This my much anticipated first visit to the salt in 2015. It had been a long time ….! However, this was to be a strange trip for a number of reasons – weather, fishing and personal. I was going to be fishing with Jon Wood – his first time fishing saltwater in Malaysia.
When we arrived at Port Dickson, there was an unexpected haze casting an eerie greyish light over the ocean . I hadn’t checked the weather, but was surprised at the absolute stillness of the sea – it was like a pond.
We met up with our Captain, Pak Din, and were soon powering offshore to the fishing grounds. As soon as we arrived, queenfish feeding activity was evident from the surface splashed and bird activity. We headed towards the action and within a few casts I was fast to a nice queenfish that stuck my pink 30gm jig. The fish gave a good account of itself and made a number of impressive jumps near the boat, coughing up anchovies and each jump. I was exhilarated to get a fish so soon – my last two trips to PD had left me empty handed. After a quick release, we headed back towards the bird activity.
Within a few casts I was in action again – this time the fish stayed down in the water. “Tenggiri” murmured the Captain, urging me to keep the line tight. And he was correct, although not the type of tenggiri that I was hoping for (I wanted a Narrow Barred Spanish Mackerel variety ….). However, no complaints with the spotted mackerel (Tenggiri bunga) – it’s always good to catch fish, and different species are always welcome. This one went in the ice box for dinner!
This is where things then started to unravel. After the initial flurry of strikes, it went quiet, and we couldn’t get another hit. Jon had gotten frustrated with his complete lack of success on the jigs and was trying deep jigging with muppets (small plastic squid lures) near the bottom, and got increasingly frustrated throughout the morning. Captain Pak Din was also getting no joy on his jigs.
We carried on chasing the surface frenzies throughout the morning and into the early afternoon. I tried jigs, spoons, plugs; surface fishing, mid-water and deep jigging, all without any further action or any follows. The Captain informed me that it had been like that for weeks. But the fish were obviously feeding, sometimes hitting the surface a mere metre from the boat. It was frustrating in the extreme. Jon had by now, quit fishing (he’s also decided to quit smoking on this very day, for some unknown reason) and was reading a book on his cellphone ….!!
Despite continuing surface feeding activity, given the frustrating fishing and Jon’s bad mood, we decided to call it a day early, and were back at the beach by 3.00pm, right at the big tide’s low water, giving us a trek to shore through treacherous mud. I resolved to return again as early as possible, to try to figure out what the fish were feeding on and to get a better catch rate. I also made a mental note not to fish with someone who’d just quit smoking …..!