- My third trip of the season to chase sailfish at Rompin (and still vainly trying to personally land 21 sails in a season to make my 100, but only on 6 so far this season ….!)
- On this trip I was fishing for the first time with Scott Bremner, a good friend of my fishing mate Noru, together with two people, Bill Hetherington and Frank Henning.
- Scott and the others had each brought a slab of beer for the trip. I’d brought a six pack. Lol
- I was hoping for an improvement on my last trip the previous month, when despite the presence of sailfish in reasonable numbers, the bite was very slow, possibly due to a number of large sharks patrolling the sailfish grounds
- After arriving on the Friday evening just after 7pm, I had ice-breaker drinks and dinner (a Rompin River Restaurant “special”), before we retired to Uncle Hock’s chalets to prep tackle and drink more beer.
- Scott showed me a great method of tying the FG knot. I made a few hal-assed attempts before making a mental note to learn this knot (and test it at te Natural Exotic Pond) before my final trip of the year to Rompin in October)
- On this trip we were fishing with Captain Ah-Heng. This was my first fishing trip out of Rompin NOT fishing with either Anthony or Aziz (of Hook, Line & Sinker charters) since 2007 ……
Day 1 (17.09.16)
- We had a laugh when we boarded the boat – the drinks cooler was filled almost entirely with beer. I added my three cans for the day to the stash ….
- The day started off slowly once again. Bait was easy to come by but the bite was slow (despite a flurry of activity in the preceding few weeks) …..
- Scott concentrated his efforts on popping and trying to raise sailfish. His efforts paid of early as one of the fish turned from his popper and headed towards the live-baits at the stern, resulting in the first strike and hook-up of the day
- Bill was up first on his own Fin Nor reel and Shimano jigging rod set-up, bringing in the first sailfish of the day just before 11am.
- It was almost an hour and a half later when we got another decent take, once again after Scott managed to raise a fish with the popper. The mate set the hook and Frank took over for the fight, bringing in a reasonable size and well conditioned sailfish:
Frank fighting the second fish of the day
- We then entered the afternoon lull. Surface activity was virtually non-existent and the bite was off.
- We got news over the radio that Anthony’s boat was hooked-up to a large shark, on sailfish tackle, for an hour before finally being broken off …!
- As we passed into late afternoon, we suddenly took a fast strike on the Fin Nor set-up. The mate passed me the rod and line was already ripping from the open bailed spool.
- The run was so strong that I flipped the bail and hit it almost instantaneously I took the rod from the mate. I felt the weight of the fish and then the line went slack. “Too quick” muttered the Captain,or words to that effect, implying that I’d struck the fish too soon. I know from my experience though that when the fish is running fast its time to set the hook. I felt vindicated, if a little depressed, when the line came in minus the hook – the tenggiri (Spanish Mackerel) curse is till not fully off my back ….!!
- Throughout the early afternoon Scott worked tirelessly popping and lure fishing at the bow. I filled in the gaps but got no luck and didn’t even manage to raise a single sailfish
- We got the final sail of the day at 3.40pm, Scott bringing in the biggest sailfish of the day on his own Penn set-up. Fair reward for his hard work during the day:
Scott with Fish no.3, the last of the day
- That marked the last fish of the day. We’d landed, I think 3 from 4 hook-ups, 3 of 5 sailfish strikes during the day.
- It was time to crack the beers (for me at least) for the journey back to port (the others had been on the beers since breakfast …!).
Day 2 (18.09.16)
- We decided to try to augment our live-baits with some arrow-head squid as an alternative bait to entice the finicky sailfish. After a couple of stops at FADS we had a range of good fish baits plus half a dozen arrow-head squid and 3 green-eyed squid (good for eating). It was actually interesting jigging for squid – a long, slow rod action, hooked squid giving the sensation, temporarily, of being snagged on the bottom, before slowly and carefully winching them to the surface for collection.
- We then headed off in search of sailfish.
- If anything, it was an even slower bite than on the previous day, despite us being encouraged by more obvious signs of feeding activity than on the previous day
- After going all morning without a single take, we decided to change tactics. The Captian pinned on an arrow-head squid through the top of the mantle (it immediately flashed from white to crimson red on being hooked) and fed it out about 20m off the stern, put the rod in the holder and started to set a second bait.
- As he’d just dropped the second squid in the water and started to feed out the line, a sailfish came head and shoulder out of the water as it climbed all over the first squid. I plucked the rod from the holder, only to find that the reel was still in gear – the sailfish had dropped it upon feeling the resistance. I put it in free spool and waited but the sailfish did not return for a second attempt.
- Finally, just before 2pm, we got our first hook-up of the day on a slow trolled squid. The Captain set the hook after a considerable drop-back and handed me the rod. I fought the fish on Scott’s heavy Penn outfit and soon had had the fish under control and alongside the boat for leadering. Unfortunately, it was deep hooked, so we snipped the leader and I held the fish up for a few quick picks before reviving and releasing the fish:
Fish no.1 ready for billing
The first fish of Day 2
- We now started to get an increase in activity. The trolled squid started to entice strikes. We missed one fish, and pulled the hook on another before finally connecting to the second fish of the day.
- It was Frank’s turn again and he had a good fight with a feisty fish that put on a good surface display:
- By 3pm we’d landed the second fish of the day:
Frank with the second (& last) fish of the session
- Unfortunately, this proved to be the last fish of the session. Despite working hard chasing sporadic bird activity, working poppers and throwing livies, we didn’t get any further significant takes.
- We finished the day with 2 Sailfish, and 5 for the trip. Poor numbers for the time of year.
- As the afternoon drew to a close it was, once again, time (for me) to break out the Tigers and contemplate on a slow, but still enjoyable, day chasing sailfish. I’m due out again in mid October, I’m hoping that the sharks have gone and the fishing is back to it’s usual intensity.
- Once back at port I booked a room for the Sunday night at Rompin River Chalets, as I have too much unused holiday still to take and decided to enjoy the evening having beers with Anthony. The others had to pack up and head back to KL. Scott was travelling to Bangkok house hunting, for his impending work-related move, the following day …. before returning to Rompin on the Thursday to fish the Royal Pahang Billfish Tournament at the weekend ….!
- Now, I need to learn how to tie that FG knot ………
- Scott reported that the fishing was much better the following week during the tournament. They managed to land 29 sailfish n 3 days fishing (19 in the competition, 10 on the practise day) to finish a respectable third place.