Natural Exotic Pond Behrang – Amazons and Asians (09.06.17)

Yes, back yet again ….. it’s becoming an addiction. This will be the last trip for a while though.

Frustrated by losing what we thought to be Alligator Gar last week,  and “interested” to try the chicken intestine bait that proved so effective for fellow anglers the previous week (interested but not keen – I don’t like using bait with the potential to give me food poisoning if I don’t keen my hands completely clean), we were back for another go.

So, baits was a bag of prawns and a pack of frozen chicken guts (RM3 at the pond) plus a small bucket with a concentrated soap solution for hand washing after baiting up …… My target species were gar and Chao Phraya catfish. I was not keen on catching anymore Asian Redtail catfish!

When we arrived the pond was deserted (for the first time ever – Friday afternoon during Ramadan):

Natural Exotic Pond, Behrang

We started fish, my using prawns and the wife on chicken guts. Prawns were definitely the hot bait today. I started picking up Amazon Redtail Catfish, whilst the wife was getting Asian Redtails:

Amazon Redtail Catfish #1

Asian Redtail Catfish #1

Amazon Redtail Catfish #2

Asian Redtail Catfish #2

Despite us landing a couple of fish apiece during the first hour and a half, I was getting many more bites – almost one per cast on prawn bait. The problem is I was getting smashed – dragged under pipes at the edge of the pond and resulting in broken hook lengths and lost leaders. I spend the first couple of hours tying leaders and making up wire traces, and it was hard work in the extreme heat. Some of the lost fish were undoubtedly big Amazon Catfish, but I suspect at least one was an Alligator Gar. We saw no signs of Chao Phraya Catfish though ….!

Mako then hooked into a decent fish that turned out to be a large Asian Redtail, maybe 7 kg or more, a good size here for this species:

Asian Redtail Catfish, c.7 kg

As dusk approached, I was in action with a run of large Amazon Redtails:

Amazon Redtail Catfish #3

Amazon Redtail Catfish #4
The Natural Exotic Pond at dusk

Amazon Redtail Catfish #5

I was still getting plenty of action, but after picking up a small Asian Redtail, decided to move to the south-western corner of the pond  for the last half an hour to see if I could snag a garfish. 

Asian Redtail Catfish #4 & #5

Mako lost what she suspected to be a gar  on the opposite side of the pond to me (violent head shaking and then a pulled hook) before I had a subtle take that didn’t take much line initially, and I thought it was a gar. But as it came closer to the platform it started making strong runs, and another decent Amazon Catfish emerged from the murky waters:

Amazon Redtail Catfish #6

I finished up with another fish with the last prawn bait – a final Asian Redtail. We finished up with 6 Amazon and 5 Asian Redtails. The prawns had won, hands down, over the chicken guts, but at c. 1 RM a prawn vs. RM3 for a packet of guts I can see why the later bait is popular …. We won’t be back for a while – I want different species, I’ve had enough of Redtail Catfish …!!

Posted in (1) Malaysia, (1.15) Natural Exotic Fishing Pond - Behrang, Catfish, Catfish - Amazon Redtail, Catfish - Asian Redtail | 2 Comments

Natural Exotic Pond Behrang – Asian Catfish (02.06.17)

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:

Asian Redtail Catfish #1

Asian Redtail #2

Asian Redtail #3

I then picked up a solitary small Amazon Redtail Catfish:

Amazon Redtail Catfish #1

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):

Asian Redtail #4

Asian Redtail #5

Asian Redtail #6

Natural Exotic Pond at dusk

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:

Asian Redtail #7

Asian Redtail #8

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:

Amazon Redtail #2, 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:

Amazon Redtail #3

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:

Asian Redtail #10

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 ……! 

Stay tuned.

Posted in (1) Malaysia, (1.15) Natural Exotic Fishing Pond - Behrang, Catfish, Catfish - Amazon Redtail, Catfish - Asian Redtail | Leave a comment

New NEFFP Behrang – Mako’s Monsters (26.05.17)

This was my third visit to the New NEFFP at Behrang in the past month. The aims of this visit were as follows:

  1. To fish different parts of the pond to understand where the fish are holding and which areas a favoured by the different species present
  2. To fish the pond on a weekday afternoon to check out how busy it gets (I prefer to fish when it’s not too busy – more choice of fishing spots, less hassle with tangled lines, etc).
  3.  Get Wong a fish or two
  4.  To try out live-baiting
  5.  To give my new Shimano Saragossa SW6000 reel a test
  6. Attempt to catch a Chao Phraya Catfish
  7. To give my FG Knot tying skills additional testing (I’m starting to become more confident in my ability to tie this knot, but a few more trials will certainly help)

I was taking my mate Wong from the office on his second ever fishing trip (he was sea-sick on our last trip and skunked) and get him to land a decent size catfish or two. I spent an hour preparing tackle and tying new 40lb mono leader with FG knots onto my Stella SW6000HG and the new Saragosa SW6000 reel, with the plan to head out of KL by 2.30pm to fish from 3.30pm.  At the last minute, just before we were due to leave KL, the wife decided she’d like to join, and I decided we’d change and use her car as it is bigger. After packing an extra rod and reel we loaded the car and, after going to the garage to top up the Touch n Go card, finally headed up the North-South highway to Behrang in light mid-afternoon Friday traffic.

We were behind schedule, and finally arrived at the pond just after 4.00pm. It was busier than I expected, but much quieter than on my previous two visits. I put together four rods (one each plus a back-up), we signed in and collected out baits – 10 small lampam live-baits and 5 keli (catfish) to be butchered and cut into thirds to use as dead-bait. I rigged up two rods with ledger rigs for Mako and Wong and fixed a sliding float rig for fishing live-bait for myself. I plumbed the area we were about to fish – I wanted to fish about 1m off bottom – and found the depth was deeper than my c.4m of leader and hook-length, so I could use the leader knot as my float stop knot ….. perfect! This was the rig I was going to use to try to entice a Chao Phraya Catfish (I wanted to be off bottom to try to avoid amazon Redtails).

After I completed rigging-up we finally commenced fishing at about 4.40pm. We opted to fish at the end of the jetty, fishing the north-western corner of the pond. Whilst I was helping out Mako and Wong with their gear and baits, my live-bait was snatched. I picked up and started working the fish but pulled the hook. I reset and waited. It wasn’t long before I had another take and brought in the first fish of the day, a spirited Asian Redtail:

Asian Redtail Catfish #1 

Twenty minutes later, Mako got a good strike on her catfish head dead-bait and picked up to do battle with a powerful fish. She was using the new Saragossa reels, and it was up to the task of handling the big fish. Mako did a good job of turning the fish and bringing it was from the aerator paddles and associated metal-work at the northern edge of the pond. After an good fight, she brought in a big Amazon Redtail Catfish to the net, a fish of at least 15 kg:

Mako’s 1st monster fish – Amazon Redtail #1 (c.15 kg)

We now entered into an active feeding period. It was Wong’s turn next, he had a good strike fishing on the west side of the jetty, and was surprised at the power of is first Amazon Redtail, a modest fish of c.6 kg:

Wong’s first Amazon Redtail Catfish

The hits were starting to come thick and fast on ledgered dead-bait. Mako was in action again next, bringing in a spirited Amazon Redtail:

Asian Redtail Catfish #2

Barely 5 minutes later she was in action again.. This time she was into a prolonged battle with an obviously big fish, the second of her monster fish for the day. This fish fought long and hard, doggedly putting up resistance even when close to the jetty. It was a good test for Mako, the Saragossa SW6000 reel and my FG knot:

Mako (and Saragossa SW6000 reel) in battle with a monster fish

After at least 5 minutes of tug-o-war, a large Amazon Redtail Catfish eventually succumbed to the pressure and was finally brought to the net. This was a big monster fish, the largest Amazon Redtail that I’ve ever seen caught at either this or the old Natural Exotic Pond. It was at least 20 kg. Unfortunately, the pictures don’t do it justice as Mako was unable to pick it up properly to hold it, as it was too heavy for her:

Mako’s second monster fish of the day – Amazon Redtail #3 (c.20 kg +)

Meanwhile, I’d moved across to fish the north-eastern corner of the pond – Wong had told the ghillie that I was after a Chao Phraya catfish, and he’d told me to try that area. I soon had a bite on a small lampam livey, but pulled the hook. I re-cast and was bit almost immediately. I set the hook and was in battle with a powerful fish that made short, strong runs and frequent changes of direction. After a short battle, I saw a sickle -shaped fin break the surface as the fish neared the jetty and I redoubled my concentration as I knew it was my target species. A few tense minutes later, the ghille was able to slip the net under the fish and I was able to relax, content in my trophy catch – a fat Chao Phraya Catfish probably touching 15 kg. Another trophy fish on what is turning out to be (after a sort-after Alligator Gar on its very  first outing) a very luck Stella SW6000 fishing reel:

Chao Phraya Catfish (c.15 kg)

Immediately after I landed my fish, Mako was in action again, bringing in yet another  large Amazon catfish:

Amazon Redtail Catfish #4

She quickly followed up this fish with an Asian Redtail:

Asian Redtail Catfish #3

It was now only just after 6pm and it was shaping up to be a very successful visit (we had until 8.20pm left to fish on our 4 hour ticket …!). The pond was now, however, starting to get busy as people turned up to fish the early evening. Some anglers to our left were starting to have frequent strikes on earth-worm baits. Wong, was not faring so well though and was unable to get a bite, despite switching to worm baits. Eventually, he did get a hit from a decent fish (on a worm-catfish chunk bait cocktail) but unfortunately got dragged under the aerator wheel structure and got broken off. 

I was still doing ok at the NE corner as I used up the last of the live-baits. I landed two Asian Redtail’s in quick succession, one slipped out of my grasp before I could get a photo, the other was a darkly coloured specimen:

Asian Redtail Catfish #5

 We now started to enter a lull as the later afternoon dusk approached. Other anglers were starting to have success, one group in particular were getting a strike a cast – they were using offal from cow or pig – stomach and heart as far as I could gather. Each time they got a fish, they were pulled towards the north of the pond, frequently crossing Mako’s line and disrupting her fishing. They were smashed a number of times but also started landing a succession of good sized Amazon Redtails. I also lost another fish on live-bait ….. I was bitten off and could feel the line getting sawed through within seconds of hook-up …. gar??

As dusk approached, and the live-bait supply had been used up, I switched to a ledger rig to go for Amazon’s. It was slow going but I started to get the odd bit of attention and picked up my first Amazon Redtail of the session after about 20 minutes:

Amazon Redtail Catfish #5

After a quiet hour for us, we started getting strikes again. Unfortunately, both Mako and Wong got smashed by decent fish – Mako lost two to structure whilst Wong pulled the hook on one fish and then got broken off by structure. I,on the other hand, managed to land a succession of good sized Amazons, all in the 10-15 kg range:

Amazon Redtail Catfish #6

Amazon Redtail Catfish #7

Amazon Redtail Catfish #8

With broken rigs, the clock running down and exhaustion from the heat and battle, it was time to wrap-up the session. And what a great session it had been – we’d landed 14 fish to 20 kg +, with many fish 10 kg + in weight, and had got a coveted Chao Phraya catfish. Mako had landed two monster Amazon’s on the Saragosa SW6000 reel and Wong had caught his first ever catfish. My FG knots had been given a punishing test and past with flying colours. Finally, I’d learned a lot more about this new fishery, and now have a much better idea of where to fish and what to expect from different parts of the pond. All objectives had been achieved.

Posted in (1) Malaysia, (1.15) Natural Exotic Fishing Pond - Behrang, Catfish, Catfish - Amazon Redtail, Catfish - Asian Redtail, Catfish - Chao Phraya | Leave a comment

Natural Exotic Pond, Behrang – Amazon Catfish (10.05.17)

My first visit to this new fishing location, almost two weeks before, was both frustrating and rewarding. Rewarding in the fact that I caught my first legitimate (not foul hooked) alligator gar. But frustrating in that it was extremely busy on the previous visit, with limited space to fish and we ended up with only the solitary gar between me and my fishing mate. On that first exploratory trip we’d had only a handful of bites and had suffered from bit-offs, pulled hooks and broken clips compounding the slow bite.

So, I was keen to give it another kick, this time on a (hopefully) quieter mid-week day. This time I was fishing with the wife on her first visit to the new NEFFP. As anticipated, it was a lot quieter than my previous visit and I had some choice of spots. This time we opted to fish near the end of the platform on the right-hand side. It  started off just like my previous visit ….. very slow. My wife notice some fish rises behind us on the left-hand side of the platform. After an hour with no luck we switched sides and, slowly, our luck changed.

I was in action first, with a plump Amazon Redtail Catfish, taken in the rain:

Amazon Redtail Catfish #1 in the rain

Fighting Amazon Redtail Catfish #2

I followed up half an hour later with another:

Amazon Redtail Catfish #2

It was, however, still slow as dusk approached.

New Natural Exotic Pond – west side at dusk

I managed to catch the third fish just before 7 pm, another Amazon:

Amazon Redtail Catfish #3

The wife was struggling to get a bite and was starting to get frustrated and beginning to moan. Finally, just after dark she got a good take and was rewarded with her only fish, but the biggest of the session:

Mako with Amazon Redtail #4

Finally, as time ebbed away I procured one last fish to close out the session. Yet anotehr Amazon Redtail:

Amazon Redtail Catfish #5

It turned out to be a reasonable second visit, but still slow compared to our experience of the old NEFFP in Rawang. Still, it was evident that there was a lot to learn about the various secrets of this new venue. I will return!

Posted in (1) Malaysia, (1.15) Natural Exotic Fishing Pond - Behrang, Catfish, Catfish - Amazon Redtail | 2 Comments

New Natural Exotic Fishing Pond Behrang – Alligator Gar (30.04.17)

It was yet another long public holiday weekend. Me and Jochen decided to give the newly opened Natural Exotic Fishing Pond in Behrang a try.  The pond had only officially opened to the public two days before on the Friday and I was concerned that it would be very busy – but we thought that the long weekend may have resulted in people taking advantage travelling back to home-towns to see relatives, etc. Well, that idea didn’t materialise – when we arrived it was packed, and the car park was full.

We took 15 minutes to check out the place before deciding to fish. It was interesting to see the new place – it was obvious that a lot of money and effort had been put into the facility. The pond is broadly rectangular in shape, approximately 140m long and 115m wide. It is bisected by a 100m long central fishing “jetty”. This jetty is a double-decked structure c.14m wide. The lower deck is tiled and with built in central seating, and includes a toilet block. Fresh water hoses are located strategically along both sides, and their are inbuilt fishing rod tube holders (flush to ground level) regularly spaced along the platform:

New Natural Exotic Fishing Pond, Behrang [Google Earth]

Angling is only allowed from this central fishing jetty, which is covered for 85m of it’s length with a metal roof. The upper deck is a viewing area and also set up with tables and chairs, presumably it will be available for private functions. There is also a restaurant on the eastern side set alongside a large fish pen full of various species of carp, arawana, catfish and gar. As with the old Natural Exotic, live-bait pens are present offering lampan and keli live (or, if preferred, dead) baits. So, very well set-up, but certainly not natural and now even more industrialised, with concrete, tiles and close proximity to other anglers. On the other hand, it is full of an impressive array of exotic, very large and hard fighting fish ….. which is why we come here ….!!!

Natural Exotic Pond , Behrang- viewed from our location in the south-west of the pond

And so to fishing. As already stated, it was extremely busy. We decided to fish but the only space available was in the south-western corner where the pond becomes asymmetric and narrows into a small corner. So, we rigged up – I was trying out a new Stella SW6000HG for the first time and was keen to give it a work-out. Jochen was using my old Penn 6500ss that he just purchased from me. Both reels were spooled with 30lb braid and with 40lb leaders that I tied with FG knots – another tackle test. For bait we’d brought pilchards that Jochen had picked up from the market (we weren’t sure if the bait operation was going to be in operation).

Stella SW6000HG and view of the western side of the venue

New toy – Stella SW6000HG ready for action

We cast out and waited. It was slow …. very slow. The occasional fish was being caught at various locations around the pond, including to our left right in the small corner. But it was generally slow, and completely dead for us. We started to doubt our (sea-fish) dead-bait. Jochen switched to a lampam live-bait from the nearby bait tank . Eventually he got a tentative take that didn’t hook up. Then, after almost two hours, I started getting a strange plucking on my line. I wound in to find my bait was partially shredded. I re-cast to the same location, hard against the eastern wall, and the same thing again. I picked up the rod and felt pressure. I immediately wound down and a decent fish started violent head shakes and short runs. It didn’t remotely feel like a catfish, and I was suspecting a gar. An then the inevitable happened and my mono leader got cut. Damn, almost certainly a garfish, one of the species on my wish list.

I was certain that I wouldn’t get another shot at a garfish. So, I re-rigged with mono leader, a larger 5/0 circle hook and re-cast my bait to the same location. I was surprised when, within a few minutes, I had another subtle plucking bite. I waited with the reel in free spool until the line started moving then I flicked the bail and wound down and was hooked-up on an evidently good sized fish. Once again the fight was characterised by violent jigging and short runs. I kept the rod vertical and high, and kept the line taught at all times to minimise the chance of a bite-off if it was indeed a gar. Then I saw it, a large Alligator Gar emerged from the cloudy green water. My first legitimate Alligator Gar. I became completely focused on landing this fish and quickly brought it to the waiting net.

My first Alligator Gar . I was elated and it certainly made up for the extremely slow fishing. A nicely conditioned fish (except for another hook in its jaw from a previous encounter with an angler) which I would guess to be c.8 kg, with very sharp scales ….!

Alligator Gar on the jetty

This was my first fish on the new Stella, which easily handled the short runs from this fish. The FG knot held up well too. A good first tackle test.

Alligator Gar, c.8 kg

Alligator Gar – ready for release

A couple of quick pictures and then the fish was released. I was very satisfied – that fish had made my trip.

Now it was Jochen’s turn. He had a similar subtle bits and was hooked-up to another fish that seemed to be a gar before he was suddenly off, bitten through the mono leader. That was 3 bites from garfish. We both switched to wire leader in an attempt to catch more, and I was soon experiencing another subtle take. I picked up the rod, felt some light resistance and then the line went slack – I reeled in only to find my entire rig and c.3m of 40lb leader gone. It was like it had been bitten off, or I theorised, cut through against the scales of a second garfish that was passing by as the bait was taken. It was very odd, but it was cut-off with a taught line, but with only mild load. Definitely a cut-off rather than a break-off …!!

As I was re-rigging my leader, Jochen was in action once again. This was another subtle bite, but the fish was making stronger runs than the previous hook-ups, and I was begining to suspect an even bigger garfish. But then the fish broke surface, an Amazon Redtail of around 8 kg or so. It turned and made another powerful run before escaping from the line. When Jochen reeled in we could see that the fish had broken the clip on his leader.

We fished on for another half an hour of so until the end of our session without any furtehr action. It had been extremely slow, but I was happy with my catch. It was interesting to see the new pond – I will try it out again soon, but will wait until it settles down, with less anglers and more space to explore and test the waters.

Posted in (1) Malaysia, (1.15) Natural Exotic Fishing Pond - Behrang, Garfish, Alligator | Leave a comment

Fish Valley, Semenyih – Public Holiday Pacu (24.04.17)

Another public holiday in Malaysia, and back again for another attempt at generating a pacu feeding frenzy. We came armed once again with expired buns – this time though we had two sacks of buns …..! What could possible go wrong?

Well, being as it was a public holiday it was very busy when we arrived at the pond. Our preferred fishing spots were already taken. And …. it was raining! We decided to fish in the southern part of the pond, where we’d finished our last session here. Unfortunately, I preferred spot here was also taken, so we opted for the south-east bank.

I quickly rigged up in the light rain whilst Mako started chumming with buns. We got some surface activity and within 20 minutes or so Mako was hooked up to her first fish – a decent pacu of c.5 kg:

Pacu #1, c.5 kg

After that promising start it was slow going though. Despite activity in our chum line, we had very little activity – we were getting fish taking the buns but without hooking up – presumably small fish, lampam in particular. There was also a suspicion of big-head carp in the swim – these fish will slurp off the bait, often without hooking up.

Finally, an hour after our first fish I got my first decent take, and pulled in a greedy, but small, baung:


A frustrating afternoon progressed into early evening and, finally, activity started to pick up. Mako started to get bites in a little embayment to her right.  She hooked up a big fish and fought it to the bank, only for me to miss it with the first attempt at netting. The fish turned and then bit off …..! But Mako soon got over her disappointment with another fish a few minutes later, smaller that the lost fish, but still a respectable c.4 kg:

Pacu #2, c. 4 kg

We then entered another lull, before I finally got my first pacu strike of the session, another fish of around 4 kg. I brought it to the net. But whilst unhooking the fish on the bank it managed to wriggle out of the fish grip (I hadn’t locked it shut as I’m a bit concerned that this fish grip design may damage the fish’s mouth when clicked shut- it applies a lot of pressure to the grip pincer) and managed to flop into the pond before I could get a picture.

Now, with dusk drawing in, Mako hooked up again and landed her third, and the smallest, pacu of the session:

Pacu #4

That fish was the last , in what was a disappointing session, despite us chumming heavilty with buns. Were we in the wrong place, or did we over chum? It didn’t seem like anyone was catching much around the pond on this day. Did the weather play a part?

Red sky at night over Fish Valley

I rigged down and we packed up in a cloudy, red sky, once again in light rain.

Posted in (1) Malaysia, (1.05) - Fish Valley Semenyih, Main Pond, Catfish, Java Barb (Lampam), Pacu | Leave a comment

Kuala Rompin – Car Trouble Tenggiri (8-9th April 2017)

My first visit to Rompin, and my first visit to the salt this year! This trip was to chase the elusive tenggiri (Narrow-Barred Spanish Mackerel). Beside me, the other anglers were Jochen Kassan and Noru Razak.

I left KL on Friday, in the early afternoon as usual. Jochen was going to travel on his motorbike and Noru was also going to travel independently and meet us there. As I was pulling out of the Petronas Service station in the hills near Betong on the Kuantan-Karak highway, I heared a loud crack. I checked my gauges and the car’s performance but all seemed well. It was maybe an hour later when I noticed a significant impact mark on the left hand side of the windscreen – a 50 cent diameter, compound impact crater. Damn …. a bad start. Things got worse as I reached Pekan. I took a call from Noru informing me that his card had overheated an that he was stuck at Muadzam Shay, about an hour out from Rompin – his estimated time of arrival at the Rompin river Chalets was uncertain ….! Bad omens for the trip ahead? Well, I’m not superstitious … and Noru eventually arrived at the base around 10pm, so we were in good shape for the following day!

The news at the dock was that the sailfish fishing was very slow, but that tenggiri and dorado were around to be fished.

Day 1 (8th April)

After a slow start to the session, with it taking some time to get enough baits, we started the search for tenggiri action. We didn’t have to go far until we found a game boat working a weed and flotsam line. We spend 30 minutes working it with lures but had no takes. We were then on the hunt once again, and soon found birds and a few boats. We set up a drift with a live-bait whilst we commenced casting pintail and similar sinking plugs.

We soon had our first strike on the live-bait. I picked up the rod and started to work what I hoped to be a tenggiri to the boat. I was disappointed when a large todak (garfish), or “Singapore Marlin”, came into view. Still, it was nice to get on the scoreboard, and was fun on the light set-up. It was also a first saltwater test of my FG knot tying skills…

Todak (a.k.a Singapore Marlin)

We reset our spread and contimued to fish the area. The Captain was in action next, hooking a sailfish on a clone Jackson Pintail 40g lure. Jochen took on the fight, and it was a surprisingly long fight from a juvenile Sailfish on the light tackle set-up (20lb braid and a Shimano 4000 size reel). We brough the fish on-board for pictures and to implant a tag. Noru has set-up with tagging equipment, which was a first for me to see. After successfully tagging the fish, it was quickly revived and released:

Noru tagging Jochen’s Sailfish

Jochen with juvenile Sailfish

Successfully tagged

The Captain followed this with another take, which didn’t hook, and a further follow from small sailfish curious about his pintail clone. He then snagged a small barracuda, again on lure. It was a good start to the first part of the day.

Then one of the live-baits, fished on my new 2008 model Stella SW8000HG,went off. It was being fished on a drop-back loose drag, and after a couple of surface breaches it took off on a long run as I frantically tightened and set the drag. It ran be 150m behind the boat, before jumping and throwing the hook.

We gave the area another hour or so, but despite a few bite-offs, we had no further action. We decided to head to an unjam (FAD), tie up, fish live-baits and lures and eat lunch.

At our first FAD, it started off slowly, despite having live-bait out off the stern and all three of us, plus the Captain, having spells of casting lures. We decided to have lunch and then moved to another FAD.

At the second FAD, the action started hotting up – the Caprain gad a strike and got bitten off whilst casting pintail copies. He passed the second fish to my, only for it to bite off yet again – the dangers of fishing for mackerel without wire. We’d debated this – the thought that wire leader makes the mackerel wary, versus the chance of bite-off. Up until that point, both Jochen and I, both fishing with wire leader, hadn’t garnered even a single strike ……

But then things changed …..

I was working a small pintail along the edge of the unjam float when I had my first strike … a lively fish that I was convinced was a tenggiri, until a small barracuda came into view:

Barracuda on Jackson Pintail

I followed that in quick succession by another small fish, this time a tenggiri. My mackerel curse continued though as the Captain managed to knock the small fish from my lure as tried to gaff it. I really do have bad luck with mackerel ….!! The fish escaped unscathed (but I did have the leader on the rod …. so an IGFA legal catch and release …!!).  All I could do was burst out laughing at the situation. But I redeemed myself about 15 minutes later when I had another hit alongside the float line. This was a much better fish and after a short fight, with a number of sizzling runs, I brought a nice 4kg tenggiri to gaff:

Tenggiri (Narrow Barred Spanish Mackerel)

Just 10 minutes later it was Jochen’s turn. His newly purchased Halco C-Gar lure got struck by another decent tenggiri, again of 4kg, that he quickly subdued and brought to the gaff.

Jochen’s tenggiri

Finally, as the day drew to a close, Noru was in action. He hooked a good sized yellowtail barracuda of c.5kg that gave a reasonable fight on light tackle. We rounded off the day with the Captain bringing in a small tenggiri to compensate for the previous poor gaff shot – this one was dinner for the evening.

Noru’s Barracuda

The evening’s dinner …!

After things went quiet, we started the journey back, making brief stops along the way, but with no further action. It had been a reasonable first day and I was looking forward to cold beer and a fresh tenggiri dinner!

Back at the dock, some good catches of tenggiri and dorado were on dirplay, and we decided to head towards Tioman Island area for Day 2 to try for more mackerel and possibly some dollies.

Score for day 1:

  • 4 tenggiri
  • 1 Sailfish
  • 3 barracuda

Day 2 (9h April)

We started day 2 with anticipation – we were going to go to Tioman to hunt tenggiri. But, once again, bait was hard to come by and we had another slow start to the day. It had initially looked good, as our mate had hooked-up to a decent sized Great Barracuda at our first unjam, but that proved to be a rare piece of action:

Great Barracuda

Out optimism was blunted after we then went through a number of FAD stops without any signs of activity or any action.

Searching for fish

We slowly worked our way towards FADs located within the Tioman area. It became apparent to us that all boats were struggling – reports of the odd sail here, an occasional tenggiri there came over the radio, but the general message was that everyone was struggling. We worked hard, casting lures repeatedly at each FAD stop together with live-baiting from the stern, all without even a strike to raise our hopes.

We did have the misfortune of snagging a juvenile frigate bird as Jochen was paying out a lure off the stern port side. It was released without harm a few minutes later:

Captain TX with a Frigate Bird ready for release

Later in the day we tied up at yet another FAD. It continued to be slow. Another boat tied up about 40m from us at quickly had a double hook-up with large cobia. They lost one but, after a 30 minute fight on light tackle, brought a c.25kg+ cobia to gaff. 5 minutes later, 3 large cobia appeared alongside their boat but couldn’t be enticed to eat, even with live-bait …!

As the afternoon wore on, me and Jochen decided to call an early end to the trip – the fishing was non-existent and we had a long drive back to KL ahead of us. When we wound in out live-bait we found that it had been sancocho’d – surgically dissected in half by a wily tenggiri that had skilfully managed to avoid the second stinger hook fixed towards the back of the bait:

Sancocho’d sardine

It was a another sign to give-up. Sometime you have to admit defeat and know when your are beaten. We called it a day and headed back to the dock for an early start on the journey back to KL. Except for Jochen, that was not the end of the story …! On the way back his bike broke-down as he reached the Betong Toll, around 50km outside of KL. Despite this being the interconnected electronic smart-phone age we still need humans (at the current time, at least) to drive taxi’s – and they proved impossible to get. Jochen finally made it back too KL around 4 hours later, sans bike, courtesy of friends from Shah Alam. We’d caught some tenggiri, but they proved to be a very expensive quarry given the additional cost in car and bike repairs suffered by all three of us on the trip. Car trouble tenggiri indeed!!

Score for day 1:

1 great barracuda …!!

Posted in (1) Malaysia, (1.01) - Kuala Rompin, Barracuda, Garfish, Mackerel - Narrow Barred Spanish (Kingfish, Tenggiri), Sailfish | Leave a comment