Short Saltwater Skirmish
Chasing GT’s that is what is next on the fishing calendar. And the best way to catch them is by using popping technique. Caution, this technique can be tiring. But when the GT starts to bite. You going to forget all that.
One of the favorite spot for GT popping in Malaysian waters is Pulau Jarak. Located around 40 nautical mile from Bagan Datoh, 5 crazy anglers decided to brave the high tides n strong winds just to “have fun” with the GT’s at Pulau Jarak.
Before we get to the fun part. As usual, weather monitoring is one of the essential whenever you are going out to the middle of the sea..
Looking at my Pacatriot comrades who went there recently really makes me and the other become restless and excited for our upcoming trip. But the weather forecast doesn’t look good. Rain is expected with wind blowing around 15-20 knots.! You gotta be kidding me.?!!
Few days before departing to Bagan Datoh. The boatman, Aho sent us a text message saying the weather still okay. So Darren, the leader decided to still proceed with the trip.
4:30am me and Darren travel up north along the coastal road to Bagan Datoh to meet Eugene, Ralph dan Chng Toh before we depart to Pulau Jarak.
The journey to Pulau Jarak was good. As we reach Pulau Sembilan islands, thick and dark clouds formation can be seen. That really worries all of us but as we approach Pulau Jarak, the sun is shining and we all get ready to fish.
“Jigging time..!!” Says Aho. We reach the usual 100 meter spot to test if there is any pelagics or coral dwellers with our jigs for some action. Half an hour after that, the wind started blowing and things started to become a bit challenging.
Due to the unpredictable wind movement, The GT Chaser drift faster than the usual. Almost everybody had their jigs caught on the hard coral reefs which we unable to retrieve. I lost 3 of my best jigs at the same spot.
Realizing the condition is not good for jigging. Aho decided to move closer to Pulau Jarak to start popping.
Strong wind coming from north west really making things more and more challenging. Aho decided to move to the north eastern side of the island. This time Aho anchored the boat, something new for me. Normally when we go out popping, the boat will slowly move around the rocky shores of the island and we will cast towards the island for GT.
Without wasting time, all of us gear up and start popping. First one on action is Darren. His DUO Aomasa was snatched not far from the rocky banks of Pulau Jarak. Easy one for Darren, he’s using his trusty pe. 6 popping setup which is ideal for Pulau Jarak. Caranx Ignobilis (Giant Trevally) weighing around 7-9kg was safely landed. One trophy picture and fish is safely released back into the water.
Next is Ralph turn to feel the electrifying action of SW casting. Big size Queenfish or Talang had taken him for a ride plus some aerial action.
Chng Toh caught one too, the GT snatched his FCL Labo TBO stickbait and not letting go. Easy game too for him as his Hot’s Gipang work its magic taming down the GT.
Not missing in action, I did cast my trusty Feed Slash65 and GT took it and never returned is back. Boohooo.!!~
Eugene too joined the gang as he hooked on to a GT. Pretty challenging for him as his Majocraft Crostage working hard to bring the gt close to the boat.
Finally, one for me. While working my FCL Labo CSP stickbait. A GT had snatched it just closeby to the boat. Easy game for me as the pe.8 popping rod of mine is too stiff which makes the GT unable to run far.
So many hits.. so many misses.. we continue popping at the same spot till end of the day. As the sun starts to set, we move out to the “pinnacle” spot where it is also a good popping spot. With the high waves and strong wind. It’s very challenging for us to popping but we still not giving up.
I have my Hammerhead A-cup on when we’re at the pinnacle. On my third cast the GT came and strike. What an awesome feeling. Truly something different when fish hits your top water lure. Struggling to escape, the fish made a few long sprint before it stopped and ready to be brought up to the surface. A beautiful GT, 5-7kg size to end the day.
No action at all during night time. We had a long catch up session and call it a night early on the first night.
As early as 6:30am I woke up and started fishing. The last trip, Aho said one of the angler manage to land a 20kg class GT. So, I gear up and give it a try. With the weather picking up again, no action at all when using stickbaits and popper.
While waiting on the weather, we switch between light jigging and popping. Manage to land a few good speciments on light jig setup. A Baby Bluefin Trevally and a few coral grouper came onboard to join the photography session.
As the weather showing no signs of recovery. The team decided to leave Pulau Jarak and head to Pulau Sembilan. Hopefully, on the way there, we are able to stop over at a few jigging spot to try out. But sadly, its a tough way back home. Waves as high as 3-6 meters, The GT Chaser gracefully brave the high waves. It took us 4-5 hours just to travel to Pulau Sembilan.
First spot is Pulau Batu Putih where it is famous for the hardtail scad. Due to its location which is still exposed to the open sea. The wave is still high and Aho lower the anchor closeby to the small rocky island.
While jigging, the team started discussing and decided to head back to the jetty after the Pulau Sembilan light jigging session. Message passed to the Captain and we plan to leave Pulau Sembilan by 6pm.
With only two hours left. We make use that short window as much as we can to catch the Hardtail Scad. Luckily there’s a plenty of them. Size between 1-2kg per fish. We bagged 3 scads for each anglers.
As what I always told other anglers. Trip to Pulau Jarak always promise a different story on each every trip that you go. A mixed feeling this time. Happy for the good popping session we had but sad because we had to leave early due to the weather.
We’ll be back.