I’d had a PD trip pending with Noru for a few weeks. I also had a colleague in work, Wong, who was very keen to try fishing. He mentioned to me in the week that he was available and ready to go whenever I had a space available on my forthcoming trips. I got a call from Noru on Sunday – he’d managed to get a boat for the coming Saturday. I checked the tides and weather forecast and all looked good – reasonable weather and big tides ….. perfect, game on! I called Wong and he was keen to go.
I then thought about it a little more. Port Dickson can be challenging – if the fish are deep, the approach is deep jigging, which can be hard work. If the fish are on the surface, it requires casting and fast retrieve. All scenario’s are challenging for a beginner. Then there is the sea – all of this is done from a drifting boat, often in choppy seas. I talked to Wong – I explained that it may be better to start off with a less difficult location – maybe the Natural Exotic, land based, virtually guaranteed fish and no complex casting or tactic required. It was also much cheaper, PD is now RM550 per boat per day. Wong thought that I was trying to put him off and insisted that he wanted to go – he said that he was not prone to sea sickness and that casting should be easy enough. I wasn’t trying to put him off, but I wanted give him full knowledge of what to expect. I also didn’t want to put him off fishing by starting him off with a tough trip.
“A challenge makes things more interesting in live” said Wong. OK, fair enough – definitely game on then.
I checked the weather during the week – it was bouncing around a bit, one day looking good, then looking rough. I was apprehensive. Then on Friday, Noru called. He had to cancel due to work commitments, and wanted to know if I still wanted to use the boat. A quick check with Wong that he was ok with the extra cost and then the trip was finalised. A final check on the weather and things were looking almost perfect …….
We set off around 8.45am, at high tide, in a light breeze and slight chop, heading for the Vikram wreck mark. We arrived on location to a lifeless sea – no birds, no surface activity and a fast drift. I was confident though, I knew that the surface activity would probably commence once the tide started moving the water column.
We started off jigging, and it became clear that Wong was going to be on a steep learning curve – he was struggling with the left handed retrieve, and with the jigging technique (which is not easy to master). Suddenly, the Captain Rahim spotted birds as a large cargo ship went past. We sped over but it soon became apparent that they were following the vessel, feeding in the wake, possibly on ship’s waste. We returned to jigging.
After an uneventful hour, the Captain once again spotted bird activity. This time it was the real deal – we ran to the activity and started to cast jigs. Wong was again struggling with the technique. I showed him how to cast and he started to get the hang of it. But the bird activity was starting to wane. We set up a drift down wind of the birds and slowly drifted towards them. As I casted and retrieved my jig I noticed that Wong was MIA ….
The drifting boat had finally taken it’s toll – Wong was throwing his last Maggie Mee into the sea as berley. After that he had to rest in the shade. The birds had now almost disappeared – I cast my 20g pink jig again on a light outfit (Daiwa Crossbeat 4-10lb class rod, Shimano Sustain 3000 with 10lb line) and then set the rod in the holder, letting the lure sink, whilst I took some photo’s of Wong’s recuperation. Once I picked up the rod and began a rapid retrieve I felt a gentle take of what I thought was a small fish. It came to the boat relatively easily, with just some head shaking, but not taking any line.
“Small fish” I noted. “How do you know that?” said Wong.
With that, I saw the fish, a nice big bar of silver in the water. It then made some short dives, pulling some string, before jumping out of the water and then diving again. I had to plunge the rod tip into the water to clear the hull before working a nice sized queenfish to the net:
This fish proved to be the only action of the day, despite trying a couple of different wreck locations, deep jigging, live baiting, and a range of lures:
The fish never re-appeared at the surface after the early, brief action. I was expecting more, given the favourable tide and weather conditions. I suspect that as tidal movement re-started following low water at c.2pm, the fish would have started to feed again in the late afternoon, however it was a gamble that I didn’t want to take, especially given Wong’s condition. I called it a day early, at 3pm.
Despite being ill, Wong was a trouper, and bore his misery whilst I continued to fish. Thanks for being a good sport Wong, sorry for the lack of fish. Next time …..!