ROYAL BELUM STATE PARK, PERAK – 18 JUN 2016
Officially, this trip would be our 10th day tour up here in Royal Belum State Park. Over the course of 2016, exploring Belum was getting a lot attention from local and international readers. After quite an average outing with Akhbar Kamdar last month, this time we continue our journey with Scott Bremner, who was on a crash course lure fishing back in FEB. This time after several Jugra and Gopeng outing, its time to put all training to the test. It was mid-Ramadhan and the weather seems to be on our side as it was raining over Belum-Temenggor region over the past 72 hours and expected to dry up over the weekend. We head down to Belum after Iftar and bound to reach the jetty at 1.00pm. It was still raining by the we got there, and to begin our day, we stop over at one of the boathouse to have our 4-5 hours sleep before we hit the water. Asrazi and his Pancing Mag team was also bound to Temenggor lake, but they will arrive early next morning. It doesn’t took look before my were closed, pretty much excited for tomorrow’s fishing outing.
“FISH WAITS FOR NO MAN” I find it true when it comes to Sebarau and Toman fishing. Timing is the a determining factor for a great day outing for Freshwater Fishing. It was 7.00am when I wake all the boatman up and Scott. It was cold as usual, the water is too cold for a quick shower, thus facial wash was acceptable at this moment haha. Change all the clothes, the rod and reel are all ready and soon we begin our journey with our trusted Pokjan. The moment Pokjan told us it was great fishing over the past week, with 100 Sebarau landed days ago was like Adrenalin shot to us haha. We wait no further and went straight into Sg Papan, Royal Belum.
Sg Papan will be the main section in between Sg Kenarong, Sg Ruok and Sg Tiang. We stop over several spot in Sg Papan, equipped with our 7g AXZ Island shaped spoon we tried our best fine tuning our casting accuracy and workable spoon speed retrieval. Nothing were hammering our spoon. There are some several surface activity but it was at a minimal state. Sebarau can be seen surfacing close to the edge of a granite wall, Scott did try his own XDean surface plug but to no avail. We had the same lure, same color. The minute I casts my lure, BOOM! A small Sebarau hammers it, our first score 🙂
That was our first fish in hours haha. The 100 Sebarau landed was now seems a bit far fetched and past info in fishing can never be taken into consideration when it comes to the actual fishing day expectation. It was getting warmer, thus we decided to move on to Sg Tiang, to look for the mighty Toman. It took us around 20 mintues to reach the spot. A river section that forms the eastern part of Belum. I’ve been here with the Timelli brothers last year and Toman here back than were abundance.
We explore the whole section of Sg Tiang, and casts our lure at every single potential location but still nothing. Even chased a a few group of Toman fingerlings to trigger a Toman strike but they seems to be avoiding us and even at point blank range, the Toman here is not motivated enough to have a go at our lure. Even used my Jackal Bonnie 128 to stir the fingerlings, still it moved on like the lure was not a threat to them.
One thing looks promising is Scott’s ability to place his lure accurately and well within the bull-eye strike area when a Toman surfaces and chasing down fingerlings. The image below shown the desired area of lure place when deep cranking for Toman. Not to far from the school, but close enough for the lure to dive well within 4-6m depth range to increase our chances in scoring a Toman.
Things are just not working out in Sg Tiang, thus we move on to have our mid-day break at Sg Papan base camp. As we approach the camp, a group of anglers were already stationed at the base and that adds up the low bite rate in the morning. I’m pretty sure they have been fishing the same spot and we were not the earliest bird to pickup the first worm. After our break, Pokjan continues to scout along Sg Papan until we reach the main source of its water. A small shallow stream with several surface activity looks a bit more promising. Top water was the first lure to hit the spot, and after several walk the dog action, Boom! A Sebarau took it, but same size as before. Scott has some moment of his own when 2-3 times his Xdean lure were hit but did not get a clean hookup. Bit too quick on the hookup haha. A bit more composure is needed.
After landed several small ones, big boys came out to play. It is dramatic to watch how a Sebarau rapid attack on small fishes just psych me out wanting to catch the big one. Scott notice a huge Sebarau passes underneath our boat. We did try and even walked on foot to get a better angle but still it was not interested. In the end, I over throw my lure and got stuck in between a bamboo. Manage to untangle it but the leader just slipped from the main line and dropped my beloved Xdean lure in the water across the bank. (TT)
Gutted by the loss, went back to the boat, switched to AXZ Spoon and caught a few Sebarau on it. Scott and Pokjan was landing maybe more than 10 plus Sebarau on the spot. Finally some fun for us all. It was getting late, we move back closer to the border between Belum and Temenggor. Stopped by for some more Sebarau action. Caught another 2 Sebarau and Scott another 3. This time on Yozuri Altima 12g spoon. A school of Sebarau were on frenzy close to the bank and Scott manage to land a fairly bigger Sebarau to end Day 1. It was 9.00pm when we reach the jetty, packed some Nasi Goreng USA for dinner and hope tomorrow will be even better.
Day 2, after a very long day last night. We started our day 2 a bit late. We head down south to explore Temenggor section around the Air Banun. As soon as we reach the place, small patches of Sebarau frenzy can be seen. Same case like last time I was here, they tend to surfaces well beyond our effective range. Thus a bigger or should I say heavier lure is needed to get the maximum distance. I did try once, a Rapala Taildancer 9. First blind cast along the bank resulted a patch of small bubble surge through the water. A sign something did try to took it but fail to do so.
We throw a couple of good opportunity when the fishes rises close enough to the boat but in the end it was Scott who get things going in Day 2 with another decent size Sebarau. The initial strike were quite strong, he has to tighten the drag a few times before he can end the game. We left the area after an hour and continue on further down south. Scott scored another juve fish and it seems we are off to a slow morning start. We head back to Mat Shah chalet for a quick refuel before continue on to Royal Belum. Its time to start our Toman fishing along Sg Papan.
Seek and destroy is the name of the game. It requires agility, composure, accuracy and perseverance to land our Toman. A section of Sg Papan was covered with sunken logs and this section is pretty much very deep thus big crank baits or deep spec are required to pull the task. We need to keep our eyes open and stay vigilant because we can only cast when a Toman surfaces.
Usually,Toman would surfaces at the same area thus giving us chance to lock on target. Next time it surfaces, we are ready with our lure and make our lure placement. In my case, I like to pick a target that is well beyond 10m, the fish is unaware of our presence thus we have a better chance of hooking one. When we reach the spot by stealth, thanks to the electric motor, I manage to spot a Toman rises within maybe 15m. Since I’m on a light tackle, Megabass Griffon is the best choice because of the small size and dive 4m plus. Once the lure hit the water, a quick retrieve for a quick dive and FISH ON! A juve Toman, ranging from 2-3kg. Still take some time to land it but it was manageable.
There are about 7 Toman that are well within Scott’s effective range. This seems like a good spot for Scott first Toman. He tried countless times but still the Toman eluded him. Pokjan was complaining that he was not fast enough when he retrieve the lure plus the lure was not deep enough. He passes on several crankbaits but still nothing tries to took it. Pokjan was aiming a huge Toman, right after it surface, he cast his crankbaits and instantaneously he hooked one. It was a far more intense battle than mine. The Toman attempts several deep lunge try to wrap itself in underwater structure. With a 12-25lb american rod and a Daiwa Ryoga, he was able to muscle the fish to submission. A beautiful 5-6kg specimen were landed, awesome fight!
We stayed on for another hour before we head down to the Belum Ranger’s jetty for our mid-day break. Scott still have another evening session to score his Toman. We decided to move straight to the small river where we were fishing last night. Still we have some unfinished business with the big Sebarau in the area.
Once we reach the jetty, Que Opie were stationed at the base, and had a short chit chat on the fundamentals of slow jigging. What amazes me was the number of fishes congregated near the pontoons. Quite a number of Gourami and some Juve Toman can be seen swimming around like a huge aquarium. Que Opie told me that it took 2 years to get the number of fish that I am seeing today. Feeding it every single day.
We made our move around 2.30pm and went straight to our final spot. This time the area was a bit too quite. No more surface activity in the area. Equipped with spoons, we try again hoping to catch more Sebarau. Scott has 1-2 moment when the fish knocked his spoon. It was not as frenzy as last night, I guess the fish moved on to a different location. We went downstream and focused on a deeper section of the river.
Still there were Sebarau hammering small fish close to the bank. I tired countless type of lure from surface lure, shallow runner and deep divers still the Sebarau and Toman was not interested. It was already quite late, and the skies seems getting darker as a storm approaches. Switched to my Rapala Minnow Rap and I aim at the bank where the Sebarau surfaces. I was casting blindly hoping to get a strike and it worked. It was a good take, sign of a good Sebarau and lucky enough the hooked stayed on after the hook barely penetrate the mouth of the fish.
After some few shots with my trophy, it was Scott’s turn to muscle a Toman! Back to back strike, and Scott’s rod were bending like its gonna break! It was a huge Toman, and twice it dives deep trying to break free. This time Scott was ready and he was calm handling the raging Toman. It was huge. About the same size as Pokjan’s Toman earlier. The last possible moment to land a fish and he scored a big one.
All I can see now was a huge grin on his face, finally he did. It was an awesome atmosphere at that time. Took several photos and safely release it. High 5 for the man of the hour. Right after we release the Toman, strong wind and rain surged in. Somebody pisses off mother nature haha. We seek refuge and waited for the storm to pass on. We were out fishing again after the rain stopped. Manage to hook another Juve Toman about 1kg range. Quickly released it without a photo taken because it was just getting darker.
We move down stream and fished for another hour before we decided to called it a day. A great outing indeed, counted 22 Sebarau landed and 5 Toman. That is better than last time. The best thing is we safely release all fish except for 1 Sebarau. Keep only what we need and release the rest. It was raining all the way when we head back to the jetty, next time I definitely need a rain jacket. At the end of the day, no more picture of a beautiful sunset. Its time to go back home after a successful day 2. Scott finally landed his Toman and hopefully it will be even better in the future. 🙂