Sailfish – Rompin with the Greens (12-13.05.18)


Posted in (1) Malaysia, (1.01) - Kuala Rompin, Grouper, Sailfish | 1 Comment

Fish Valley – The Toman’s Revenge (29.04.18)

I returned for the fourth time in as many weeks, keen to catch another toman, and hoping for more than one in a session ….! It was only to be a short session, from around 4.30  until 7.00pm.

As usual, I fished hard and tried out a variety of lures. All without avail – unlike my recent sessions I could not garner even a single strike …..! But I was rewarded with a picturesque sunset at the end of the session:

Snakehead Sunset

As I was leaving, the one other angler at the pond got a strike and hooked up just as I walked past on my way out. He was fishing in the right hand “pocket” right at the entrance. It was evidently a good fish and I was surprised when a patin broke the surface, clean hooked in the mouth on a deep running lure. Unusual, as these are basically herbivorous. A welcome legal catch, a good fight (and better than my skunk, that’s for sure ….!), c.6 kg:

Patin on lure!

Posted in (1) Malaysia, (1.06) - Fish Valley Semenyih, Toman Pond, Catfish - Patin | 2 Comments

Fish Valley Toman Revenge (13th & 15th April, 2018)

Visit 1 (13.04.18)

Following on from my recent previous visit I was itching to have another crack at the toman. I restocked my casting lures – I got a couple more 27g Jackson Pintails plus a couple of cheaper (and lighter) sinking lures for my collection.

The plan was to hit the pond on Friday afternoon and fish 4 hours from around 2.30 until 6.30pm. I’d also scaled up one of my rods since my previous visit – I now had a 20lb outfit for casting the heavier lures in my collection. 

I arrived in good time, rigged up and began chucking an assortment of lures past all of the structures that I could reach from the headland. All to no avail. A couple of young lads turned up and were fishing the eastern pocket near the entrance and withing 30 minutes or so hooked-up a nice toman (snakehead), but they were struggling to land it without a net. I think it eventually pulled the hook but it showed than toman can still be enticed to strike a lure here ….!

Eastern view and the ‘eastern pocket’

Despite fishing hard and trying a variety of lures, I was having no joy at all:

The armoury

At around 5.30pm another angler showed up. He started fishing on the east bank. Within a few casts he was into a fish but it turned out to be a foul-hooked patin. I redoubled my efforts and had 2 strikes, one tentative and the other more solid – both failed to hook-up but left some tell-tale tooth marks on my pintail lures:

Jackson Pintail Tune 27g lures with toothmarks

As I was packing up the angler from the east bank came over to fish the headland. It turns out he is a regular here and, whilst he was having a slow day, he notched up a couple of strikes as I was clearing up. He said that the fish strikes were often tentative and difficult to hook-up, which mirrored my experiences here over the past few years.

Visit 2 (15.04.18)

I still had a hunger to catch one of these toman, so I returned for another session. I started off on the east bank at 3.30pm, but it was brutally hot and exposed on the shadeless earth bank. I saw a few toman cruising just beneath the surface and commenced casting. Suddenly I took a big strike and was hooked up. I was sure it was a good toman as I frantically palmed the spool to stop it running into the mid-pond wooden structures. It took me a few minutes to get the powerful fish under control. Then I saw it, coming towards me tails first – a small patin of c.3kg foul-hooked in the tail ……!

Fish #1 – Patin

After a few more casts the conditions got the better of me. I move to the headland and some welcome shade. I worked hard, casting a range of surface, suspending, and sinking plugs all around the headland. I also worked a soft plastic on a jig head, all without even the hint of a take. I was getting disillusioned and ready to give up. I re-clipped on the orange & gold pintail that had enticed the best strike at my previous visit and was casting it c.50m from the headland. I put in a long cast into the north-eastern area of the pond near the eastern earth bank and, after a few seconds of retrieving took an aggressive strike …..hooked-up! I carefully worked the fish towards the bank as it shook its head aggressively trying to shed the lure, being careful not to let it run into any bank-side snags. As I got it near the bank it made one short, power run and then succumbed to the pressure of the 20lb outfit. I slid the net under the fish and had my prize, a 6lb toman in healthy condition:

The Prize – 6lb toman (snakehead)

The catch was timely – within a few minutes it began to rain. I checked my watch, 6.00pm. I still had half an hour to go but was satisfied and decided to call it a day. I managed to pack gather my stuff and get back to the car just in time before the rain turned into a heavy down pour.

Posted in (1) Malaysia, (1.06) - Fish Valley Semenyih, Toman Pond, Catfish, Catfish - Patin, Snakehead (Toman) | Leave a comment

Fish Valley Toman Pond revisited (01.04.18)

Toman Pond panorama – view looking east

It’s been well over a year since I last visited this venue. It has been one of my favourite places – when it first opened the toman (and pacu) bite was hot and the natural setting with bamboo thickets, trees with hanging vines and multiple fishing points with different water depths and structures made it an exciting place to lure fish.

However, a number of changes occurred that detracted from the fishery – first and foremost, the toman bite changed … a combination of the fish becoming lure shy together with reduced fish numbers probably related to angling induced mortality. Secondly, development of a nearby industrial estate encroached on the eastern margin of the pond (see large brown bank on the middle of the picture above), with a corresponding small reduction in size of the pond, removal of vegetation and the end of access to the east bank swims (the picture below shows the original pond configuration):

Toman Pond – original configuration

The third, and final blow, was the apparent removal of the pacu stock. Now, I know pacu are seemingly responsible for biting the tail fins of co-inhabiting fish in various pay ponds in Malaysia, but with the toman bite at low levels, the pacu could be relied upon to aggressively strike lures and put up a good fight.

When taken together, these three negative factors have reduced interest in fishing at the pond. As a positive though, fishing rates have dropped significantly to RM20 per hour and you have a high chance of having the venue to yourself. And it is still possible to pick up a toman if you put in some effort and try out a range of lures.

So, here I was. Back again with a lure fishing itch to scratch. And the signs were encouraging – I spotted a number of toman (snakehead) surfacing and cruising just below the surface. As usual, they were difficult to entice into a strike. I fished solidly for two hours (with a 20 minute rain break) with a variety of surface and diving plugs and soft plastics …… all lures that had worked here before, but to no avail. I was just contemplating finishing  the session when another angler appeared and within 15 minutes hooked into a decent and aggressive toman. Unfortunately it ran under a partly sunken rowing boat before getting tangled in overhanging bushes. i saw the fish roll on the surface and it was a good size, bigger than I’d seen here before. I tried to help untangle the line but it was too late, the fish had already broken free, taking the anglers pencil lure.

I decided to fish on for another hour. I clipped on a 28g Jackson EZ sinking lure in pastel shades of gold, green and blue colours (this lure had already proved deadly with tenggiri and barracuda) and I started to work it around the pond. After some time I suddenly got an aggressive strike than bent my light (4-10lb) Daiwa Cross-Beat stick into a wicked arc and my reel screamed as the fish made two powerful lunges to the depths of the pond. I worked it towards the bank but was powerless to stop in running into a line of thin wooden pilings. I still expected to land it but suddenly my 20lb flurocarbon leader broke – on a snag or on the toman’s teeth. It was over in an instant and the fish escaped with my expensive lure ….! I cursed but there was nothing I could do – I was angry with myself for not using wire (the water is murky so no real reason for such a light leader), but I’d never lost a toman before so was over-confident and complacent with my light rig.

I finished off the final hour without any more action, before packing up and heading back to KL. I’d skunked, but it had been an interesting session. There had been a couple of strikes and the fish were definitely getting bigger. I resolved to return in the next few weeks to try again. I also need to get some more small casting lures that are cheaper than Jackson lures … I also need to bring heavier gear – 20lb main line and a stronger rod to counteract the larger and more powerful fish. Oh, and wire leader too! Stay tuned.

Posted in (1) Malaysia, (1.06) - Fish Valley Semenyih, Toman Pond, Snakehead (Toman) | 2 Comments

NEFFP – Pellets and Chao Phraya Catfish (23.03.18)

A return to the Natural Exotic Fishing venue after a long break, both from the place and from fishing. I was joining Mahfudz on a quest for a Mekong Catfish. The plan was to alternate between pellets and fish baits – the fish baits to ensure we catch something, the pellets to try for Mekong Catfish and/or Siamese Carp. Fuz was on a mission and decided to fish only pellets. My plan was to get a few fish on live-baits, with Chao Phraya Catfish and possibly Alligator Gar as the target species and then switch to pellets. Except that there were no lampam live-baits available. Instead I purchased the remaining 4 (rather large) tilapia for live-bait and 4 keli catfish to be cut into chunks for dead-baiting.

We started fishing at 4.00pm. Fuz was in action first on pellets, but the fish proved to be a smallish Amazon Redtail Catfish. I commenced fishing with keli chunks and started getting attention after about 25 minutes. First a smallish Amazon Redtail:

Amazon Redtail Catfish #1

And then a larger one 10 minutes later:

Amazon Redtail Catfish #2

After a couple of missed takes I added a third at 5.00pm:

Amazon Redtail Catfish #3

Almost immediately later I was in action again, this time a bigger, more powerful opponent, one of the target species, a large Chao Phraya Catfish:

Chao Phraya Catfish

With a few fish under my belt, I switched to heavier tackle and rigged up with a spring feeder baited with pellets. Time to try for a Mekong Catfish.

I was shocked when my pellet bait was taken within minutes of being cast out. The reel was set with the bail-arm open and the line retained behind an elastic band and the line released with an audible snap. I picked up the rod, let line pay out for a few seconds and then flipped the bail closed. Initially i thought I’d missed the fish, but then wound into a solid mass. It didn’t run at first, just a dead weight. I was thinking that it was a Mekong Catfish. As I worked it towards the bank it made a number of powerful runs, despite the heavy tackle (40lb line, 15-30lb class rod):

Suddenly, the fish breached and revealed itself as another Chao Phraya Catfish. Damn, despite it being a good fish I was hoping for a Mekong. Still, it was a good catch, slightly larger than the previous fish and had put up a decent scrap:

Chao Phraya Catfish #2

After this fish things went quiet. we persisted with pellets for the next 4 hours. Progressively moving along the pier to try to entice a fish. we had a number of hits on pellets but they were proving difficult to hook-up. Fuz had a couple of fish on but pulled the hook, only managing to snag a small bait stealing lampam ….!

As the evening wore on i started getting a string of takes on pellets – the line would be pulled from the elastic band but I could never set the hook. Possibly tilapia? Talking of tilapia, I decided mine were too big to use so I released them from my live-bait bucket into the pond. More bait thieves for pellet fishermen to contend with …. if they survive the marauding predatory catfish ….!

Finally, with half an hour left of the session I switched back to cut bait. It was slow, but eventually I hooked up in the last few minutes, a powerful fish that ran by line around a snag. I tried to pressure it out but to no avail. I then gave the fish free spool and after a few minutes it had swam free and I was able to work it to the bank. Another large Amazon Redtail to finish up:

Amazon Redtail Catfish #4

It was time for me to finish up, at 6 hours it was my longest session at this venue. Fuz, however, was still determined to work the pellets. He decided to stay on for an hour or two more, managing to catch a Grass Carp for his effort but with the illusive and difficult Mekong still to catch. Next time …. hopefully!

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

Kolam Pancing Seksyen 24 (09.02.18)

This was my first time fishing at Kolam pancing Seksyen 24. I’d dropped in on the place to check it out when I was in the area a few years ago but had never gotten around to actually fishing here. Mahfudz (from Reelyology Reel workshop) had invited me along to fish some months before and, for various reasons, we hadn’t been able to make the trip happen.

Panorama view – Kolam Pancing Seksyen 24

Anyway here we were, me and Mahfudz, finally giving this venue a combined kick. Mahfudz had kindly organised bait – pellets with strawberry flavouring and keli cut bait. I was surprised by the number of anglers when I arrived, considering it was a Friday afternoon – it was pretty busy. The favourable tariff helped – RM35 for a 12 hour session …. very reasonable. Also as I arrived, an angler helped by his mate was rushing to the reception desk with a large Mekong Catfish is a landing net – this was a common process throughout the session. I learned from Fuz that this was due to the big fish prize draw that is part of the entrance ticket price!

The session started off well, Fuz was hooked-up within 20 minutes of arriving and soon had a spirited Chao Phraya Catfish of c.3 kg on the bank, taken on keli cut-bait fished on a float rig:

Fuz with Chao Phraya Catfish #1 of the session

Barely 30 minutes later he was in action again – another, slightly larger Chao Phraya cat:

Chao Phraya Catfish #2

Meanwhile, I was struggling with the float rig – it was spinning and tangling during the cast and aside from the odd touch was getting no significant or hookable takes.  I decided to switch to a ledger rig and was soon into action, finally scoring my first fish an hour and a half after commencing fishing:

Fighting my first fish of the session

Chao Phraya Catfish #3

I quickly followed up my first fish with another:

Chao Phraya Catfish #4

Despite their diminutive size, these fish were hard fighting and stubborn and i was surprised at their relatively small size given the tenacity of the fight:

A mini feeding frenzy was developing – I started picking up fish at regular intervals on ledgered keli bait:

Chao Phraya Catfish #5

In action with fish #6

Fish #6 in  the bag …!

Fuz was having less success on the float, but did hook up a decent sized fish that unfortunately broke him off at the leader knot after about 5 minutes into the fight.

We then traded fish – I’d switched to a heavier set-up of a 10-20lb spinning rod paired with a Saragosa Sw6000 spooled with 30lb braid. I changed to this set-up as the pond was starting to get busy and I wanted to be able to better control the fish and help reduced risk of line tangles. i was also thinking of switching to pellets to try for a Mekong Catfish. The heavier set-up helped with my next fish, a slightly larger Chao Phraya cat of c.5 kg:

Chao Phraya Catfish #7

Fuz then followed up with another better size Chao:

Chao Phraya Catfish #8

And I finished up with the last fish of the session:

Chao Phraya Catfish #9

As the afternoon passed into early evening, a steady stream of new anglers arrived after finishing work ….. a very popular venue.

Fish rises as dusk approaches

Some of the people were seasoned veterans – there was a constant buzz of screaming reels and bent rods from around the pond as a number of good sized Mekong Catfish were hooked and landed ….. certainly the most productive fishery for Mekong Catfish that I have seen. as the big fish were caught they were taken to the reception area for weighing and inclusion in the prize draw list:

Big Mekong Catfish at the weigh-in – 27kg

As dusk descended into darkness the Chao bite stopped. Inspired by the large Mekong’s being taken, coupled with the lack of bites on fish bait, both me and Fuz switched to pellets. But we had no interest at all in our offerings. We decided to call it a day at 9pm and retire to the cafe for a dinner of local food. 

It had been a fun session – plenty of fish and the prospects of some really big fish. I will return soon for a crack at the Mekong Catfish.

Posted in (1.16) Kolam Pancing Seksyen 24, Catfish, Catfish - Chao Phraya | Leave a comment

Singapore Sister (18-20.01.18)

Shortly after returning from Japan we were on the move again. This time a longstanding plan to meet my sister in Singapore for her 50th birthday. She was passing through on her way to a holiday in Australia, New Zealand and a brief stop in the USA on her way back to the UK, circumnavigating the globe!

The plan was to meet her and her partner, Rhys, plus friends Jane and CJ (arriving from Gibraltar) for sundowner drinks at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, then get dinner before moving on to the Atlas bar to finish the evening.

We arrived at the Marina bay Sands in good time for sundown:

Marina Bay Sands

Sundown Singapore views from the Marina Bay Sands roof terrace

As the mohitos flowed, sundown passed into early evening. Jane and CJ arrived and we had more drinks and plans were modified.

Night view and gathering rain clouds

We decided to skip dinner and head straight to Atlas – a grand art deco style bar and dining spot, specialising in gin, with varieties from around the world. Full information can be found at their website:

And what an amazing place it was. Some pictures to give you a flavour of the internal decor – the attention to detail was impressive:

Atlas, Singapore

We settled in for the rest of the evening, ordering a variety of drinks and various canapes:

The Birthday Party

Singapore Sister …!

Unknow to me, my sister had been in touch with our relatives who’s emmigrated to Australia over 50 years ago. They happened to be in Singapore visiting their daughter, who currently lives here. So she had arranged to meet them at The Fullerton Hotel before heading off for drinks and lunch. 

As me and the wife headed over we got a good view of the Marina Bay sands from the city, the opposite view from the previous evening:

Marina Bay Sands

We then met up with Uncle Alan and Auntie Carol and headed over to Harrys Bar at the nearby Boat Quay area. it was great to meet up – I haven’t seen them since 2005, and both were still in good shape for their age. We reached the bar at about noon, and proceeded to drink and talk, and drink some more…. Infact, due to a series of serendipitous circumstances, me and the wife ended staying there all day ….! It was the most beer I’ve drank in a very long while – I lay the blame mostly with Uncle Alan, who, despite being 80 years old, was still able to give it a good kick on the beers!

Gathering of the clans

We were due to leave at around 5 pm when my relatives had to leave, when Sallie and Rhys returned to the bar after checking out of their hotel (they were flying on to Australia that evening)  …. so we stayed for a few drinks with them. Then, as they were about to depart for their trip to Changi Airport, Jane and CJ finally surfaced and arrived at the bar. So me and Mako stayed for a few more drinks …!! As the night wore on I noticed CJ’s unusual tattoo – which is my link to fishing for this blog post ….

CJ’s octopus tattoo

CJ did explain the significance of the tat to me, but I was too drunk to remember …ha ha. But not too drunk to navigate the way back to our hotel. and also take this picture of an elegantly lit foot bridge at Boat Quay:

Boat Quay foot bridge

It had been a very interesting and enjoyable trip, and very nice to meet up with my Uncle and Auntie. I trust the Uncle Alan was none the worse for wear after our session!

Posted in (8) Singapore | Leave a comment