JARAK ISLAND, PERAK – 1 MAY 2016
Happy Labor Day to all my fellow readers, and what better way to spend a long weekend then to go out fishing, especially Salt Water outing to Jarak Island, Perak. Mr Devis Lim contacted Fishyology around mid 2015 and booked themselves a trip to Jarak Island on board the GT Chaser. After months of planning and feedback, finally the day has come for us to set sail for another adventure chasing GT’s. Devis and his team are all from Singapore, usually goes out to Miri, Sarawak for their annual oversea trip. This year, the tide has change and this will be their first ever SW fishing trip over the west coast of Malaysia.
Asrazi fill in the seat as my wingman for the next three days. After missing out January outing, surely he wants to get his jigging season going. We set off to Bagan Datoh as early as 4.00am in the morning. The drive took us around 5 hours to reach Bagan Datoh, and along the way I manage to pickup 100 live mantis prawn from Mr Chia of Bagan Tengkorak. As soon as we reach the place, we take a break by having our breakfast at a local mamak stall. We are all excited to be here, and a major SW expedition is welcoming feat as we have been very busy with FW outing over the course of 2 month.
DAY 1 – 29 APR 2016
There is a major up-lift happening in Bagan Datoh town. The usual main jetty to board the mighty chaser were under construction thanks to the new waterfront development that are underway and should complete by the end of 2016. We set sail around 10.30am and the journey will took us 4 hours to reach of first fishing spot. We took this opportunity to gear up and prepare all our fishing equipment. I doze off after an early drive. The weather are expected to be raining on the first day but only dark cloud formation over Pulau Sembilan can be seen. It was clear all the way to Jarak, only the sea were a bit choppy.
The tides were fabulous based on the charts, hopefully this will be a memorable trip. Half way through, we had our lunch. As usual, on the menu is Ijat’s scrumptious Prawn Curry and deep fried crispy fish. Simply delicious. Another 2 hours of sleep finally we reach our first jigging spot. The famous drop-off area probably 5-10 miles from the main Island. A spot famous for Snappers and Groupers. Devis scored a beautiful Golden Snapper on his slow fall jig. Soon after that, every one follow through scoring their first catch of Jarak Island. Good to see everyone is performing well, and I had only one nibble and that was it. The wind doesn’t show’s that its going to go away soon and a choppy sea sometimes a bit hard to cope after months of Fresh Water outing haha.
I guess it takes some time for my body to adjust and I sit out most of the jigging session. With the smell of diesel fume coming out from the Chaser’s belly knocked me out for good for Day 1 session. Rarely happens but yeah it’s just one of those days. Captain Ah Ho moved on from fishing off the drop-off and head closer to the Island for our short casting session along the coastal of Jarak Island. It’s low tide and not the best time for Popping and Casting session, but we tried out anyway. Equipped with Yamaga Blank PE4 Blue Sniper, I cast out my sinking lure and just the lure about to reach the boat, I hooked on to a gar fish. Could have been better if its a GT or Barracuda but its a good sign of improvement haha. Usually I didn’t caught anything during our Popping and Casting session.
No big fish is around the Island that are able to challenge us, Devis and the Geng only manage to land a handful of baby Black Grouper. I decided to move on to our next spot, fishing for GT’s off a pinnacle just further up from the Island. I still remember the triple hookup that we had earlier in January and hopefully we can repeat the same feat. As we approach the area, it was a bit too late and the sky is getting dark. Only Asrazi manage to get a solid hookup and landed his first GT of the year.
That’s it! We wrap Day 1 jigging session and we are off to our bottom fishing session. 100 mantis prawn is up ready to serve us and the target species would be Golden Snapper. I was a bit worried earlier as most of the guys are on size 12-16 sinkers which is a bit light for Jarak water. After the first bait drop, size 12 sinkers were dead straight, a sign that there is no current at moment. After hours of waiting, we did not received a single bite. Only 1 Gerut2 and 1 Cobia landed on fresh squid captured from the surface. A setback indeed but we still have another 1 more night to go.
DAY 2 – 30 APR 2016
Rough night. Heavy rain storm hit Jarak water around 3.00am in the morning and continue on for the next 2 hours. Hardly get any good sleep and the boat was like a huge cradle rocking us from side to side. Captain Ah Ho re position the boat closer the Island to stay away from the intense rain storm. Asrazi was the first one to wake up and started his popping and casting session. Manage to land on Big Eye Trevally. Too bad the other were still as sleep.
Day 2 begins and we are off to our first jigging spot. Definitely felt a bit better, but didn’t had the best start though when 2 of my favorite jig were bitten off by a Barracuda or Spanish Mackerel. Arghh! Only left with Pink-Silver-Blue Beat Trigger jig. The boat re-position for another drift and this time we are targeting a drop-off area at a depth of 80-100m. Fish usually stayed in the drop-off area to feed. Snappers, Grouper and Cobia are all favorite species that swims around in the area. Getting the right drop and jig position is the key to score a fish.
Slow Fall Jigging was never really one of my favorite technique but Beat Trigger is definitely one of my favorite jig. It is such a versatile jig that we can applying slow and fast style jigging by just using 1 kind of jig. 100m is a long way down, the profile of the jig is long and slim makes it easy to reach the sea floor in seconds. The trick is, as the jig approach the sea floor which is the strike zone, a sudden jerk of the rod will halt the fast falling jig and switch the jig to a slow fall mode. Amazing isn’t it haha.
10m from the seafloor is the workable depth. The jig moves in that particular range and knocking the sea floor is another technique to call in close by predator like grouper and snapper. 1..2..3.. knock the seafloor, boom!! Scored 1 5kg snapper and another 7kg grouper. To catch them on jig was a great success and sets the standard high for Day 2.
Cobia, Barracuda, Snapper and Grouper are all on the list today. Each drop has generated result and Cobia were around. We get more than 10 Cobia hit on that day 2. The boys keep only 2 and others were released and sometimes auto-released. Hook failure and assist line break are the main cause of breakups, overall it was a great game fishing outing but less on a species that are good to eat. After my two trophy, I decided to called it a day and just loaf around and assist in anyway I can. The weather was perfect but the current was definitely died away. Captain Ah Ho told me that it is hard to get the tide right based on charts as nature is very hard to predict. It make sense and on the good side jigging with 100g-150g jig will feel less hard and jig can reach target zone accurately.
By Mid-day things aren’t improving much and only several other pelagic species were landed like Cobia. We decided to leave Jarak Island and head to Hutan Melintang, The journey took us 2 hours and it is situated in between Jarak and Pulau Sembilan but several nautical miles down south of both Islands. I just sleep in along the way and didn’t even took part when we reach our first spot. All I can hear was people shouting and grunts because of lines were bitten off. The next word definitely wake me up for good, “Tenggiri, Tenggiri!”
Stanly landed a 5-7kg Tenggiri and even huge Tongkol or LongTail Tuna were on the hit list. Choppy water didn’t stopped me from dropping my jig and after several retrieve, its Fish ON! Third hookup of the day. Actually me and Stanly were On that moment and they thought my line crossed his line. At first it does look that way and I can feel the head of the fish is shaking hard to break free from the hook. Stanly landed his Tongkol and definitely my line did not crossed his. I didn’t get the tension on and that is a great opportunity for the fish to break free.
The next time I dropped my jig, all the sudden it felt light. Thanks to a Tenggiri or Barracuda who cut my shock leader. Asrazi was on fire using sabiki rigs to catch a lot of Tongkol. He even landed 4 Tongkol at once and its fun to watch haha. As soon as the lights dimmed away, so does the bite. Devis scored the last fish of the day, a nice Giant Trevally, thanks to his Anglers Republic slow jigging rod. That was it, our last jigging session. 2 hour break were used fully to recharge by taking a much needed shower and treat our-self with a full-filling dinner.
We gear up for night fishing, hoping to do better than our first night. We fished 1 hour from our jigging spot. We travel closer to Pulau Sembilan, a place safer as compared to Hutan Melintang. What ever that means haha. Didn’t want to dig into the details and focused on bottom fishing. We kick start the night with massive grouper caught on Mantis Prawn. It was big, probably around 8-9kg. Superb! First few hours were ok, We manage to land some table size Golden Snapper and Emperor fish. Things are a bit quite at the back and only small fish nibble away our bait. It seems using fresh squid is way better than mantis prawn but they are hard to come by. Finally, Stanly breaks the silence with a respectable Golden Snapper and that marks the final fish landed on night 2. It could have been either another big grouper or snapper but Devis snoozed it and the line break. Could have been a great night but that’s fishing. You can’t win all the time.
Front Deck was our bed for the night and to sleep outside was a great choice considering the heat from inside the cabin. I think I remember waking at 4am and it was still pitch black and the next time Captain Ah Ho wakes me up to start our final session was already bright clear sky haha. Ijat and Asrazi started jigging and Asrazi lost a juvenile Tenggiri haha. That was it, the final one.
We packed our stuff and reach the jetty sharp 12.00pm. We unload all the stuff and distributed the catches among team mates. We were in KL by 6.00pm and finally on their flight back to Singapore at 9.00pm. Overall it has been a great outing. Too bad the night fishing was slow, jigging game fishing was definitely on high, Yeah another great outing. Thank you so much Devis and his fishing kaki and hopefully I will see you again next year :).