Perhentian Island, Terengganu – 11 Feb 2018
When we go out fishing, we always plan to head out during the best possible time. Especially during this early part of the east coast monsoon season. 3 months earlier I had a guy wanted to go out fishing over Perhentian Islands during Feb. At first it was a bit tricky to predict that which moment in time that the wind was going to ease off a bit. When I look at windy, a week before the schedule date range, it was from 10-14 Feb 2018. It always points out that weather was going to be on our side on the 11th. I decided on Fri that we are going on the 11th, and my client agree.
I take it easy on Saturday, drive out to Kuala Besut, Terengganu from KL at 4.00pm. 3 hours down the road I was already in Kuantan, Pahang. Feeling a bit excited that my client came here for his fishing trip at the best possible moment. I sense luck was high this weekend. I had all the tactic and technique figured out, all setup ready to go. All the sudden I had a phone call from client. Probably asking where am I and excited to head out to sea tomorrow. When I pickup the call, it was not what I expected. He was not happy as apparently he went out fishing with some local fisherman and he skunked the whole day. Basically he started to question my expertise in fishing, questioning the quality of Fishyology Charters and Tours services and accuse me in lying about the good fishing condition in Perhentian Island. I was a little bit pissed off by his remarks but I am professional. I answered all the question accordingly and for the sake of not wanting to quarral this any longer, I told that he can cancelled the trip. Which eventually he did.
I called Muin and explain to him what had happened. He told me to come down and a go fishing tomorrow. I hesitated but after giving some deep thought, might as well I completed the mission. Took me another 3 hours to reach Kuala Besut. Had my late dinner before head to Muin’s house. I was a little bit disappointed not because he cancelled the trip. It was more on how he reacted stating that the offer fishing here was too good to be true. Its like we are not able to offer him a good service and such service don’t exist out here in Asia. I’m offended.
Anyway, we head out to sea as early as possible. I still felt bad for the team. I was not really in the mood to talk with the guys because I know they were not happy with me. I keep it cool and trying to take it positive today. As we head out close to 60km offshore, the sea condition was perfect. The monsoon died off completely, the current was subtle for some good jigging. We will be fishing off “FADS” or Unjam today. Hoping to score some good Tenggiri or Barred Mackerel. It didn’t took at all, first drift we had 3 hook up and landed 2. Sweet! I was already quite happy landing a 14lb Tenggiri. All I did was dropping it all the way down to the bottom and jig it as fast as I can’t. Boom! First fish of the day!
I’m starting to feel good about myself and the team. Aligned for another drift and again, triple hook up and landed all fish! I thought, this is the day. Once in a while you will get a great day of fishing that you will remember for the rest of your life. This is that moment. We stayed on for few more drift and first 1 hour we landed 7 Tenggiri. Out of this world! The best of what Perhentian Island, Terengganu has to offer.
On to the next spot, 70km offshore. We had a great start to the morning. Filling happy already but the battle must go on in Perhentian Island, Terengganu. It is payback time. We came across another spot and continue on fast jigging for Mackerel. I missed about two fish out here in the second spot. They were just so fast picking up silvery metal jig, mistaken for bait-fish. Tok Bomoh was on fire on the second spot, scoring about 5 good size barred mackerel. Muin was just starting to ink his score card with his first fish of the day. Another 16lb Tenggiri. We can clearly see bait balls are on the surface and constantly being hammered by unknown predator.
It is exciting to watch. Basically now the predator is being hunted. We actually cast out towards the bait-ball. We need to guess how deep should we let the jig sinks and as soon we are confident that it is in the right depth, he jigged it as fast as possible. Definitely a predatory fish will snatch it. To set the hook we need to be quick to respond to any tap to the jig. If it didn’t connect, continue to retrieve as fast as possible. Sometimes they will turn back and snatch it again. Most of the time, it will bit off the line. Muin was very lucky this morning as all 3 tenggiri that he caught in our second spot was all during the drop. Mathematically it is not possible to score a hat-trick on a Tenggiri, during the drop. Today was crazy!
15 Tenggiri by 11.00am Haha! This is unreal. We keep our heads down, and fish on!. Moving to the third spot, it was all quite. We had no activity on the surface. We moved further out 7km to our third spot. We knew there is another boat fishing today and finally we caught them 75km offshore. They were serious local fisherman with proper gears (stella and all). It has been few hours since my last fish. We drifted along another Unjam… the current were a bit off. We had to wait and pass the final line that holds the Unjam together before we can drop our jig. All 4 of us choose our preferred path and were expecting to retrieve it together. Tok Bomoh decided to ditch the pack and retrieve first! lol. Not even 4 cycle of retrieve the fish bite the whole jig off. Zie, Muin and me stay truth to the pack and retrieve simultaneously. Zie and me were cut-off and Muin scored another Tenggiri. As soon as I know the preferred pathway, Muin scored another one and I add another 3 to my tally! Wohoo!
We decided to drift of top of the Unjam hoping to score some snappers or grouper. I had one Grouper and Tok Bomoh caught one. We didn’t even bother to take a photo. Another drift, we had triple hook-up. Zie was fighting a bit. Me and Tok Bomoh were easing the fish progressively. It was a school of Cobia underneath us. Luckily I had a small one on my line. just outside the Unjam, we can see some small juvenile Dorado hammering scattered bait-fish. Awesome sight to watch. It seem’s all the predator are feeding at the moment.
As soon as the bite slowed down, we press forward to another spot. Captain Zie told me that this place are well known for large predatory fish. Not sure but, larger size predatory often stays at the same spot. As soon as we reach the place, we can see bait fish were squirming around helplessly after being bashed by Dorado’s. I know we were targeting Tenggiri for this trip but those Dorado is hard to resist haha. I cast my jig in to the bait ball. Without waiting the jig to fall deep, I quickly retrieve it as fast as I can. As expected, a Dorado pick it up. The unfortunate part was I got tangled up with Captain Zie line and the tension was to much, the line snap. Muin were completely focused on scoring another Tenggiri. He hooked one eventually. At first we thought it was a cobia or a large queenfish. After less than 10m from the boat, it was actually a large Tenggiri. 20lb!
It was a great fishing day. Its hard to describe with words. After seeing that Big Tenggiri. I wanted one too haha. We aligned for another drift and hoping to get another big tenggiri for the video. As soon as my line hit 10m, the line was spilling quickly! Haha! I hooked up firmly and hold on to it. It went straight up to the surface and jumps out of the water. A bull Dorado! Large head and green body! This fish is a great fighter. It didn’t gave up easily like a Tenggiri or Cobia. It just kept on going. Diving – jumping – dash, for 12 brutal minute. It was 3.00pm at the time and it some destroys me haha. Finally manage to get it on the boat. Not being a pussy but the action was all day and this fish just drains the energy to 0.
It didn’t ended there. We continue to initiate another drift and this time Muin jig were snatched by an even bigger fish. It went straight to the surface and jumps out of the water. It was a huge figure, at first I thought it was a Sailfish. I was wrong. It was a juvenile Black Marlin. Finally I had an good chance to see the fish up-close. It was a tough fighter, it leaps out of the water several time and the line snapped. No chance with a light jigging setup. I decided to end the day early, knocked out by that bull Dorado. They continue of fishing till 5.00pm and with the final tally of 28 Tenggiri. Officially we broke the record of 20 Tenggiri a day for Captain Zie boat.
It is still a long way home. It took us another 1.5 hour to reach Perhentian Island. I took the opportunity to rest. Still a long way to go from Kuala Besut as I need to head back to Tanjung Malim, Perak. It was an epic start to 2018. Better than what I expected. Thankful to God with this abundance reward and hopefully we can build a strong momentum for 2018.