ROYAL BELUM STATE PARK, PERAK – 30 AUG 2013
Back in 2008 when I watch a CD titled Kelah Heaven by Life Publisher highlighting Fresh Water fishing for Mahseer (Kelah) and Hampala Barb (Sebarau) in Kuala Tahan, National Park. It was captivating to see large Kelah and Sebarau can be caught in shallow rapids using hard lures and spoons. With beautiful scenery as the background, we could only dream back then going into the heart of Malaysian Rainforest.
It has been a year since I’ve started fishyology.com, sharing and building knowledge across many channel and thank you to all my readers and responders in ensuring fishyology.com would strive for excellence. Your feedback and suggestions are greatly appreciated. In celebrating fishyology.com first year anniversary, I have decided to venture into unknown territory, experiencing Malaysia’s freshwater fishing in Royal Belum State Park in Perak. The expedition took 4 days from 30th Aug until 2nd of Sept and I will divide my future post according to daily report.
The Royal Belum State Park is a vast park situated in the northern parts of Peninsular Malaysia. It is part of the even bigger Belum-Temengor Forest Complex (BTFC) that is shared with Thailand. Together with Taman Negara National Park and it is recorded as an oldest rain-forest in world, dating back over 130 million years. Royal Belum is a state park and not an official National Park. This means that local government is allowed to use the area for production forest and it is open for future development. There are efforts to get the government to gazette Belum as a national park, though up till now only a part of the huge forest is conserved and protected as state park. Belum has the potential to become one of Malaysia’s premier eco-tourism destinations, if managed well.
Relive our childhood dream!! And now we have reached Royal Belum State Park
Royal Belum State Park.. Yeap we are here!
The Iconic bridge connecting Pulau Banding and the mainland
This expedition took 4 month of planning and recruiting, and I only manage to entice 3 other angler Badrul, Azmi and Anuar to join me along with Mr. Azizul from Exagates Adventures Enterprise (Guide) and Mr Rahim as our State Park Guide. I’ve noticed that a jungle trekking trip requires a lot effort in-terms of physical and mental preparation and burning passion and motivation to reach the desired fishing spot. Not to mentioned proper equipment, terminal tackle and other supplies that can be use over the course of 4 days. We are lucky and thankful that we have chosen the right guide for this trip and Mr. Azizul was very knowledgeable and he guide and consult us with the required stuff to bring.
We begin our journey on the 29th of August and reached Grik, Perak at 4am in the morning. We stopped over for breakfast and purchase some food supply at the market. We are still indecisive over our final destination. We are given two options either we camped at Jeram Ketir which is 3 hours walking distance or Sang Hor, 5 hours walking distance. We are eager to head to Sang Hor, but with limited anglers and low fitness level, we decided to head to Jeram Ketir. The journey took 1 hour from the main jetty to Sg. Kejar and another 4 hours of jungle trekking from Sg.Kejar to Jeram Ketir.
After unpacking all our gears and supplies, we begin our 1 hour journey up north via boat. We are required to stop at the Perhilitan checkpoint to receive our permit and after that we head north towards Sg Kejar. Such a fascinating experience and we can see the beautiful nature of Royal Belum and also some native village situated along the lake. As we are closer to Sg. Kejar the water way become narrower suggesting that we are at the gate way of the main source of water to Tasik Banding.
The journey from Sg Kejar to Jeram Ketir was challenging as we need to maneuver along the banks of the river, heading deeper into the jungle. The journey took 5 hours walking towards Jeram Ketir and we move across difficult and slippery terrain. With heavy supplies on our back, it seems impossible to reach our destination. Half way along the road, I started to have doubts and thinking, what am I doing here, halfway near the border in the middle of this thick jungle. I manage to gather all my final strength and push forward one step at a time and finally I’ve reached Jeram Ketir.
Nature at its best 🙂
Belum Eco Resort, great for tourist but not for explorers like us hahaha
River intersection heading towards Tasik Temenggor
Our journey to Jeram Ketir begins!
Once we’ve reached Jeram Ketir, seeing and brown colored water was not what I have expected. It must have been raining upstream causing the the river to be filled with sediments. We only hoped condition will improve tomorrow. Setting up base camp will be our priority as it is already late in the evening. With great team work, we manage to setup our tent and main base camp for our 4 day stay in Jeram Ketir. Preparing our bait is another important task to be completed. Using palm oil seed plus with other ingredients, the bait needs to be fermented at least for 2 day before we could use it as bait. It will soften with fermented smell makes it an attractant for Mahseer and other species.
Summarized our first day, we only focused on setting up our camp site, and lost some opportunity to fish for Hampala Barb @ Sebarau or Mahseer @ Kelah as the water condition is not suitable for bait fishing as well as casting lures and spoon. It was still raining at night but that does not stop us to begin our fishing but luck was not on our side. We slept early to ensure we have enough energy for tomorrow. At night is was very cold due to the rain and not bringing a blanket was a setback. The tent was soaking water luckily our hammock were used to cover our tent. Not a pleasant experience but we have anticipated this and endure it. Sound of the jungle takes place from your usual bustling city noise and it is creepy at first but then you get used to it and we fall asleep marking the end of day one..
We have reached our destination 🙂
Catching our breath before setting up our base camp
Along demonstrate how to prepare our bait, combination of palm oil seed and coconut flesh
First look at Jeram Ketir, the water was a bit murky than the usual crystal clear water
Our base camp is up and ready! We will stay here for 4 day and 3 nights
Anuar manage to begin his fishing session and landed a baby Sebarau @ Hampala Barb on spoon.. Great stuff haha
Small stream connecting to the main river, this will be our main source for clean water