Jugra Swimbait Fiesta, 10 June 2019
My as an intern in West Malaysia was coming an end I have do head back home to Sabah soon. As usual, I had to have one last fishing session before going home. I contemplated where to fish for a couple hours and finally decided to go where there’s a 99% chance of catching a fish, a paypond. Not just any paypond, Jugra Salwater Pond, 60km from Kuala Lumpur. I’ve seen many photos of nice sized fish from Jugra and I’ve also heard that the best way to guarantee fish is by using small scented soft plastics on small jigheads. Of course no fishing session would be complete without a camerama- I mean fishing buddy, and who better to go fishing with than my good old friend, Amirul Irfan. So I contacted him to see if he was interested in joining me, and of course he said yes. Irfan also stated that the fishing might be a bit tough as we were going on a Monday, after the fish have been caught and released by (possibly) countless anglers over the weekend. Well fishing and not catching anything is still better than not fishing at all so we went for it anyway.
Unexpected stroke of luck!
We arrived at Jugra Pond at about 8:30 am on Monday and I couldn’t believe our luck. The groundskeeper had just finished feeding the fish. This is good because the fish are actively feeding higher in the water column and are more likely to take a lure. I instantly put away the soft plastics and tied on a jointed swimbait, cast it out, and tried different methods of retrieve. I found that a straight retrieve and a jerk & pause weren’t as effective as slow-rolling the lure and pausing. I guess the action mimics a weak and dying baitfish. Upon slowing down my retrieve, I felt a light tap and saw my line slowly moving to the right. I reeled in slightly and set the hook as hard as I can because I had no clue what fish had taken my lure. The fun of pay ponds is that you can fight your fish with loose drag without worrying about losing it, especially if your reel has a drag clicker, like my Abu Garcia Roxani Powershooter. After a few minutes of tiring the fish out, I lip-gripped it, took a few photos, then released it safely.
Upon seeing me land the fish, Irfan and I agreed that a slow retrieve with pauses is the way to go. He moved further to the side of the pond to look for fish that haven’t been spooked by the previous fight. A few casts in, I hear him exclaim a triumphant YES! as I see him set the hook. Another grouper was landed and we decided to make swimbaits the name of the game for today
I decided to try my luck with redfish or known locally as senangin taiwan. I tried using the swimbait but the redfish showed absolutely no interest in it, even when I cast it right in front of their faces. Upon Irfan’s instruction, I switched to a small soft plastic grub. After a couple of casts, a felt something take my bait and my line screamed off my reel. Unfortunately, the excitement was short-lived as I felt my line felt slack. I reeled in my line and found that the hook had been straightened. Well, you win some you lose some. After changing back to the swimbait, I went to try my luck with the barramundi. I cast my lure out and overshot it, with my lure landing on the opposite bank. I reel in, and the moment the swimbait hit the water, a barramundi took it and started stripping line. After unable to shake the hook by going deep, the fish shot skywards and performed some acrobatics. It put up a good fight, but nothing compared to wild fish.
Irfan on the otherhand chose to stay at the grouper pond. It wasn’t long before I was summoned to be a cameraman. Though I was slightly disappointed that it wasn’t another swimbait fish.
It was starting to get hot at around 11 am and the bites were starting to slow down. Irfan and I both had a Jackall Baby Giron, a smaller, more subtle swimbait. I decided to tie it on and cast it to the corner where I caught my first barramundi. I quickly found out that most of the fish are stacked up in that corner because my lure was instantly inhaled by a barra. The fish jumped a few times and I saw that the lure had indeed been inhaled. Knowing that the rough jaws of a barramundi can quickly wear through my leader, I wasted no time in landing the fish. The moment the fish was brought on land, my leader snapped, the fish shook its head and I saw something fly into the water and disappear. I immediately thought I lost my new swimbait after catching only one fish on it. After a few seconds of panicking, Irfan pointed out that the swimbait was still hooked in the fish’s mouth and a let out a sigh, or rather a scream, of relief.
Following my lead, Irfan also switched to his Baby Giron. On what I believe to be his next cast, he hooked a nice, jumping barramundi of his own. After seeing that his swimbait wasn’t swallowed like mine was, he took his time in tiring out his fish. It was my turn to be the cameraman, either Irfan is better at posing with fish than me, or I’m better at taking photos. I leave that to you, the reader, to decide.
Irfan and I caught a few more fish after his barra. It was soon mid-day and the fishing has gone completely silent. I persisted with the swimbait theme while Irfan used soft plastics while trying for bigger barramundi in the other pond. After not catching fish for approximately half an hour, I decided to check up on Irfan at the other pond. Before I could even pick up my gear, I heard him yell excitedly, and what went through my head was “Guess I’m the cameraman again.” I arrived at the pond and was greeted by Irfan’s wide grin and a gorgeous barramundi he caught on a small soft plastic grub.
I later decided to try and hook a redfish again but with no luck. The fish were actively avoiding my soft plastic. I guess they were getting a bit too clever. The wish just wasn’t biting anymore and we took that as I cue to end the day. After rinsing our gear by the shed, we went to have lunch and some cold drinks.
All in all, it was an awesome day of fishing. We got to test out our new swimbaits as well as catch lots of fish. I would be back to try my luck with those redfish again in the future. As for now, I’ll be heading to Sabah for a couple of months and hopefully, have a few trips to report from the Land Below the Wind. I’ll hopefully be back in West Malaysia by the end of the year. Til’ then, this is me signing off and ending my article with Irfan’s toy from his McDonald’s Happy Meal.