Pacu fishing at Tow Foo Pond
This was my first solo fishing trip with Ceri, my youngest son. He’d only recently become interested in fishing, despite joining many family fishing trips when he was younger (perhaps too young?). His confidence, and interest, perked up after he landed a couple of decent sailfish, including a c.45kg monster, back in September (see blog entry Hari Raya Sailfishing (19-20th September 2009), as part of his Year 6 Challenge!! Anyway, his appetite had been whetted, and he was keen to try out for a pacu or two! It was also good for me to spend some time with him, one on one, for some father-son bonding. As the second child, Ceri was always, to some extent, in the shadow of his older brother.
Anyway, we set off on the Saturday morning (not too early) for Kundang Lakes and stopped to collect some palm oil seeds to supplement the trusty dried prune baits that had served us well in the past. We arrived at the Lakes (well, actually Towfoo pond), kicked the rubbish off one of the mangy old rafts and punted out to the usual spot near the reed “island”. Ceri helped by actually managing to get the decrepit bicycle frame mounted paddle wheel working – amazing, this apparatus is usually seized up.
As we approached the swim there was abundant surface activity, with big pacu rolling everywhere. The sky was heavily overcast, often a good sign when fishing.
“This looks good”, I thought. I ground-baited the swim with palm oil seeds and chopped prunes and set-up and put the first rod out before rigging up the other two outfits. The first line was in the water at c.9.30am.
We then lay back and waited. And waited …… and waited!! Despite decent water levels, fish breaching all over the place, and 3 rods out with proven palm oil seed and prune baits we didn’t get even so much as a twich!! The locals fishing from the banks were also skunking …… although that seems to be the usual state of affairs at this place!!
The killer baits – palm oil seeds (left) and prunes
Finally, at about 10.45am we got a strike on my lightest set up, a 12-17lb class spinning rod paired with a 35 year old vintage Abu Cardinal 44x reel!! I took this fish by way of explaining to Ceri the nuances of fighting a pacu, with all their tricks (much different to Ceri’s previous sailfish experience)!! After working the fish from the reed bed and out from under the raft and “anchor” brick rope, Ceri duly slipped the net under an 8lb pacu.
Me with the first fish of the day – 8lb Pacu
Ceri was up for the next fish. We reset the baits and waited. After an hour without another take (despite evidence of fish everywhere), I decided to change tactics. I doubled up the baits, putting out double prune on one setup and prune+palm oil seed on another. Shortly after the prune-palm oil bait was hit but didn’t hook-up. The bait came back minus the prune & with teeth marks on the palm oil seed …!! I reset the bait plus put the double prune bait out in clear water between the bank and the reed island (my usual tactic is to fish baits hard against the floating reed bed). Just as we were preparing to call it a day the prune bait in open water (again on the Abu Cardinal 44x reel) got a good take. Ceri took the rod & struggled to control a decent sized pacu, which had already run under the reed beds. After 5 minutes with no progress I took the rod and, as expected, found the fish lodged in the reeds. I tried changing angles. No luck. I free spooled the line a number of times. No luck. Finally, I had to admit defeat, pointed the rod horizontally at the reeds and pulled against the fish. Miracuously, the fish suddenly came free from the snag. I passed the rod back to Ceri and he did a fine job working a spirited pacu to the net. It pulled the scales down to 12lb. A very respectable first freshwater fish indeed!! With mission accomplished, and the sun now starting to break through the thinning clouds, and mid-day temperatures rising, we packed up and headed to a well know burger chain for lunch.
Ceri putting the pressure on a decent Pacu
In the bag – the scale says 12lb !
Job done, now it’s time for lunch!