Inspired by our previous visit the week before, me and the wife were once again visiting the New NEFFP (my fourth visit in as many weeks …). I was fired up after catching a Chao Phraya Catfish, but also hearing comment from another angler that told us he’s caught six on a previous visit ….! So, the plan was to float fish live baits to try to catch this species. I’d also brought some prawns with me and was keen to see how effective they’d be at this venue.
We left KL at around 3.30pm, but had to stop for water and to check our tyre pressure. Then we headed out on the E1 (Utara-Selatan) Highway. But, we got caught in a jam following an accident. We finally reached out destination at 5.15pm, and commenced fishing at 5.35pm, with very few anglers there making it easy to get our preferred location at the end of the platform on the right-hand side. We were fishing live lampam under a float, with the intention of trying to avoid Amazon Redtails ….!
We were in action immediately – Mako got an Asian Redtail Catfish on the first cast, whilst I was still rigging up my rod. I followed this up 10 minutes later with an Asian Redtail of my own quickly followed by Mako’s third fish:
I then picked up a solitary small Amazon Redtail Catfish:
Then we were hit with another onslaught of predatory Asian Redtails, these fish are streamlined hunters and they absolutely love live-baits (cf the Amazon Redtails, which seem to prefer static dead baits):
As dusk approached I decided to finish off our live-baits on float before switching over to dead bait on a ledger rig, to see if we could entice a different species. The final couple of livies enticed yet more Asian Redtails:
The change to ledgered dead-bait brought a marked change in species. I pinned on a prawn and cast out. It was almost immediately engulfed by a large fish that ran around some unseen submerged structure (a pipe of some sort) at the margin of the pond, despite my best efforts and a decent amount of drag. I could feel the line rasping against the obstruction. I managed to get it moving towards me and it felt free before pulling me into it again. It was only a matter of time until it broke off. But, under steady pressure I regained some line and then felt it swim free. I worked it to the bank for netting – a nice Amazon Redtail, c.12 kg:
My leader was chaffed along its full length. The main-line had also taken some punishment. But I decided to fish on with it as I still had the other rod to change to a ledger rig. I re-baited with another prawn and recast. Whilst I was tying a new rig, the rod took another big strike. Mako picked up and fought our third Amazon cat of the session, another decent sized fish of at least 10 kg:
We then entered a very strange situation. Whilst I was clearing up and putting rubbish in a nearby bin, the prawn bait was taken again. Mako picked up on en evidently big fish that jigged violently before the line went slack. She wound in and all of the leader was gone, just a frayed tag-end of braided line remaining. Very strange. I first though it was lost because of the previous line damage with the earlier big Amazon cat. I quickly tied on a new leader with a double uni knot (no time to re-tie the FG Knot), and added a 40lb wire trace tied to 50lb mono hook-length. Once again I took a strike on the prawn, again violent and erratic jigging and a sawing sensation before the line went slack. This time, the whole hook-length to the swivel was gone ….!! What was going on?? I re-tied my hook-length, again with wire trace and re-set with another prawn bait. 15 minutes later it was exactly the same – a slow take, violent and erratic pulls and then slack line. During the take I felt the line catch against something and then go slack and thought it was gone, then I felt the fish again, experienced a grating of the line and then it went slack again. Once again, the whole 4m or so of leader and hook length was gone. It was similar to what I’d experience before on my first ever visit here, when we encountered alligator gar:
I think that we’d encountered a pack of gar and that the line was taken by one fish and cut-off against the scales of other fish in the school. That’s all I can think of as an explanation. Has anyone else out there experience this? Certainly the violent and erratic jigging and subtle plucking takes were exactly the same when I caught my gar a month back.
Meanwhile, Mako had been persevering with (the usually effective) keli (catfish) bait (the head portion cuts). But had had nothing. Finally she got a strike whilst she was away from here place. I picked up her rod and fought a spirited fish to the bank, a large (but still another) Asian Redtail (#9) for which I only managed to get a quick, poorly focused picture. My first fish on the Saragosa Sw6000 ….. very nice too!
Now, our session was nearing its conclusion. I returned to my rod and retied a leader and recast the remains of my prawn baits. Once again the prawn was quickly taken. I engaged the fish and this time managed to stay buttoned, and brought in a lively fish to the bank that turned out to be an …. yep, you’ve guessed it, Asian Redtail:
Mako continued with the keli dead-bait. Finally, as she was reeling in she felt a pressure on her line. It was heavy but not fighting. She reeled in a large, dead, Amazon Redtail that she’d snagged – it was a large fish of c.15 kg, around RM 1500 worth of stock …!! Sad to see, but an inevitable consequence of catch and release, there will always be some mortality. The pond insists on (and enforces the use of) barbless hooks, which is good, but they should introduce a circle hook only policy for fishing live and dead-baits. We also saw an angler “playing” with his catch by repeatedly, and violently, striking against a fish he was fighting , showing off to his friends – this was sickening and almost guaranteed to cause damage to the fish. I wish the ghillies would be more proactive in stopping such behaviour.
Finally, as I picked up Mako’s rod to wind in for the day I felt a fish on. Mako took over and brought in a tangle of line with an Asian Redtail attached – we’d hooked another anglers broken-off line. This was the 11th Asian Redtail, and final fish our session. It was late and we were tired, sweaty and hungry. It was time to head home. We’d caught 11 Asian and 3 Amazon Redtail Catfish, not including the dead Amazon or the fish that had cut us off multiple times, so it had been a hectic four hours.
Out of interest, the handful of anglers that were in attendance this session were having good success on chicken intestine bait. We saw numerous Amazon Catfish caught, but also a large Mekong (of 25 kg+) and a large Chao Phraya Catfish (of c. 2o kg) also caught on this unpleasant bait. I may have to give it a try on my next visit ……!