new dual wet clutch (appropriate since we are heading for a watery pond and maybe expose ourselves to a dunking, should we be less than fleet-footed). This new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (7-DCT) replaces the six-speed automatic transmission (6AT).

Why is this engine central to this fishy story? For a start, the location of my angling expedition was in the rather rural setting of Sungai Tekali in Hulu Langat.

Called Kolam Pancing Santai Sungai Tekali, it is not too far away – just 30km from the heart of Kuala Lumpur.

But the route, though gently meandering, is still quietly demanding, with a combination of hectic city roads, highways combo, including the multi-tiered SUKE (Sungai Besi-Ulu Kelang highway) section suspended high in the sky. There are also plenty of snakey bends in the hilly parts that are de rigueur for the district of Hulu Langat.

So, the journey is half the fun – the other being the moment the well-sign-posted, metalled, and Public Works Department-maintained roads ended, and the route became decidedly narrow, rutted, with unruly vegetation barring a smooth passage forward.

So, after putting the X70 through its paces, we arrived at our intended destination to see anglers busy – waiting, as is the wont of all men – and women; with rod and line waiting for that tug from a hungry fish.

We were greeted by owner-operator Ahmad Aimi Ali, formerly of Gas Malaysia, whose post-retirement pastime has more to do with patin, rather than petroleum.

Most days nowadays, he can be found at the pond, where he modestly calls himself a post-retirement entrepreneur.

The pond is situated on a one-hectare piece of land, dominated by a well-stocked pond, whose ‘V-shaped’ submerged profile gives it a maximum depth of 3 metres (which he discovered when it was drained once, before he took over operations). The depth notification is important, since you need to be able to swim, should you slip into the pond when battling to land a skittish fish struggling to get away.

What draws the determined angler(s) to distraction is the rohu and patin – both freshwater fish that make for good eating, but are an acquired taste for some.

According to Aimi, the competition is quite loaded in the anglers’ favour, as the pond re-stocks its quarry fishes weekly.

I came with my newly-acquired rod and line but Aimi took one look at my miserly ‘armoury’ and promptly took matters into his own hands.

He ‘fished’ out his own beginner rod and line, attached bait to hook, and showed me how to handle the spinning reel, neatly tossing the hooked line right in the middle of the pond.

All that is left to do was to wait – and wait, and wait.

In the end, neither godot nor patin nor rohu took the bait – and my patience lasted just under three hours. But guess what, I had a ‘whale’ of a time – never mind the fish in the pond ain’t bitin’.

All that was left, was to pack up and head back to the city, which was a challenge in itself, as this was the start of the end-of-year rains.

We escaped the worst of wet weather, although the skies were chucking down a deluge in buckets. Riding quite high in the X70 gave us a sense of command and control of whatever the wet road conditions challenged us.

We got back safely even as the heavy rains refused to let up. Wild weather it may have been, and wily fish the rohu and patin may have been, thanks to the X70, I have swallowed the bait.

Fish – I am coming back having had my appetite w(h)et(ted), determined to hook one for the dinner table next time!

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