Perhentian Island, Terengganu – 30 APR 2017
After 1.5 month of super packed Fishyology Tour schedule, its time to spend good quality time with my family. Coincidentally, we have our traditional family feast or Kenduri up in my parents hometown, Kelantan. It will be 1 week off up in the east coast and I think I like to slot in one fishing trip over Terengganu or Kelantan. I know.. my wife wont be to pleased with this but you just gotta go out fishing for your own sweet time. No more baby sittin duties haha. I planned this quite early and got my mate Khairul Muin to set me up for Sunday. Quite lucky to get a slot on 30th Apr, I will slot in with another group who happens to be coming all the way from KL.. “long drive for a fishing trip“.
To drive to Kelantan takes approximately 8-9 hours if the traffic is moderate. Me and the family couldn’t leave early as wifey gotta work on Friday and I need to pass 4 buntings to Patrick Erler for his Fish&Tag Booth in Malaysia Fishing Exhibition in Setia City Mall. On our way to Kelantan was not that hectic. Keep a steady pace before we stop over in Gua Musang for 2 hours rest. We reach the Renaissance Kota Bahru Hotel by 6.30am and we got our kenduri at 12.00pm. It is good to meet up with all our relatives and they loved to hear story from all of my fishing adventure. They always argue why should I release 40-50kg Sailfish, why not eat them.. hahaha.. the long usual explanation.. It was fun and tired. We got back at the hotel early and its time for a long rest before leaving early to Kuala Besut for my own fishing trip.
I leave Kota Bahru about 6.00am in the morning and reach Kuala Besut by 7.00am. I’m not that familiar with Kuala Besut town and stopped by at a breakfast stalls recommended by Muin. It is normal to have rice for breakfast in the east coast. Back in KL, the usual breakfast was probably Roti Canai or Nasi Lemak. Here, we have Rice and a full range of either chicken or fish curry. Quite tasty. I notice a group of 5 anglers came by and had breakfast at the same stall. I notice they were wearing Columbia shirts, this must be the group. They left a bit early and I was waiting Muin to came by. Finally we all meet up at Kg Raja Jetty and that confirms all of us are on the same boat. Super!
It took us about 30 minutes to reach Perhentian Island. One of the best Island over east coast. The water was crystal clear and I quite surprised there are number of resorts on the Island plus a huge town with a huge mosque. We stopped over to get ourselves a bigger ice box. I guess today was going to be good fishing trip. So the others guys were from KL and this is their second time here in 2 years. Last time was not that productive but I can tell they are ready for some payback.
It will be like another 1 hour before we reach our fishing spot. Fishing over the reef in Perhentian Island was off limit because it is a protected area. We will be fishing surrounding the FAD’s or Unjam. Target species was Narrow Barred Mackerel, Bonito, Cobia, Dorado.. and at times Sailfish! I thinks its quite common game fish out here in the South China Sea. Jigging is the main technique here. We will only use 40-60g Silver colored jigs. Single Assist Hook with either Single Hook or Treble at the back end of that jig.
Mode: Very Fast!
Ridhwan got things going with a nice Cobia. Fishing with local, its hard to get them to enjoy a brief moment to took a photo of the fish as they want to focus only on the fishing. Eventually they warmed up to it and its important to document as much info as possible here in Perhentian waters. What surprises me is the no Dorado that are swimming around our boat. I had one small bonito hooked up to my jig and all the sudden a huge Dorado try to take it out. I purposely let it took the bait but could not hooked it as the bonito were too big hahaha. The water was quite fast and its hard to pin point the FAD’s location. We got snagged a couple of times. Muin light up the morning with a great hookup on a Tenggiri or Narrow Barred Mackerel. It was awesome to watch him fight this fast swimming sharp teeth fish!
I had a tough time trying to get it up at constant speed. 2/3 day I already lost a bunch of fish. It was almost impossible to hook them up. Its either you feel a strong pull and the leader snapped! or when you are about to retrieve, all you retrieve is your leader haha! I try to go slow at times and I had one solid take! I can feel that this might be the time when I finally beat a Tenggiri! Well, guess what.. it chew off the leader again.. Bravo!
The other thing that captures my attention was the aggressiveness of bait fish out here in Perhentian waters. It literally try to take out the metal jig. I guess it must have been our assist hook being tied with green flasher that acts as a attractant. Bonito’s are some of our catches that day. Decent size Bonito though. Fun when you are on a light tackle.
Just above the FAD’s we can clearly see Dorado’s jumping around and rushed on the sea surface for bait fish. Muin were on Sabiki Rig, catching live bait for bottom fishing. I took one live bait and I got it out in the water. Ridhwan got one live bait out too and he was Fish On the moment the fish hits the water. It was huge by Malaysian standard, and the fish keeps on fighting for a quite some time. One thing I like about Dorado is the golden green main body color with blue spots. Its a strong fish too and love to put on a show with stylish acrobatic jumps. It rained when Ridhwan was still fighting the fish. We had to move on from the location once we landed the Dorado. A beautiful fish and definitely a keeper!
Last minute effort, we ended our jigging session and we decided to look for small fish on Sabiki. Mainly yellow tail scads, small mackerel and sardines that are a local favorite. Fry them up and it is crunchy and sweet. If you go fast all day, it can really be tiring. I decided to lay back, enjoy the sun and help them with their catches. In the distance we can see a huge school of Dorado chasing small fish that ventures outside the FAD’s heavy fortress. To cast live bait would be difficult because of the distance. The only chance that I have was on metal jig. It has distance but Dorado are not known to hit metal jigs.
I took my chance when it resurfaces close enough to our position. It was an easy 30m cast and reel it as fast as I can. I felt a bump and I was Fish On!! It fights hard, and it went in a couple times, wrapping it self on the FAD’s but I manage to unwrapped it and Muin helped me gaffed it. Last fish of the day! Fun.
The sun is already emitting its last light over the horizon. A sign that its time to go home. Took us at least 1.5 hours to reach the jetty and I reach the hotel by 10.30pm. It was great experience and great to make new friends. Wak or Saiful has been a great fishing buddy the whole day. Crazy jokes and unfortunate tenggiri bites.. never had to chance to say thank you properly to let me out fishing with you guys and hopefully we will head out for another fishing trip over the west coast. Tight lines!