BAGAN DATOH, PERAK – 1 MAR 2015
I have heard about Bagan Datoh over the years for its lucrative fishing spot for Common Snakehead aka Haruan, Tarpon and Barramundi. This is due to the interconnecting irrigation system that are connected with the sea. This man made irrigation system has created a new ecosystem for the three species to thrive and spawn deep into native mainland. To start exploring Bagan Datoh I guess requires a local guide and I was lucky as Kak Liya and Abg Sabri was kind enough to show me around Bagan Datoh.
Start my day early and it took me one hour to reach Kak Liya’s house in Ijok. Pickup both of them and last minute Along MBS join in for our humble leisure trip haha. Another 1 and half hour drive we reach the first spot in Bagan Datoh. We made several stop along the way for breakfast and purchase some live frogs.. yes live ones and still kicking haha. We ordered about 100 of live frogs for today’s fishing, that gives us the opportunity to land 100 Haruan? The first spot situated just before the Bagan Datoh jetty, a small man made waterway covered with water lily and other top water plantation provides a good ambush spot for Haruan. We started the the session using live frogs for bait as I want to experience the basic way of fishing Haruan.
First fishing spot for today, its a perfect place to land my first haruan 🙂
Fishing for snakehead is not a straight forward cast and retrieve cycle as I thought. Several first few cast along the underwater structure manage to capture some of Haruan intention to have a go at my bait. Abg Sabri share his experience that the best way is always to work the bait as if it was still alive. Working the bait begins from the water banks, slowly retrieve it on top of any floating vegetation. The Haruan usually strikes when the bait was about to jump into the water. The vibration from the movement of the frog entice the Haruan to follow it and from there, I was getting better bite rate.
It was the basic movement of a live frog, heading down into the water that created the natural looks and feel of the bait. From that moment , presenting the bait is only limited by your imagination. To me it was a creative way of fishing and a finesse game. Landing one however was another game altogether. More like barramundi fishing, we need to give some slack line in order to get a good hook up of the fish. Several tries even towards the end of the day, I fail to land any on live frogs. I just can’t get the timing right.
Clip swivel and a fishing hook is all you need for the traditional frog rig for Haruan fishing
To be honest, it was disgusting but I got to do it anyway for you guys to try out haha
No matter how our life seems to tangled pretty bad, it only takes patience to untangled it 🙂
Fishing in this are requires the anglers to be on full alert of the surrounding area. The risks of finding snakes and huge lizards is quite common in the area. Kak Liya sessions was cut short because of lure was taken by a huge lizard. It causes the mainline to overflow and tangled. Along and Abg Sabri spend 2 hours to rectify the problem and to my surprise they manage to solve it!!
While they sort things out. I manage to land my first Haruan using Kak Liya killer bait. The idea of incorporating spinners and soft plastic grub seems to be a good bet in capturing most of the species available in this water. Several times tarpons took the Kak Liya’s killer custom spinner bait but I did not manage to land it as they can easily unhooked it self. We ended our first session around 4pm and had our late evening tea at local shop. We head back several kilometers towards Hutan Melintang and stop by at a palm oil plantation for our last fishing spot of the day.
Finally my first Haruan on lure 🙂 safely released back into the water
The second fishing spot was a newly developed palm oil plantation, most probably 1-2 years old. The plantation would have small and narrow irrigation system and that will be where all the Haruan would stay low and ambush its pray. It was not long when my Zman Crazy Tail SP were taken by what it seems to be a decent size Haruan. Fights pretty hard and pulling it out from heavy cover seems bit hard as I was on a light setup but this time I won the battle 🙂
I got chance to look at it closely and clearly it has a distinctive snake alike head. It was a good size over a foot long but I’m not sure about the weight though. This place is literally filled with Haruan from baby size to 2ft long snakeheads. I tried using frog as bait but still can’t get the rhythm right a switch to my SP.
After countless tries, finally scores one thanks to ZMan SP 🙂
The last 2 hours was a battle of a lifetime. Countless strikes but my opponent still have an upper hand, stealing every bait that I throw at them. Abg Sabri was very good, clearly his experience was showcased during the final 2 hours. Landed more than 8 good size Haruan over 1ft long. Bit dazzled by the fact he is clearly in the zone when he cast his bait into the water. While I still struggle to find the rhythm using frog as bait, I switched back to my SP lure.
My final cast towards the end of the day handed me my third Haruan of the day. Such a relief when my lure selection finally give me the result that I want. Another juvenile size and a good keeper. A total tally of 15 keepers was good enough for me. It was a long way drive back to KL, total 3 hours drive from Bagan Datoh to Kajang. Definitely return to this place later this year to land my first Tarpon as my next target. Thank you again for reading and a big thanks to Kak Liya and Abg Sabri and Along for joining this trip and share me the technique on how to fish the common snakehead 🙂
My grand master, haha. Thank you!!
My final Haruan of the day! Satisfied and certified 🙂
Irrigation system that runs across a Palm Oil Plantation