Kuala Rompin, Pahang – 8 APR 2017
After a great outing with Ben and Nick in Pekan, Pahang. I had a great feeling that we can continue our outstanding momentum with Andrew Griffin and Jochen Kassan. A weekend in Kuala Rompin at this early part of the year promises great opportunities. Especially for Tenggiri or Narrow Barred Mackerel. We had full length discussion on what we should be focusing this weekend. Generally live-bait fishing is effective for Macks and Andrew will be fishing with Jackson’s Pintail Sinking lure. It is one of the most deadly sinking lure that you can use through out Malaysia for Tenggiri. Castability of Jackson’s Pintail is outstanding, sinks fast and all you need to do is retrieve it as fast as possible. It has a very stable wobble in the water, just like a bait fish swimming blindly in straight line, triggering a definite attack from any mid-water predator.
As I was driving towards Kuala Rompin, Pahang. I felt the car was losing a bit off power when I overtake a slow car. Luckily I did notice the engine temperature was sky rocketing high and I was lucky that I manage to pull over quickly to stop over by the road side. I took a while to get the engine cooled down and do an inspection to the fan and radiator. There is a small crack on the casing that holds the radiator together. At that point of time I though I will not make it to Kuala Rompin, Pahang. I did call Andrew and inform him the situation and ask him to ready for any outcome and his weekend will still continue as planned. I was lucky that I manage to find some water from a nearby police post and was able to drive the car to Muadzam Shah and parked at the new Mosque.
The guys from Rompin, TX and Bob picked me up later that night and brought me straight to Rompin River Chalet. At first I thought it will be best if I just turn back to KL and called it a day. Having Andrew for first the time together in Rompin has been overdue for a long time. So decided to go ahead and spend the weekend in Rompin.
It does feel good to be back here as early in April. I reach the chalet by 11.30pm and manage chat a bit with Andrew and Jochen. The usual start is to had breakfast, Chinese style Omelette and Tea. We were ready by 8.00am and we leave the jetty by 8.30am to our first FAD’s location or Unjam to look for some live bait. We were a bit slow filling up our live bait tanks but we do get some on board. Bait was around but not in huge numbers, I foresee today will be a great fishing day.
We head straight to our first location and I was in-charge to get live bait out at the back of the boat while Andrew and Jochen can focus more on fishing with lures. It was Andrew’s rod triggered first take and it was quite a solid strike. I thought it was a Tenggiri, but as it only a Singapore Marlin to start our day haha. The first 1 hour was good, we had 3 good takes. Without metal wire, it was far too easy for the Tenggiri or Narrow Barred Mackerel to pinch and steal our live bait. Our captain TX finally get a good hookup from his Jackson Pintail (Copy Version and about 1/3 the price of the original one). Jochen was given the honor to mark our first score of the day. It was a Juvenile Pacific Sailfish. To fight them on light tackle was fun and it took a while before I had a firm grip on its bill.
Luckily I did bring some FishnTag SW Tags with me. I was able to showcase to them both how fish tagging works and what are the objectives that we were trying to achieve. Sailfish is a magnificent species. A heritage that we all should cherish and protect while the fish is still here in our waters. It was a quick process, and took a photo for reference. We had it recovered for while before release it. Juvenile ones are aggressive and only took a minute to get up and swimming again. Once all data has been recorded, we set off our live bait again, hoping to add more Sailfish to our tally.
Minutes later, It was Andrew’s turn to bagged his first Sailfish of the season. It dashes out as soon as it took the bait. I’m surprised that it took more line out and the Andrew’s 8000PG Stella 08 were taking a beating from a Sailfish. Andrew had it nice and confirmed sold hook. About 150m from the boat, it jumped out of the water and unhooked itself. Talk about tough luck. It was already mid-way when it happened and we decided to fished off a FAD’s or Unjam for the Narrow Barred Mackerel. We’ve got our live bait out and others can focus on fishing with lures. TX manage to get 2 more hookup on his “China Made Pintail” but Andrew couldn’t get them on-board.
Live-bait aren’t producing anything at the moment, all too quite. Andrew had another one fish on his scoreboard. A juvenile Pacific Barracuda. I rigged my Senses Pintail too and after several cast, manage to hook a bigger size Yellow-fin Barracuda. The strange thing is, the fish hardly fights back. It was too occupied trying to shake off the lure and by the time it reaches the boat it was already game over. One last dash to ditch the lure was wasteful. It was a huge specimen. My personal best Yellow-fin Barracuda. After a while, when all seems too quite. We travel further out and fished at another Unjam. This time looks a bit more promising as we can clearly see Tongkol or Bonito’s chasing small baitfish. Plus there are some bait-fish congregation in-front of the FAD’s. Things are looking good.
Luring takes a lot of effort and energy from an angler. I have to admit, sometimes our confidence that a fish would hit our lure will diminish at every single cast. We may have doubt about our color range, size, weight, position and etc. But all those doubt will go away once we fill a knock on our lure, or a short take. We just gonna keep on trying until we had a solid hook and we are on the way to bring it back home. I admire the angler’s passion when it comes to fishing with lures. Andrew finally had a solid taker, hooked it nicely and fight his way back home. From the initial dash, I was certain that it was a Tenggiri, and finally after hours of countless cast, he finally scored one.
Bites are hot in this area. My lure did get few bumps along the way but nothing really took it. It was Jochen’s turn to have a sweet taste of success when he finally hooked one Tenggiri. I believe he was on a Mono line that day, but he was gentle enough to bring it home. After so many cast, I too finally scored a small Tenggiri for our dinner tonight haha. That was the last fish of the day, could have been better if we improve our efficiency. Andrew and Jochen have one more day to try and hopefully it will be better.
Day 2, we are ready to get the ball rolling again. To sums up our day, the first half was zero. Completely nothing. We were trying to locate a school of Dorado out towards Berhala and Tioman but it was fruitless. Bait on the other hand was abundance. Large yellow tail scads. The current however was way off and hardly any movement. At on of the stop, we hooked a large Great Barracuda on a Jackson Pintail. It was a large specimen, probably weighing more than 6kg. It has a distinctive black spots on its body. That was the last fish of the day. It sucks.
We did encounter a lot cobia but, they were not just interested with our bait. Live bait, Dead bait. We tried small jigs and huge jigs. As far as we know, we tried everything on the list but still couldn’t get them to bite. A boat next to us caught a live squid and use it as bait. Boom! 2 hook up and landed only one. Frustrating to see that but that’s just how it is in this world. In the end we return home early. Overall it was a slow day as other boat only bring back a handful of catches.
I knew it was still a long way home. I might have to stay a night in Muadzam before I can get my mechanic to send a pickup truck to take the car home. Bob send me back to Muadzam by 10.00pm. I was restless the whole weekend hoping the car is still there haha. I am greatful that after reaching Muadzam, the car was still in the same place. Only a puncture on the left rear tyre. Probably pickup a nail when I stopped over along the road side.
I took my time over dinner to think the best option to get home, as I have another trip in less than 2 days with Scott Bremner to Royal Belum. After enjoying a good fried rice and Tomyam, a towing car just passed by. Pickup the phone, call the guy and I was lucky to be able to return to KL without staying another night. The Kuala Pilah – Muadzam stretch is quite rural and in case you encounter the same problem, you may call JALUT 010-9115253 or 019-947 2230 for towing assistance. It was a tough weekend but worth-it being there for Andrew.