I’ve been fishing Kuala Rompin every season since I first arrived in Malaysia in late August, 2007. I fished with family, friends, colleagues and even solo! I’ve fished at five different months during the season (which extends from late March through to the start of the annual monsoon season in early November). All together, I’ve made 11 separate trips to the Rompin, amounting to 23 days fishing. Ok, so I’m starting to amass some statistics on the billfish catch which I thought I’d share; results are summarized in the following table:
First, I’ll start with the basic statistics – 112 billfish (111 sailfish and 1 juvenile black marlin) in 23 days total fishing, making an average of 4.9 billfish per fishing day officially landed. All fish were revived and released.
Of the 23 days fishing, only one day was a skunk for billfish, during the relatively poor 2009 season, possibly caused by knock-on effects of El Niño in the Pacific Ocean. The best day was 11 sailfish. With an average of 4.9 fish per day, 4 days each recorded catches of 2, 5 and 7 billfish respectively.
The majority of my trips have been in the latter half of the season, August – October. This is traditionally the best time, as the sailfish congregate ahead of the impending seasonal monsoon. Two trips earlier in the season, in May 2009 (El Niño year) and July 2008, had the lowest catches, a total of four each per trip. The July trip did, though, yield the only (much prized) black marlin that I’ve taken to-date at Rompin! October has been the most consistent, yielding double figure catches for each of four 2 day weekend trips made. August has also typically yielded good catches (Table).
Sailfish ranged in size from estimated weights of 5–50 kg. The typical sailfish is in the 30-40 kg size range. The small sailfish taken suggest that the area is a spawning / nursery area for these fish. In addition to billfish, the trips have also produced dorado, kingfish (narrow barred Spanish mackerel), cobia and the ubiquitous garfish. Bottom jigging has produced juvenile kingfish, barracuda, kerisi (a type of red bream, very nice to eat) and plate-sized grouper. From time-to-time, we’ve also managed to catch large numbers of squid – again a tasty treat to add to the ice-box!
Finally, out of the total, my personal tally is 47 sailfish and one black marlin. My two sons, Sion and Ceri have landed 19 and 23 sailfish respectively. Sion caught his first aged 11 and Ceri took his first sail at the tender age of 10 (see following video)! Sion has caught two sailfish on the popper, including a c.25kg fish taken on 15lb line and a light jigging rod! My wife tried her hand and caught 1 sailfish, but decided that it was tough work. My friend Glenn Orr, visiting from Kazakhstan was shocked to get his first sailfish on the first set on the first day, and finished the weekend with 7 sailfish and a dorado to his name. In addition to the numbers landed, typically 2-3 fish per day were lost during the fight!
Ceri Griffin catching his first sailfish
I hope that, despite the relatively small sample size, my statistics give a flavour of the sailfish fishing quality and seasonal variation at Kuala Rompin. It’s also worth noting that on most visits I was fishing with my young sons – we were not fishing aggressively – if a team of experience angles were to make the same trips, numbers would definitely be higher! Rompin is truly is an excellent sailfish fishing location and is well worth a visit.