Following my previous successful trip to PD with the prodigal son, I was keen to arrange a return visit. this time to get my younger son to experience the action and bag his first Talang Queenfish.
I’d been monitoring the weather online, looking for a favourable weather window in the long run of poor weather that seemed to be afflicting PD of late. I had two tasks to align – find a suitable day, with good weather and big tides, and, secondly to try to secure a boat. Not easy given my limited Bahamas Melayu …! However, with the aid of Google Translate I managed to secure the Friday with Captain Halim (I got Shamin to help check the reply just to make sure that I was definitely good to go on the Friday).
However, despite successfully arranging the boat, the weather forecast proved to be a bit awry. We arrived in good time only to be met my dark, brooding skies. We headed offshore in a light breeze and slight chop, it was initially good for fishing, but we could see rain squalls on the horizon in the distance.
Despite the favourable tides and conditions, the surface activity was very slow. But, after about 30 minutes or so, the Captain spotted birds nearby and we were soon fishing “Run and Gun” style as we attempted to get the boat in the right position so that we could cast our jigs into the feeding zone. After a slow start, Siôn started to get the occasional strike but couldn’t seem to stay hooked up. Eventually, Captain Halim managed to score a fish deep jigging in one of the surface feeding lulls and brought a nice Queenfish to the boat.
Captain Halim with the first fish of the day
It was my turn next. We set a drift close to bird activity and I got a nice hook-up on a red squid / chrome bullet head lure, a first for this lure colour. After a short, but spirited, fight I brought a c.5lb Queenie to the net for a quick photo and release. Siôn, meanwhile, missed another couple of strike, and Ceri was faring even worse, with nothing to show at all for his efforts.
We reset the drift again, chasing birds and surface feeding activity. There was one particularly intense, tight grouping of a school surface feeding frenzy that made a noise like heavy rainfall as it attacked baitfish. “Selar” said the Captain as we unsuccessfully ripped jigs through the fast moving frenzy. I switched to my light 4-10lb Daiwa Crossbeat outfit and clipped on a blue & pink 20 gm jig. After a couple of casts I was hooked up to a small fish that I initially thought was a Selar (Scad) but was surprised to bring a juvenile Queenfish to the boat, for my second fish of the session:
Now, with the fishing starting to pick up, we were hit by a patch of heavy rain that had us cowering under the meagre awning for shelter. It’s amazing how cold rain can make you, even warm tropical rain! This first rain shower was intense, but tranquil, with no rain. Siôn managed to get a couple of follows, again with no hook-ups, as the rain eased and the sea turned flat calm, with a slick skin, almost like an oil slick, without even a ripple to disturb the surface. This proved to be the lull before the storm, as the wind started to pick up and we could see the surface of the water change from ripple, to waves and then to white caps as we were hit by a number of stormy rain squalls
We continued to chase the surface bird activity, even as the seas began to build. As we approached yet another burst of activity, I cast the red squid far from the boat and handed it to Ceri to retrieve. Almost at once he was hooked up to his first ever Queenfish. Another short, but explosive fight in the wind and the rain, and our 4th fish of the session was on the deck, prior to unhooking and release.
Ceri’s first Queenfish in stormy seas
The weather now was really getting worse, and the wind was howling. The Captain suggested heading back and jigging in the shallow waters closer to shore. But I knew from past experience that this would be poor fishing. With the surface feeding continuing I suggested giving it a further 30 minutes. The Captain agreed and we chased the birds again. With the wind limiting casting distance of the squid lure, I switched to a more aerodynamic blue & pink 30 gm jig and was rewarded with a powerful strike that turned out to be the biggest fish of the day, a Queenie of maybe 8 lbs. this fish put up a good fight with a number of surface jumps but was, unfortunately, hooked in the gills and too damaged to return. This went into the ice box for the captain.
With the worsening weather, slowing surface activity, and declining enthusiasm for further work activity from the youngsters, we decided to finish the session early and head back to the safety of the shore. It had been a reasonable session, and we had succeeded in getting Ceri his first Queenfish. I’d also had a good trip, with 3 fish. But Siôn had been dogged by the fishing equivalent of the yips, and had managed to miss around 6 or 7 strikes, much to his frustration. That’s why it’s called fishing, and not catching …..!