Year by year Kuala Rompin has always attracted keen anglers looking for an adventure of hooking up the majestic Pacific Sailfish. This humble small far-from-KL town see thousands of travelers from all corners of the world. In this part of the world, Rompin probably sees just a lil fewer visitors than those heading to Tioman Island via Mersing town.
I’m always keen to bring visitors to Kuala Rompin. This time around they’re husband and wife PK and Greg from Perth, Australia spending their holiday in Malaysia. I picked them up at Majestic Hotel in Kuala Lumpur and headed straight to Kuala Rompin, the usual 4 to 4.5 hours journey, plenty of time to chat and get to know each other.
One of the thing I always ask the client is their expectation. Greg is a keen angler but hasn’t been fishing much in his hometown Perth. I found out that he’s got a huge angling itch to scratch and he’d like to see the variety of fish species in Rompin. His wife PK loves following him around fishing excursions and don’t mind to help finding the bait fishes.
From here I formulated the Game Plan; catch some sailfishes early, then commit ourselves to FAD hopping (Fish Attracting Device or Unjam). Recent newsflash was that the Spanish Mackerel, Queenfish, Cobia and Dorado has been around the sailfish grounds.
We arrived in Rompin at dinner time around 7.30pm, and had a lovely meal at James’ which is next to Rompin River Chalet where we’ll be staying for the night.
Equipment wise, I brought my Avet MXJ and JX on the conventional side, and a Penn Sargus 8000 for a spinning outfit. Drag was set to around 4-5 kg (yes, not much needed for Sails). Mainline of 40-50 lb for the sail outfits with 70LB fluorocarbon shockleaders tied to a 5/0-6/0 circle hooks.
Early next morning, we went out to town as I’ve promised them a splendid selection of local breakfast since all they’ve been having is continental breakfast since they arrived in KL. At 8.15am we are well on the way out to sea.
We first dropped by at a FAD on the way to Tok Deramat to get some live baits. Here we managed to score some Hard Tail and some Yellow Tail Scads. Bait was a bit tough to gather but PK and Greg kept at it and after we’ve scored around 10 live baits, off we go to Tok Deramat sailfish ground.
I wasn’t expecting we’d be catching the sails so soon, perhaps because we were the first to arrive on the grounds our bait was taken within 5 minutes of soaking! As if it wasn’t good enough, we scored a double hookup! Greg took the first hookup and within a minute later another sail took the second bait for PK to join in the hustle.
Too bad we lost Greg’s juvenile sail while trying to land it but PK continued the action. For someone who said ‘I don’t mind fishing for the live baits’, she didn’t even flinch and wrestled the sail in a calm manner. I thought PK was mesmerized by her sail as it displayed continuous acrobatic action leaping out of the water trying to fight its way free.
It was 9.30 am and we’ve already landed 2 sails! Yup, the one that got away counts as we’ve touched the leader trying to reach for its bill. Still, between the two the score was still 1-0 and PK was leading. So Greg decided he’d like another chance to bring one in to even the score.
This is the part where every angler would know, the hoping-for-just-one-more moment. Then on it was tough, we had another hookup that took the Avet MXJ 4.0 kg drag like nothing before it got itself unhooked. Indicative of a decent size sail…
At exactly 12pm, just another half hour before deciding to go FAD hopping, another take happened and the fish went berserk with some killer acrobatic moves as I’m fighting to secure the hookup. As soon as it’s stabilized I passed it to Greg to bring it home. The long dashes pulling the line out that this one made indicated that it’s around 40 kg; a decent size. About 5 minutes later, it was securely brought on board for some photos. I wish I had some tags to tag the sails we landed as none of them had a tag on them.
Following the Game Plan, we left right after the 3rd sail towards the FADs on the way to Tioman Island. We switched the circle hooks to the normal J-hooks tied with cable strands in hope of landing some Spanish Mackerels. About 10 mins of soaking, our live bait was taken but it got off before I could strike it. Then 10 mins later I saw a fish leaping out of the water before the reel went screaming. It continued the majestic jumps and then I confirm what it was…a Dorado!
It wasn’t huge but was fighting rather aggressively and Greg was smiles all around enjoying the jumping display of the Dorado.
After the Dorado I rigged up some squid jigs, but no takes at the first FAD. So we left for another spot and here at the second FAD, the squids were here. Averaging about 500g each, we managed to catch 5 squids with the largest being almost a kilo!
At the third FAD, it was total silence. Two other boats were there but they weren’t catching anything so we left to our fallback spot near the shore. Few years back we’ve had huge Spanish Mackerel and Threadfin Salmon at this very spot so we went there to drift out baits for half an hour. There was a take but it got away. This was the end of the day for us…
After a splendid dinner made of our catches, we hit the road heading towards Kuala Lumpur. In the early part of the journey home PK and Greg told me they had a blast and would love to visit Kuala Rompin again given the chance. Then the two of them drifted off while I continue the drive home…