Port Dickson 2023.3 (13.03.23)


Posted in (1) Malaysia, (1.02) - Port Dickson, Mackerel - Indo-Pacific King (Spotted Mackerel), Queenfish, Talang | Leave a comment

Port Dickson 2023.2 – Tenggiri batang (27.02.23)

The second visit of the year to Port Dickson with Captain Apek. The team comprised Arif, Azam, Asmi, Doc Irman and Husni. This was an unusual trip – despite scouring the seas for signs of fish boiling at the surface and trying numerous fishing marks over sea-bed structure, all we had to show for hours of jigging and bottom fishing with bait was 3 or 4 small red snapper and a solitary small tenggiri bunga that I’d managed to snag jigging. We barely had enough to scrape together for our customary post trip dinner of fish ……!

Finally, as the day was ebbing away into fishing oblivion, the captain suggested one more mark, his “Tenggiri batang” mark. Now, this mark is relatively close to sure, a km or two off Tanjung Tuan. My heart dropped, my experience is that as we approach these marks closer to shore, at the later stages of trips, we usually leave empty handed. Nevertheless, we followed the skipper’s instructions and started ripping chrome, silver and red-headed jigs through the water column as we drifted over the mark. Within 5 minutes, on the first long drift, Husni got a good strike and set into a decent fish that took off on a screaming run, before steeling down to some dogged resistance as Husni patiently worked the fish to the gaff. A very nice Tenggiri batang (Narrow barred mackerel):

Husni – Tenggiri batang [5kg]

After a fishless day, it looked huge and I thought it would be 7kg, but Captain Apek called it correctly at 5kg 😉. I started teasing Husni, thanking him for catching us dinner for the evening.

After another 15 minutes at this location, we started the journey home, stopping at a nearby location to try for sagai (longraker trevally) without success and finally, one more near-shore location to jig sabiki rigs for cencaru (torpedo or hardtail scad). Even this was slow go. However, I got a good strike on the penultimate drift and brought a surprisingly strong c.1.5lb cencaru to the boat. Now I started teasing Husni again, saying that I’d just saved his tenggiri from the evening’s dinner – with the cencaru and a handful of small snappers, we just about had enough for the meal. But Husni was having none of it, and he supplied a big tail cut for dinner and graciously picked up the tab. And it was delicious, so thank you Husni.

Despite the poor fishing, it had been an enjoyable trip followed by an excellent dinner. Certainly better than a day in the office by any measure!

Posted in (1) Malaysia, (1.02) - Port Dickson, Mackerel - Indo-Pacific King (Spotted Mackerel), Mackerel - Narrow Barred Spanish (Kingfish, Tenggiri), Snapper | Leave a comment

Batu Laut 2023.2 (06.02.23)

Batu Laut with Captain Apeng, Arif, Ahman and Ajid once again. We’d selected a date with good tides and currents, and the aim was to target talang queenfish, particularly to give Ahman and Ajid a taste of hot pelagic fishing action. It was also a trip for revenge for me after my disastrous previous visit!

Unfortunately, weather conditions weren’t perfect, with breezy winds and choppy seas. Things started off well, though, with both me and Ahman scoring a double hook-up on the first drift. But then it slowed down and we started trying out the different numbers on the captain’s GPS. Slowly, we started to pick up talang and build our catch, although the sea conditions took a toll on Ajid. But as we moved into the afternoon, the weather conditions and seas improved. I started picking up fish in regular intervals, although the others were having a slow time. Ajid was using a low gear ratio reel and was struggling to move the jig fast enough to elicit strikes, and Arif was having an uncharacteristically slow experience.

Talang Queenfish

The action started to speed-up late in the afternoon, with both Arif and Ahman scoring fish. I was also catching at regular intervals. I was experimenting with some old jigs, and was pleased to catch fish on a stubby 75g Sea Rock slow/fast jig and another long, slim fast jig, both relicts (and virgins) from my time in Oman; including a small cobia on the latter.

The total catch for the day was 12 talang, a cobia and a bream. A talang and the cobia were released. I achieved redemption with 7 talang and the cobia. Not a banner day for this location, but reasonable nonetheless.

Team & catch

Posted in (1) Malaysia, (1.21) Sea Stone (Batu Laut), Bream, Cobia, Hobbies, Queenfish, Talang | Leave a comment

Port Dickson 2023.1 (25.01.23)

First trip of the year (from a planned series of 11 trips in 2023) with Captain Apek (PD Cornia charters). The anglers for this trip included Husni and his son, Dr. Aleef, Adi and Marman. The initial plan was to hunt for surface feeding fish (“boiling”), as this action had been encountered over the previous few days. But after some time searching, and nothing to be found we switched to plan B, and started to hit the skippers bottom marks in search of fish, which we soon found.

At the first bottom location, Husni was in action first, the first drop on the first drift, and a feisty, good sized talang was soon in the ice box. As we worked this mark we were starting to pick up a fish or two each drift. Now, I had a new toy to try out – a Stella SW4000XG reel, purchased for the many jigging trips that I was now making. But I was slow off the mark – after about half an hour without even a strike I asked the skipper where the fish were on the scope, and he confirmed that they were close to the bottom. I started limiting my jig work to the bottom 5 meters and was hooked up almost immediately, a powerful talang of c.4kg that, to my surprise, the skipper netted and allowed me to release! Nice! I added a second fish 10 minutes later. I then started to experiment with jigs, and clipped on a 40g green & yellow knife jig. Boom, a few drifts later I was hooked up again, bringing another good sized talang to the boat, my third on the new reel:

Talang Queenfish on the new Stella SW4000XG reel

As we moved to different structures to locate the fish, we encountered a pack of cobia. Both Husni and Aleef hooked up to decent, hard fighting cobia:

Husni & Dr. Aleef with a brace of cobia

I switched jig again to an old 60g Yozuri metal sardine pattern (I’m trying out some of the old jigs and lures in my tackle box since my days in Oman). A few sets later and I hooked into a solid fish that forced me to the box. As I worked this fish up through the water column, the fish (a probable cobia) pulled the hook …! Disappointing, but I was still giving the new reel a good test on some hard fighting fish!

After the pelagic action we tried a spot of bait fishing for red snapper, but the action was almost non-existent. Captain Apek managed to score a decent fish on jig though, which was added to the ice box for the evening’s dinner.

We moved on again, trying various marks without success. There was no boiling, and very slow deep action. We finally ended up in the shallows to catch cencaru (torpedo or hardtail scad in English) and sagai (longrakered or cale cale trevally) on sabiki rigs. I tried fishing small jigs without success.

The catch for the trip was:

  • 16 talang queenfish
  • 2 cobia
  • 1 red snapper
  • An assortment of hardtail scad and cale cale trevally

Group catch

As usual, we completed the trip with dinner at Sri Pantai Ria seafood restaurant in PD. We ate queenfish, hardtail scad and, the highlight of the meal, the red snapper courtesy of Apek:

Ikan Merah (Red Snapper)

Another good trip and thank you to Husni for buying us dinner.

Posted in (1) Malaysia, (1.02) - Port Dickson, Cobia, Queenfish, Talang, Snapper, Snapper, Crimson (Ikan Merah) | Leave a comment

Batu Laut 2023.1 (18.01.23)

The first trip of 2023 started off with perfect weather and a degree of anticipation. I was fishing with Arif and two relatively inexperienced anglers, Ahmad & Ajid, making their first trip to Batu Laut.

Initial excitement soon dissipated as we were met with slow currents, not good for aggregating feeding schools of talang. The fast pitch action was non-existent. We spent some time searching for pelagic action without success – Arif picked up a small red snapper next to a shipping channel marker beacon that was followed to the boat by a large talang. We made a number of passes at this structure without further attention. The captain then switched attention to slow-pitch jigging, which was, as usual, very slow.

As the session progressed, Ahmad kicked things off after hooking a decent fish that put up quite a struggle. I retrieved my rig to avoid getting tangled with Ahmad’s fish. As I was cranking my lure up, Ahmad’s fish approached the surface, a reasonable sized cobia (c.5 kg) that was chased to the boat by a pack of 3 or 4 similarly sized fish. I put my rod in the rod rest, slow pitch lure floating in the upper part of the water column and reached back and passed Arif his fast jigging rod to cast at the cobia. As I turned to grab my fast pitch outfit I saw, out of the corner of my eye, my slow pitch rod tip yank over. Thinking the line was snagged with Ahmad’s fish, I returned my fast jig outfit back to the rod holder. As I turned back to attend to my slow pitch rod, I saw Arif grasp at the handle as it flew over the gunwale and into the water, all it slow motion. There was a brief, nanosecond pause, where the rod but and reel seemed to float on the surface, before being jerked underwater. I made a few speculative casts with my fast jig gear to try and snag the line, but to no avail. It had all happened so fast and it was difficult to determine how it had actually happened – the rod was in the rod rest so should have been safe. I can only surmise that a cobia must have taken the fluttering jig and, with some aggressive head jerks against s stiff drag and acute line angle, managed to spring the rod from the holder. Arif had tried to grab the rod but it slipped through his grasp. All very frustrating and annoying, particularly as it was a recently acquired slow pitch outfit that I’d already grown to like, after landing a couple of nice African pompano on it a few moths earlier. Damn, after not losing a rod in more than 16 years of sport fishing (including fishing for large and powerful pelagics), I now lost my second rod and reel combo in 3 years. Well, sometimes you win, sometimes the fish wins. Another painful angling lesson! Even worse, I’d lost a good fish on a very slow day … ☹!

Shortly after my loss, Ajid hooked into a big, lumbering fish. He struggled to move the fish and regain line, and was engaged in a tug-of-was with a probable large grouper. But suddenly, the rod tip sprang-up as the hooked pulled, so we’ll never know the identity of the culprit! However, Ajid followed up with a reasonable snapper as a consolation prize.

Arif was up next, hooking and landing another cobia of similar size to the first, on his new Stella Sw4000 reel. The, Ahmad, who was having a good day, hooked another decent fish that also put up a bit of a struggle before popping up at the surface – a painted sweetlips (Kaci in Malay), a great catch:

Painted Sweetlips

Arif rounded the day off with a plate sized grouper to complete the catch. This fish marked the end of the action on what had been a slow day’s fishing, and a terrible day for me. The final tally was 2 cobia, 2 snapper species, 1 sweetlips and 1 grouper:

Mixed bag catch

This was my first skunk since November 2021. I will return!

Posted in (1) Malaysia, (1.21) Sea Stone (Batu Laut), Cobia, Grouper, Grouper, Orange-Spotted, Painted Sweetlips, Snapper, Snapper, Crimson (Ikan Merah) | Leave a comment

Batu Laut – last trip of the year (20.12.22)

The prodigal sons had returned once more to Malaysia. This was the first time the whole family had been together for Xmas since 2018. In fact, it was the first time I’d seen my eldest son in over three years, another negative present from covid ☹. Still, the time was here and I managed to get a day trip out of Batu Laut fishing with Captain Apeng – my eldest likes fishing and it was good to get out on the water and spend some time together. We were joined by Azam and Fuz; 4 anglers is a comfortable crew on the relatively small boat were going to be fishing on.

As usual, it was an early start to make the convoluted journey to Batu Laut and be at the location in time, and we arrived as dawn was breaking:

The road to Batu Laut – sunrise

Location of the dock – Sungai Mesok

The weather was perfect, (if a little hot for visitors from northern winter), and the fish were cooperating, not the hottest bite; but we had a morning run, a slow middle and a strong finish in the latter part of the afternoon.

Mt son, Sion, started off well with his first proper fish fast jigging – a ubiquitous talang queenfish, and was joined by Azam and Fuz also putting fish on the deck early on. I had a slow start and had to endure the usual cheeky banter from the son. But he should have realised by now that age and experience beats the exuberance and haste of youth every time ….. 😊!! I finally got on the score board with a small cobia of c.3 kg, and followed up with a number of talang queenfish. Meanwhile, my son had to endure a long slow patch, with no strikes at all, under a hot son.

One thing of interest, as I fished at the stern, was that you could actually see the trace of the jig on the fish finder. In this example you can see the jig drop to the sea-bed and then the repeated traces as the jig was worked through the bottom third of the water column where the fish marks were. On this particular occasion, despite apparently crossing the path of fish 5 or 6 times, no strikes were taken (this is a 2D rendering of the 3D cone of sonic energy from the fish finder, so some fish could had been meters away from the actual jig):

Fish finder showing jig trace and fish marks

As we reached the late afternoon, the bite came on strong, and at one point we all landed fish consecutively, including Sion, who finally snagged his second of the day (to prove that the first one wasn’t just luck …). In fact we were all on, as we achieved multiple hook-ups in the final few hours:

Batu Laut Queenfish – everyone on!

The finally tally for the trip was 20 talang queenfish and one cobia. My personal tally was 5 queenfish and the cobia, whilst Fuz and Azam shared 13 talang between them, in addition to a number of pulled hooks. Fuz caught the best fish of the day, a c.4 kg talang:

Fuz – Talang Queenfish c.4 kg

Group catch

Posted in (1) Malaysia, (1.21) Sea Stone (Batu Laut), Cobia, Queenfish, Talang | Leave a comment

Kuala Rompin – Tenggiri lagi (26.11.22)

Wong came to the office on the Tuesday (22nd November) and showed me posts on Captain Heng’s website from the previous weekend – plenty of tenggiri (narrow barred mackerel) were on show, with some decent sized fish in the mix. I was surprised, given that we were in the later part of November, and the monsoon season should have started. We were having a beer the next night and were discussing the situation – now, tenggiri were, for a long time, a bogey fish for me, but in recent years I’d been catching them with some regularity. But …… I’d never had a real banner day with a big catch of this species. As we sat there drinking beer, I decided to text Heng for more information. I got a quick reply: the weather was still good; fish were still around AND he had slots available for the coming Friday and weekend. My mind started buzzing – I decided to go for a one-day trip, irrespective of whether I could get anyone else to join at such short notice, although Wong expressed an interest and went to call his wife to get clearance to join 😉. Whilst I texted the captain’s wife to book the trip, Wong got confirmation and the trip was on!

We drove up, independently, on the Friday afternoon, arriving in good time to get food at Rompin Baru restaurant and (for me) to enjoy a few beers. Unfortunately, we got the news that Captain Heng wasn’t able to join us, but he’d sent a very able assistant to skipper the boat, together with Shafiq, our dependable deck hand.

It was with some anticipation that we set of on the Saturday morning, in perfect conditions, due east from Kuala Rompin to hit unjams (FADS) in the to the north of Timoan Island. We were going to soak live-baits off the stern whilst simultaneously alternating between jigging and casting minnow lures to maximise our chance of catching tenggiri.

Things started off very well, my first jig drop at the first location garnered a strike, which unfortunately pulled the hooks. The lure came back with tell-tale bite marks. I re-dropped and was hit again, this time I stayed connected and landed the first, albeit small, tenggiri of the day. After seeing me get two strikes in succession, Wong hurriedly rigged a jig and joined the action, landing fish #2 (and his first tenggiri on jig), barely 30 minutes later:

Tenggiri #1 and #2

And to prove it wasn’t a fluke, he followed up with a second fish shortly after. He was vey pleased to get these fish on his new gear (Shimano Grappler fast jigging rod paired with a Spheros SW4000 reel).

This auspicious start set the tone for the day as we continued to catch fish at regular intervals. When action slowed at one site, me moved on to the next unjam and kept trying until we found fish, although the action was generally quick to develop at each new location. The initial fish were small, but we started to get bigger fish, particularly on live-baits:

Tenggiri #4 4.0kg 10.34 am

After finding fish on one FAD, the captain backed off the FAD and anchored up-current, so that we could drift our live-baits close to the FAD. Whilst the crew set the live-baits off the stern, I clipped on a tenggiri spoon and started casting close to the FAD, I got hit first cast; a hook-up second cast (a small fish that the captain knocked off the hook whilst trying to gaff …!!), and finally a good hook-up to a decent sized fish of 4.5kg:

Tenggiri 4.5kg 11.41 am

In fact, the spoon was proving deadly. After another move, we drifted of yet another FAD that was occupied by another fishing vessel, and I took another decent fish on the spoon.

As the day wore on, we were starting to stack-up good numbers. The fish were now feeding close to the surface and live-baits (tamban seemed to be the most effective) proved deadly. We were also picking up the occasional small, but feisty, mackerel tuna (ikan tongkol):

Wong’s Tongkol

With the fish at the surface, jigs and pintails were not productive in the afternoon. I decided to try a small (27g) pintail and fished it close to the surface and managed to illicit a strike for my efforts, but unfortunately failed to hook-up.

Finally, it was time to make the long journey back to port, and time to kick-back, relax and enjoy a few cold Asahi beers as a reward for the hard work.

Back at the dock the catch tally was 17 tenggiri and two mackerel tuna, plus 2/3rd of a snapper that Shafiq had caught and the almost lost to a large barracuda and one barracuda release that I had caught jigging. This had been the banner tenggiri day that I had wanted: I’d caught ten and Wong had landed 7, plus we took a tuna apiece:

Tenggiri lagi (28.11.22)

Wong had caught his first tenggiri, actually his first ever fish jigging; and we’d both caught fish up to c.4 kg. A very successful and enjoyable trip. Tenggiri lagi indeed!

Wong – Tenggiri

Posted in (1) Malaysia, (1.01) - Kuala Rompin, Mackerel - Narrow Barred Spanish (Kingfish, Tenggiri), Tuna - Mackerel (Kawakawa) | Leave a comment

Port Dickson surface feeding frenzy (12.11.22)

Back to Port Dickson after a month’s break due to a first international trip in almost three years followed by a first bout of covid ….! It was only a mild case for me and almost a relief to get it out of the way after so many years of being careful (a gift from the UK …. 😉).

This trip was to consist of two parts, a morning session fast and slow jigging on some deep marks and then an afternoon chasing surface action. However, on the trip out we came across some large sections of floating palm tree trunks and heads; this was a cue to flick assist hooks tipped with squid bait to check for lurking tripletail fish. The action was instantaneous, with 2 or 3 anglers hooked-up each drift. I caught two in a brief, frenzied period of action. These were not big fish, but put up a good fight for their size. I was pleased because I’d missed out on this fish on an earlier trip to PD, and it was a new species for me. We then moved on and back to our original plan.

It was slow going with the deep jigging, with only a handful of talang queenfish, in the 3-4 kg range to show for our efforts. We then switched to the second part of the trip, looking for fish feeding at the surface. We moved south towards the area offshore from the Tanjung Tuan headland. En-route we encountered an isolated flock of birds and boiling seas, fish attacking a bait ball. I clipped on a 27g pintail casting minnow and cast …. boom, the instant I started my retrieve I was hooked up to a surprisingly strong fish. It was a surprise when a smallish mackerel tuna (ikan tongkol) came to the boat, but explained the strong resistance – my first tuna on this side of Peninsular Malaysia.

After this we continued on to the intended mark to be greeted by a feeding frenzy of fish and birds, the most surface action I think I’ve ever seen at PD. We were soon bringing in spotted mackerel (tenggiri bunga) and small talang queenfish. Certain small jigs were proving to be deadly for the mackerel, whilst Arif was having repeated action on a small floating pencil lure. I, on the other hand, endured a very frustrating session, despite trying a range of colours and jig sizes and a variety of casting lures. I only managed to catch an additional decent sized queenfish (that I released) and a couple of small mackerel, although I did miss a few takes. When we tallied up the catch back at the dock, we had a very respectable haul:

Mixed bag catch

The final tall was (approximately) as follows:

  • 33 spotted mackerel (tenggiri bunga)
  • 32 talang queenfish
  • 10 tripletail
  • 1 crimson snapper (ikan merah)
  • 1 mackerel tuna (tongkol)

Despite not catching much (2 queenfish, 2 tripletail, two spotted mackerel and a mackerel tuna) I still received a share of the catch which I took back to give to the staff at my local bar-restaurant:

Share of the spoils

After cleaning up and packing our gear, we headed to the Sri Pantai Ria seafood restaurant for our customary post PD trip dinner, where we feasted on fresh tripletail, queenfish, and mackerel:



Another excellent trip at Port Dickson!

Posted in (1) Malaysia, (1.02) - Port Dickson, Mackerel - Indo-Pacific King (Spotted Mackerel), Queenfish, Talang, Snapper, Snapper, Crimson (Ikan Merah), Tripletail, Tuna - Mackerel (Kawakawa) | Leave a comment

Melaka (24.09.22)

And the trips just keep on coming! My third trip in less than a month, this time a first ever visit to Melaka (Malacca). This was to be my last fishing trip before my first international travel in almost 3 years – I am to fly to the UK for a reunion with old friends.  I decided to drive down on the Friday afternoon and take advantage of the trip to see a little bit of the city the night before the fishing trip. I walked from my hotel near the sea to Jonker Street and Sungai Melaka, taking in the sights along the way:

Melaka colonial architecture

Sungai Melaka & sustenance

After a pleasant evening, and a good number of steps, I finally settled on a small tapas bar for my evening meal before the long walk back to the hotel to get a good night’s sleep before the following day’s fishing on HeartCore Angler’s T55 fishing charter.

Saturday (24.09.22)

Weather conditions were perfect and we headed out into the Malacca Strait – its very narrow at this point so we were hemmed-in by the Malaysia-Indonesia maritime border. The fishing was very slow, despite the skipper working hard and putting us on a number of good structures. The first fish up was a small snapper. Then Doc Irman lost a good fish after a short battle. But he was in good form and sometime later hooked into a beast of a fish that gave him a good fight on a light slow-pitch set-up, a PE2.5 rod paired with an Ocea Conquest 301 reel. The fish made a number of powerful runs and pulled Doc around the stern of the boat, but he was up to the task and duly landed the fish of the trip, a 15 kg cobia, a new species for him:

Doc’s 15 kg Cobia

After the excitement of this catch, we carried on hitting the captain’s numbers, but it remained slow all day, with the occasional snapper falling to jig or squid bait.

Finally, very late in the day (and credit to the hard work of the crew), we found a pack of decent sized (and hungry) talang. With each drift we picked off a fish or two, eventually just me and asmie were left without a fish. I switched jig to a tried and tested chrome pattern and trusted the plan – to keep working the jig knowing that I would eventually get a fish. Finally, it happened, both me and Asmie hooked-up. My fish was lively and managed to catch my line on the engine skeg requiring immediate action to avoid being cut-off. After passing that test it was relatively easy to bring the fish to gaff:

Talang Queenfish

We fished on until dusk before making the short journey back to port. I thought that everyone had caught a fish. It was only one back at the dock that I realised that Asmie’s fish had managed to throw the hook and escape. Still, we’d salvaged a reasonable mixed-bag catch on a slow day, and another new fishing location was added to my experience:

Mixed bag (24.09.22)

Posted in (1) Malaysia, (1.24) Melaka, Cobia, Queenfish, Talang, Snapper, Snapper, Golden (Jenahak) | Leave a comment

Pulau Jarak area (03.09.22)

Hot on the heels of my Rompin trip came a new trip, courtesy of Arif – a one-day expedition to the area just to the north of Pulau Jarak, with Tekong Shahrul Rushdee. We were to fish a number of marks that were obviously a closely guarded secret – the skipper made us turn off our phones and kept them in a plastic container for the duration of the trip.

The boat was nice, a large vessel with a central cabin, a walk-around design with plenty of shade for the seating area. There was plenty of space to fish around the boat and two jigging platforms at the stern, either side of the engines, with steel rails for support. This was my first proper slow-pitch jigging trip with my Shimano Grappler-Tranx 401 set-up. The target was groupers (hopefully large) and other demersal species.

I started off enthusiastically, fishing a 230g Heartcore Angler jump jig , and was surprised how (relatively) easy it was to work the jig, despite the c.80m water depth. I was soon in action with the first catch of the day, a large (c.1.5 kg) squid:

Squid – c.1kgSquid c.1.5 kg

However, after this initial catch, things remained very slow. I was keen to get a fish on a jig, but as the morning wore on, some anglers started switching to bait – we had a selection of small, live octopus at our disposal; and fish did slowly started coming over the rail, mostly to bait but also some fish succumbing to a variety of jigs:

Group groupers

Acham was keeping it pure though, committing himself exclusively to jigs; putting a range of grouper species in the boat:

Acham – Groupers

The jigging was generally slow, though. And was proving completely barren for me, despite putting in a dedicated shift and trying a number of jig types. Meanwhile Sham (the proprietor of HeartCore Angler tackle shop), who was fishing near the stern with me and Arif, was quietly building his catch and putting a number of tasty eating fish on the deck using whole octopus dead-baits:

Sham – Grouper & Emperor fish

Sham, like me was one of the, ahem, mature anglers of the trip. His enthusiasm and enjoyment for the fishing was infectious. With the jigging remaining essentially zero for me, I decided to join Sham switched to fishing fresh octopus dead-baits. Even this started of slowly for me, with a string of missed bites. Finally, though, I pinned on my “lucky” bait. I started off with a small grouper, and followed it up bout 15 minutes later with another. Both times my bait remained intact and useable. Now a position became available the stern starboard jigging platform, in a perfect position to fish the now strengthening drift. I was fishing my octopus on a 1m long trace with a c.300g sinker. With the 80m water depth and strong drift I was constantly having to release line to stay in contact with the sea-bed. Suddenly I felt a wrenching strike and set into a powerful fish. I instantly though it was a large grouper and I had to work hard to lift the fish off the bottom, mindful of the need to keep it’s head up and stop it reaching structure, which was difficult as I had c.150m of line out. I slowly managed to work it up through the water column, but to my surprise if made repeated runs back towards the bottom. Something didn’t make sense, groupers are supposed to quit as the change in pressure makes their swim-bladders swell and their resistance progressively wanes. But this beast was fighting all the way and was making my arms tire. Finally though, a silver glow was visible in the depths. “Ebek” muttered the captain, and he was right, a large trevally breached about 20m away from the boat and was finally gaffed and swung aboard. It was an ebek, but not the diamond trevally variety common to the east coast, this was an African pompano (aka threadfin trevally), a new species for me, and a good specimen at 6.5kg:

African Pompano #1 [14lbs]

This was a very welcome catch, and the third fish caught on my octopus bait. As I was picking up the fish for a photo, I noticed a whole fresh squid inside its mouth, its last meal. After taking a few pics and slipping the fish in the ice box, I pinned on the squid and resent it to the sea-bed. Wham!… it was struck almost instantaneously it reached the target zone and I was tight to another hard fighting fish, another (slightly smaller) African pompano of 10lbs, a fine brace of fish:

African Pompano #1 & 2

Both catches were recorded on video by Arif:

African Pompano #1

African Pompano #2

After seeing the sudden action, Arif asked me what I was doing and applied the same technique, bouncing a bait along the bottom with the drift. It took a bit of persistence, but about 40 minutes later he struck silver, another c.5kg African pompano. Another was also caught by one of the anglers near the bow, a crazy 60 minutes or so of fishing:

African Pompano #3 & 4

There wasn’t much more of note after this bag of silver. And the day inevitably drew to a close. Time to return to port.

We finished off the trip by dining on some of the catch, including a delicious squid barbecue, generously treated by Sham:

Squid barbecue

Then it was the long drive home. Despite not being too far from KL, much of the route was on small country roads so I didn’t reach home until the early hours of Sunday morning. It had been a good trip – nice people, decent fishing and a great location. I would like to do a return trip in the near future.

Posted in (1) Malaysia, (1.23) Palau Jarak area, Grouper, Squid, Trevally, Trevally, Threadfin (African Pompano) | Leave a comment