How to lose a Pacu
After my last Sailfish trip to Rompin in August, I was looking at at least 6 months before I got any chance of any serious saltwater game fishing (the winter monsoon had closed in on Malaysia’s east coast & I was out of wifey passes for a return visit to Oman ……!!). Sooooo …….. to tied me over the long (warm, wet & sticky) Malaysian winter months, my only recourse was to make the odd trip to chase Pacu at Tow Foo pond whenever the urge to go fishing became overwhelming! Now, the thing about Pacu is that they are powerful, tough and wiley, and they are easier to lose than to land! My average is about 1 in every 2 hook-ups landed …… give me a sailfish any day …. much easier to handle!
Me and Siôn made a Tuesday morning trip during the Hari Raya holiday. We arrived at 9.30am to find my friends already in place at the best location. We polled our raft around them and located ourselves on the golf course side of the reed bed. After a slow start, we were soon into fish. It was Siôn’s first serious crack at Pacu and he fought two good fish to boatside, both of which escaped at the net ….. once again the fine 50lb braid leader had pulled through a tiny gap between the eye & shank of the Gamakatsu hook [see previous entry: Pacu Fishing (29.07.08)]. And this, despite me thinking that I’d fixed the problem by crimping the eye tight against the shank to minimise any gap …… arrrrgh!! We did manage to land two smaller fish during the session
Oct.08 – Friday pm trip
This was a quick visit afterwork on a Friday afternoon. I was in position with line in the water by 3.00pm and was quickly into a good fish which I landed after a good tussle, a c.5-6kg specimen. I laid the fish down in the net on the deck and got my camera from my bag. As I pulled the net off the fish to take a photo, it jumped clear of the deck back into the water (still hooked), and the line looped around the rod rest and promptly snapped … unbelievable, even after landing them these fish can escape ….!! I hooked (and lost) two further fish before a heavy storm ended the action at c.4.30pm!!
This was the most comical of the lost pacu experiences. I’d left work at 1.30pm on Friday afternoon (we work an extra hour every day in the week & get Friday afternoons off) and decided to have an afternoon session at the pond. When I arrived, I was unable to free the raft pole from the mud, so decided to take out the small rowing boat instead. The boat proved to be a little unstable, and there were no suitable rod holders. After some trial and error, I opted to fish a single rod (to avoid the risk of having a rod pulled overboard by a pacu). Action was very slow – after on hour and a half I’d failed to get a single bite. Then, my cell phone rang in my rucksack. I chose to ignore it. A few minutes later, it rang again – “it might be important”, I thought, and I reached over for the rucksack. At that very instant (yep, you guessed it) I heard the rod rattle and buckle over under the strike of a good fish. Before I could fully react, the rod sprang over the gunwale, just pulling through my hand as I tried, in-vain, to grab the rod. Not only a missed fish but a lost rod (and more importantly a Shimano Ultegra 5000 reel) to boot. Oh, and the phone call? Just my wife loading me up with a problem that she could easily solve herself!! I spent the next hour casting and trolling a weighted hook to try to snag the kit. Incredibly, after a couple of false alarms (I retrieved a number of lengths of line and terminal tackle), I did manage to hook and recover my tackle, minus the fish, and after a thorough clean and lubrication, the reel seems none the worse for wear! I did stay and fish a further 45 minutes, without garnering another bite, to finish the day with my first Tow Foo pond skunk!
I persuaded the wife to join me at Tow Foo pond for a morning session during the Federal Day holiday (the school didn’t give this holiday, so we were free of the kids for a change). After the usual Pacu shenanigans, including one strike that broke me off on the first powerful run (it wasn’t due to over-setting the drag but due to cutting off on some type of structure), I did manage to boat a decent fish (for a change ….!!). Even this one tried to escape my grasp …………