Kuala Rompin – East Peninsular Malaysia (August 08)
This was me and Siôn’s second visit to Rompin, with Anthony Sullivan, in less than two months. It was also later in the season and closer to the magical October peak period for Sailfish. We were hoping for an improvement in catch rate compared to our previous (memorable) trip in July.
Day 1 (25.08.08)
Weather:Light swell AM, slight chop PM.
Time:AM – PM
The day started off slow. After the pre-requisite stops to collect live baits, we headed out to the sailfish grounds, heading to the location that produced the best over the previous few days according to information received from the other boats. We saw very little sign of activity. Anthony went to call up some action on the sailfish “telephone” – casting heavy poppers from the bow to try to raise a fish or two. After some effort, not only did Anthony raise a sail, but also managed to entice a strike, which he duly hooked up. Anthony passed the rod to me and I fought the first sail of the day – a smallish, but very spirited fish that gave a good account of itself on the popping rod. However, that proved to be the only sail raised by the “telephone” that day.
As the day wore on, however, we started to get a series of takes that proved difficult to hook-up, despite giving a 5 second drop back. I started to lose a little confidence – I then asked Anthony to try his luck at hitting one of the strikes …. and he duly proceeded to miss a take! Then, we got a good strike from a decent fish, only for the line to go slack as soon as the fish was felt at hook-up. The trace came back minus the hook – bitten off …… Tenggiri (Narrow Barred Spanish Mackerel, aka Kingfish) were the likely culprits. Finally, I got a good take and dropped back to hook a decent sized sailfish. Siôn took over and did very well in bringing a good sized (c.40kg) sail to the boat on 30lb class tackle – a Penn Senator 20-40lb rod and a Penn 320LD reel spooled with 30lb spider-wire. This was my light tackle outfit from Oman, and the first time that I’d used it for sails – the set up was proving effective – every strike of the day was on this rod! As Siôn fought the fish, it made a number of spectacular tail-walks and jumps, showing its girth and demonstrating its power. This was a great fish on light tackle. Well done son!
Siôn Griffin wih a decent Sailfish taken on 30lb class tackle
Siôn Griffin – Sailfish on 30lb class tackle – the Video
Besides the baits under balloons off the stern, we’d also dropped live-baits near the bottom, on wire traces, in the hope of picking up one of the tenggiri. Mysteriously, we got a number of strange “plucks” on the line, and we often retrieved the rig minus the bait, or with the bait half eaten, with lots of small chunks removed, almost as if crabs were feeding on the bait. Later, however, I felt the rod load up as I retrieved and I managed to bring the culprit to the surface – a large squid, c.1kg+, which was expertly netted by the deckie before it let go of my bait – this was kept for dinner that evening, calamari and a mound of squid sashimi!
It had been a reasonable day, but we were hoping for better tomorrow. We were also keen to catch one of the elusive tenggiri!
Day 2 (26.08.08)
Time:AM – PM
Day two started off better – we started to get strikes within a short time of reaching the offshore fishing grounds. For this session, I fished one rod with mono and one with flexible wire (for kingfish). I also had a casting rod ready to pitch a live-bait to any patrolling sails spotted near the boat. The kit was as follows:
(1) 30-50lb stand-up rod / Penn 30LD reel / 40lb mono with 80lb wind-on leader
(2) 20-40lb Penn Senator trolling rod / Penn 320LD reel / 30lb spider wire / 65lb wind-on leader & 50lb flexible wire trace.
(3) Saltiga Expedition Tuna rod / Stella 20000 / 40lb braid / 65lb wind-on leader & 80lb hook-length.
In complete contrast to the previous day, almost all of the strikes came on the 30-50lb kit (we couldn’t get a hit on this the previous day for love nor money); with only the odd hit on the Senator (were the fish shy of the wire trace?). I did get a good early take on the Senator, but failed to hook-up after I engaged the reel, the bait coming back peppered with small puncture wounds on its underside – another tenggiri attack.
Meanwhile, as the day wore on, the sailfish strikes were starting to mount. Anthony raised a fish on the popper, as it was teased in towards the boat; I cast a live-bait in its path, resulting in an immediate hook-up. The stand-up set-up was receiving a lot of action – after the first sail of the day, we finally managed to hook a tenggiri, on a mono trace, after missing a couple of fish to bite-offs. Siôn fought the tenggiri, which gave a reasonable account of itself (on too heavy tackle), including one explosive run right at the boat that took Siôn completely by surprise), finally landing our first kingfish, a c.5kg fish, that we kept for dinner that evening. After the kingfish, we started to hook and land sails at regular intervals – I took 4 fish to c.38kg, whilst Siôn ended up with 3 fish in the 25-35kg range. He got the wind-on leader on the reel very quickly (for an official release) on his second sail of the day, but this fish then proceeded to rip off c.150m of line before it managed to break off at the 80lb hook length during a series of surface jumps. He finished the day with a smaller, but very strong fish, that I leadered and brought aboard for pictures before a revive and release. That marked the end of the day – we headed back to port for tenggiri head curry and the obligatory cold beers!
Siôn with a c.5kg Tenggiri
Siôn Griffin – Sailfish No.6
We finished the weekend with:
1 Kingfish (tenggiri)
It was a very satisfying session and we are looking forward to our next trip(s) in the 2009 season.