My third visit to Kuala Rompin in 2015. This trip I was fishing with Abdullah and his uncle, Akhtar (Aky) Khan. This was Aky’s first time blue water game fishing!
We arrived at Rompin in time for dinner and cold beers after a scare with the car on the way across from KL – an undiagnosed slow leak in the radiator had become critical and we nearly boiled the engine over. Luckily we spotted the problem in time and were able to pull over at a service station and fill the radiator up with almost 3 litres of water …… disaster averted!! Upon arrival, Aziz informaed me that the fishing had been slowing down over the last few days after a crazy bite in later September – early October ….!! I was still optimistic though, October is always good at Rompin ….
Day 1 (10.11.15)
We started day 1 in perfect conditions, with no sign of the haze that had been blighting KL this past few months. After the usual stop to gather bait, which seemed plentiful, we were soon running offshore on the hunt for Sailfish:
But, just as Aziz had predicted, it was slow going, and we didn’t get our first fish until around noon. I was first up as Abdullah was at the bow popping and Aky wanted to observe first before trying his hand with a Sailfish:
Abdullah was up next, soon subduing a smallish, but spirited fish:
Aky was due to catch his first ever Sailfish, but was suffering with the effects of the sun, sea and a poor night’s sleep. He opted to rest and recuperate in the shade:
Aky feeling the effects of sun, sea and lack of sleep
The fishing was slow but steady. In between landing fish we were also dropping a fish here and there, including due to leader breakage at the hook loop knot ….. again! I picked up fish number 3 before Abdullah finished the day off with his second (and the day’s fourth) Sailfish:
It had been a slow but steady day, with a flourish of activity later in the afternoon. We ended up with 4 from 8 hook-ups, Abdullah and I getting two apiece with Aky yet to score. His baptism would be tomorrow.
Day 2 (11.10.15)
Day 2 commenced with the onset of the haze, although it was only just blowing in and wasn’t too bad. We headed offshore and it was definitely more fishy than the previous day, with more bird activity evident. Aky had taken some sea sickness pills and had gotten a reasonable night’s sleep – he was ready for his first Sailfish.
We arrived in an area with a lot of bird activity in the vicinity of an Ikan Bilis trawler and started to fish. We were soon getting strikes but, frustratingly, started pulling hooks or, worse still, breaking off at the loop know on the hook. This was a new phenomenon this season – I’d talked to Anthony about it the night before and he said that he’s been getting this problem too, and it was more common this year. I can’t think of a reason why, but decided to change to a uni knot on my live-bait casting set up.
After losing is first fish to a pulled hook, Aky finally got his first ever Sailfish, and the first fish of day 2. The fish put up a good fight and Aky was amazed by the power of the fish and how hard he had to work too bring it to the boat:
Aky fighting his first ever Sailfish
We were all surprised when the fish was landed – it had a recent, now healing, gash on it’s dorsal side, almost certainly the result of a shark bite. Despite this it was feeding and able to fight strongly. We took some in-water photo’s before safely releasing the plucky fish, hopefully to survive and fight another day:
Aky’s Sailfish – with a recent shark bite to the dorsal area
There now ensued a run of more last fish – after Aky’s fish we were now on 1 from 5 hook-up’s landed. Meanwhile, Abdullah had made it his mission to catch a Sailfish on popper and was busy working at the bow, and was starting to raise fish to the boat, resulting in an increase in bites on our live-baits out off of the stern:
Abdullah popping at the bow
Finally, after another dropped fish, Abdullah took a hook-up on livebait for only our second fish of the day, 2 from 7 ……
It was my turn next, and after further lost fish I finally got the 3rd fish of the day to the boat, after freeing a jammed level-wind, 3 from 9 …. It was a bad return ratio:
After this fish , we had another run of pulled hooks, including a fish I hooked-up on Abdullah’s Shimano Baitrunner 8000D – it’s a sweet reel for (controlled) free-lining live baits to Sailfish. Unfortunately this line tangled with another line and the fish spat the hook.
Then, a high pitched shriek from the bow alerted us to the fact that Abdullah had finally hooked up on a popper. The fish ran under the bow and ran to the port stern side before jumping and spitting the lure. Damn – Abdullah was pissed off, and rightly so, he’d put a lot of effort in and was so close to his target. Aky advised him not to shriek like that again and we had a good laugh teasing him. We were now 4 from 12, appalling statistics.
Finally, we had a run of fish that stayed buttoned – I picked up two more, whilst Aky got his second and Abdullah also added his second fish.
Then things quietened down. I had a livie on my casting rod in the water at boat-side ready to go when I saw a fish shadow the bait – it looked like a tenggiri (narrow barred mackerel), but faded into the depths without taking the bait. A few minutes later Captain Ah Ping hooked up on my casting rod, it was the same fish, but proved to be a nice sized barracuda which Abdullah fought and was pleased with a new species. I wanted to get Abdullah a trophy photo but without killing the fish. I got my boga grip but the Captain was sceptical – “dangerous” he muttered, and I have to admit I was a bit apprehensive but, after a couple of attempts I managed to get a good grip on the lower jaw and we got a couple of nice shots before safely releasing the fish:
And that was it for the day. Time to head back, pack-up on make the long drive back to KL. We’d improved the statistics a little, with 7 from 15 hook-ups landed plus the barracuda. Not too bad and better than the previous day.
When we arrived at Sungai Rompin river mouth, we saw two local anglers fighting huge fish from a small aluminium boat. They’d hooked up to a large Stingray on light rods although is seems that they were using 60lb line). We stopped to watch them do battle. Unfortunately, despite obviously having experience with such fish the rod was too light. As we watched they snapped a rod trying to get the fish off the bottom. They were able to splice the line onto a second rod, but after a further tug-o-war finally snapped the second rod and broke the fish off. We captured the action on video:
Stingray battle, Sungai Rompin
With that we had to return to the rompin River Chalets to pack, grab a quick dinner and hit the road. Another great weekend’s fishing at Kuala Rompin. And, for the first time ever, I was doing back-to-back trips as I was due back the coming weekend for my fourth and last trip of the season. Sweet!