Singapore Sister (18-20.01.18)


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NEFFP – Wife’s Chao Phraya Catfish Day (12.01.18)

2018 – The start of a new year, a new dawn ….. And hopefully some great fishing …!!

To kick things off, a visit with wifey to the NEFFP in Behrang to target some large Chao Phraya Catfish in the rain …!

The wife started proceedings with a large Amazon Redtail, within 15 minutes of us starting:

Amazon Redtail Catfish #1

Followed, after a 45 minute break (in which I got my leader broken off by a large fish) with a big Chao Phraya Catfish, her first ever:

Fighting Chao Phraya Catfish #1

Chao Phraya Catfish #1 on the bank

Chao Phraya Catfish #1

Shortly thereafter I got my first runs on the board, with a series of Amazon Retail’s, punctuated with another break-off, a pulled hook and a couple of missed strikes between us:

Amazon Redtail Catfish #2

Fighting Amazon Redtail #3

Amazon Redtail #3, c.15 kg

The bite had slowed a little, and Mako made her way to the end of the pier to try fishing lampam live-bait, now that the rain had stopped. It wasn’t long before I heard her shout and saw her struggling with a big fish that she eventually landed, an Amazon Redtail probably approaching 20 kg:

Amazon Redtail Catfish #4, c. 20 kg

Even before she’d landed this fish I had to run back to my rod to engage yet another large predator, another Amazon Redtail:

Amazon Redtail #5

We were now in a duel, me soaking dead-baits against the wall trying for Chao Phraya Cats, the wife free-lining live-baits for whatever bit. We went toe-to-toe, landing consecutive fish. She was first up with an Asian Redtail Catfish (there predatory catfish love live-bait):

Asian Redtail Catfish #1

But my patience paid off – I was rewarded with a hard fighting Chao Cat:

Chao Phraya Catfish #2

Wifey followed up with another Asian Redtail (this is one of the risks with fishing live-bait …. too many Asian Catfish):

Asian Redtail Catfish #2

They were definitely on the hunt as dusk approached and descended into evening darkness, as I picked up a brace in quick succession:

Asian Redtail Catfish #3

Asian Redtail Catfish #4

But then wifey pulled a rabbit out of the hat, hooking a huge and aggressive fish on her last live-bait. It took her all of her strength and will to bring this fish to the net. The fish of the evening, a large Chao Phraya Catfish approaching the 20 kg mark:

Struggling to subdue the unseen adversary …!

Chao Phraya Catfish #3

I had one last chance, with a huge strike right at the close of the session, but unfortunately pulled the hook after a few minutes battle with what felt like yet another Chao Phraya.

The final scores were:

2 Chao Phraya, 2 Amazon Redtail and 2 Asian Redtail Catfish for the wife and 3 Amazon, 2 Asian and one Chao Phraya Catfish for me. A very enjoyable and productive Friday afternoon – early evening session.

Posted in (1) Malaysia, (1.15) Natural Exotic Fishing Pond - Behrang, Catfish, Catfish - Amazon Redtail, Catfish - Asian Redtail, Catfish - Chao Phraya | 2 Comments

Tokyo (24.12.17 – 07.01.18)


Tokyo Mt. Fuji sunset (27.12.17)

Otoro sushi, Midori Sushi (30.12.17)

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NEFFP – Amazonians (22.12.17)

My first time to wet a line in almost 2 months ….!

I met up with Noru at the NEFFP in Behrang for the final fishing session of the 2017. I arrived a little late, and Noru was landing his first fish as I arrived and his second just after I commenced fishing. He had 3 on the board before I got my first fish, a personal best Amazon Redtail Catfish pushing 20 kgs, a good scrap on light spin gear and 30lb test – I though it was going to be a Chao Phraya Cat given the intensity of the fight:

Amazon Redtail Catfish c.20 kg

After Noru’s initial flurry of fish the bite slowed and the heavens opened in a short, but intense rainstorm:

Rainstorm approaching

After the storm the bite sprang into life just before 6 pm, with a rapid succession of stikes. I got my second fish of the session, another good sized Amazon bringing our combined total to 5 landed:

Amazon Redtail #5

Noru had some new toys to try out – a Shimano Stella 08 SW8000PG and a custom Kraffmen popping rod, which he duly put to test:

Amazon Redtail #6

Noru with Amazon Redtail #7 and the new toys

The skies were still brooding, the clouds engulfing the distant mountains looking like a smoldering volcano:

View east from the NEFFP

Brooding, ominous skies

The bites came in flurries, and we both missed bites and lost fish. I, in particular, lost a number of fish, including the only Chao Phraya of the day that took a prawn bait. I had the leader on the reel and the fish near the bank. I was making the characteristic late-stage runs when it managed to break the 50lb hook-length off at the swivel – I suspect it got wrapped around the leader during casting (the prawn bait was spinning during casting) causing a cut-through.

After another lull the bite started to pick up again at dusk. Noru got his 7th fish, for #9 of the session to close out his ticket:

Noru with Amazon Redtail #9

Noru then waited as I finished off my session. He put out one last cast on my 30lb outfit as I waited for a strike on my heavier rig. As my session counted down, the light rig was hit and I had a final tussle with another decent sized Amazon, a fish in the 15 kg+ range:

Amazon Redtail #10, 15 kg+

Amazonian ……

This was the last fish of the session. Noru had put 7 on the bank and I’d landed 3 Amazon Redtail Catfish, including a personal best for me. Noru had got to give his new tackle a good test. A very pleasant Friday afternoon!

Posted in (1) Malaysia, (1.15) Natural Exotic Fishing Pond - Behrang, Catfish, Catfish - Amazon Redtail | 3 Comments

Fishing Videos – the current catalogue (16.11.17)

The good, the bad and the ugly …..

My full fishing videos – the full catalogue.  From my early, crude attempts to my more recent, “slick” productions complete with cool music soundtracks … :-). But definitely some decent fish.

Posted in (1) Malaysia, (2) Oman, (3) South Africa, (4) Japan, Fishing Miscellaneous | Leave a comment

Kuala Rompin – 96 not out! (28-29.10.17)

This was my forth visit to Kuala Rompin this year (including a 5 day mega-trip in August), and my third trip to target sailfish. I was chasing a personal target of 100 billfish and 100 sailfish, and was vainly hoping to achieve this target within 10 calendar years – I first fished here on 27-28th October 2007 and have been fishing here a couple of weekends a year ever since. However, in the past few years the fishing has been a bit erratic, with poor fishing during traditionally good times of the year and sometimes exceptionally good fishing in normally slow times (see my blog entry from June this year here):

Anyway, I needed 7 billfish for my 100 and 8 for 100 sailfish (I’d caught a single black marlin here during one of my early trips back in 2008 ….). I new it was a tough target so was not too confident or concerned about it, particularly as I was fishing with two other people, Jochen and Julian, so it would require an exceptional catch of around 20 sailfish for the weekend for me to get the required numbers as part of my share (not an impossible target but certainly a stretch target!). But the real reason was to chill and enjoy good company and fishing.

We arrived early Friday evening, as per usual, and caught up on the fishing news over cold beers and local food. I had my favoured fried tenggiri, chips and salad. The fishing, which had been good, had tailed off in the week, with typical numbers falling from 6-10 to around 3-4 per day. So, with expectations curtailed, and a few more beers, it was time to retire and be fresh for the following day.

Day 1 (28.10.17)

The day followed the usual routine – stop and FADs to gather bait and then search for signs of sailfish activity. Bait was easy, mainly tamban, but with a smattering of selar (scad) and various small mackerel species. The first stop was at Tok Rahmat, but the water was green and there was very little sign of activity. We decided, after a hour of zero activity, to head further offshore to Pulau Berhala. As soon as we arrived it was clear that the sailfish were about – birds were around in numbers, chasing schools of tonggol (bonito) or moving around with intent anticipating feeding opportunities. We then saw sailfish actively feeding at the surface, and positioned the boat for a drift, and put out two baits on casting rods. Jochen went to the bow and commenced popping.

Almost immediately we got a take, Anthony set the hook and Juliana stepped up to fight the fish, only for the hook to pull about 5 minutes into the battle. Suddenly, I felt my live-bait jerk and free-lined my bait. But nothing. I picked up the line with my index finger, with the bail arm open, and waited. After about 5 minutes by bait was pulled violently and line began peeling off my spool. I flipped the bail and set the hook on a reasonable sailfish for the first of the trip. It put up a good fight but came in with it’s stomach extruded (it was cleanly hooked in the jaw hinge), so we revived it and took a few quick pictures of it in the water:

Sailfish #1

We re-set our baits and continued fishing. Conditions were good – light winds with no chop, but a large rolling swell signalling the impending monsoon season. After a missed strike, we were on again an hour and a quarter after the first fish. Jochen did the honours and brought in what was to be the the biggest fish of the day:

Jochen fighting Sailfish #2

Sailfish #2 boat-side

Sailfish #2

Although the fishing was not spectacular, we were getting regular attention from sailfish or at least were getting shots at feeding sailfish. Our popping efforts were also probably helping, but despite raising the odd fish they were not striking at the lures. After a couple more missed hits and dropped fish we got our third of the day just before 2pm, Julian bringing in a juvenile sailfish to complete a set of one fish apiece:

Juliana with the juvenile Sailfish

Within the hour we were in action again, my turn again to fight a smallish, but aggressive “teenager” for fish no.4 of the session:

Sailfish #4

This fish proved to be the last of the day. We had two further hook-ups, with Jochen suffering a pulled hook and a broken leader in quick succession. Ominously, the bite seemed to slow into the late afternoon, and we had to leave by 4.00pm due to the long run back to port – we were aided in the journey home by surfing on and with the big swell which made for a very pleasant ride home and made beer drinking very easy …. I’m sorry to say that Jochen fell asleep and Anthony and me ended up drinking his beers too …!

We arrived back in good time and had a feast of chicken curry and fried kerisi (red bream) – Jochen, Juliana and the deck hand had been jigging them up all afternoon – I’ve never seen so many caught. But they did make delicious eating.

It had been a reasonable day on the water with 4 from 8 sailfish hook-ups landed.

Day 2 (29.10.17)

Despite an abundance of live-bait, the slow-down in the sailfish bit that had started mid-week and was evidenced by the slowing bite the previous day continued with a vengeance into the second day. Once again we went to Berhala Island after gathering live-bait. There was still some sporadic bird activity and signs of feeding sailfish but activity levels were clearly much lower than the previous day. After numerous sets we had nothing to show except for one follow on popper from a juvenile sailfish and one (missed) strike as we were winding in baits to make a move. 

By early afternoon we’d move to a nearby FAD to try for tenggiri, again without success. We then decided to return to Tok Rahmat where we’d started the previous day – one of the boats had caught a few sailfish here the previous afternoon. When we arrived, a number of boats from the fleet were fishing and there was sporadic, localised sailfish feeding activity. We started chasing birds and setting drifts near to activity. Finally, after having feeding sailfish passing by us on a number of occasions without a touch (including after throwing a live-bait on a sailfish chasing a popper), the deckie suddenly managed to entice a strike out of nothing whilst soaking a live-bait at the bow.

Juliana took the rod and was involved in a struggle with a large and feisty sailfish on Anthony’s Stella SW10000PG set-up. Anthony guided her through the fight, including helping to keep the fighting belt in place ….

Juliana fighting Sailfish under Anthony’s guidance

After a good 10 minute battle, as the sailfish inched tantalisingly closer to the boat (and leader range), it made a last gasp series of leaps and managed to shake the hook and earn its freedom:

Sailfish throwing the hook

We were defeated. We’d been fishing hard without success and it was cruel indeed to lose this fine fish right at the end of the day. My mind turned to what seemed to be inevitable, we were looking at a skunk for day 2. We still had around 45 minutes of fishing left though, and we continued to hunt down surface activity and cast live-baits. 

Finally, after another half-an hour, when all seemed lost, I heard the elastic band retaining my line snap as a sailfish took my bait (we were drifting with the bail-arm open and the line retained beneath elastic tied around the rod handle). Line was tearing from my Stella SW8000HG reel and I waited a few seconds to ensure the bait was firmly in the fish’s mouth and closed the bail arm to engage the fish. I offered the rod to Jochen but he generously let me take the fish:

Fish on!

I worked that fish hard, determined to get it to leader ASAP to try to avoid another lost fish, and it put up a stubborn fight before eventually coming to be leadered:

Sailfish #1

After this first sailfish of the day we fished on for a further 20 minutes but without further incident, before making the journey back to port. As usual for a Sunday evening, it was a rush to break down and pack the tackle, load the car, shower, eat and hit the rod to try to get back to KL at a reasonable time before the return to the daily grind. 

It had been an uncharacteristically slow trip for the time of year, but it is always a privilege to fish for sailfish off Rompin in the company of friends. We landed 5 sailfish, plus lost the fight to a further 5 fish. My personal tally was 3 fish landed, and my billfish score is now 96. I will be back again next season, so it’s 96 not out!

Posted in (1) Malaysia, (1.01) - Kuala Rompin, Sailfish | Leave a comment

NEFFP – Chao Phraya Catfish bite #3 (20.10.17)

Me and Noru hit the Natural Exotic at Behrang to target Chao Phraya Catfish. There was a Chao Catfish bite going on (again), but unfortunately not for us ……

I arrived just before Noru, at 3.40pm,  to the sight of a local angler in my preferred spot already hooked-up to a large Chao Phraya Catfish. I quickly rigged up, bought my ticket and some freshly butchered keli bait and started fishing as close as I could to my spot. Noru arrived a few minutes later just as the other anglers moved position towards the end of the fishing pier. We took the opportunity to move further up the pier to my favourite location.

It started off slow ….. very slow. The angler to our left got a good strike (on chicken guts bait) and brought in another Chao Cat. At the same time I got a hit on a large keli head bait. I set the hook and the fish ran powerfully to the right, before turning and pulling the hook. It was almost certainly a Chao Catfish. And that was it for the next 3 hours …..!! 

The angler fishing chicken guts had a succession of mainly Amazon Catfish from the end of the pier and to our left. He also landed at least one further Chao Cat. In-fact, he was about the only person catching, actually virtually the only person getting strikes.

Noru finally lost his patience and, with around an hour left of the session, moved to the end of the pier to try for Amazon Catfish. He had one good hook-up that broke him off under the aerator paddles and another break off. But it was slow going. I spent ten minutes soaking a bait their too, trying to avoid what was looking to be an inevitable skunk before moving back to my original position.

Then it happened, as darkness fell and with 20 minutes left on the clock ….. my rod tip twitched violently. I picked up the rod and flipped the reel into free spool. Line began paying out. I gave it a few seconds before engaging the bail and setting the hook on a good sized fish. 5 minutes later a tell-tale sickle dorsal fin broke the surface and I had a Chao Phraya Catfish in the net and on the bank:

Chao Phraya Catfish landed

Chao Phraya Catfish c.15 kg

This was a nice sized fish of c.15kg, and I was grateful with this catch to save the session. I pinned on another keli head bait and cast out again, whilst I started packing up my gear and breaking down my second rod.

Then, with 5 minutes left my rod buckled over under an aggressive strike from another good sized fish. I picked up and struggled to subdue the beast …. it ran left towards the aerator paddles and I could feel my line chaffing on some unseen underwater structure. The rod then suddenly sprang up and I thought I’d lost the fish but as I wound down it was still on. A few minutes later the fish was ready for netting – a fat Amazon Redtail Catfish again knocking on c.15kg that had given a good account of itself. My leader was badly chaffed – the sudden release of pressure that I’d felt earlier must have been the line pulling free from the snag.

Amazon Redtail Catfish, c.15 kg

These last gasp fish saved my day. Noru (who’s now working close by this location) vowed to return mid-week to have another crack at the Caho Phraya Cats …!!

Posted in (1) Malaysia, (1.15) Natural Exotic Fishing Pond - Behrang, Catfish, Catfish - Amazon Redtail, Catfish - Chao Phraya | 2 Comments