Floor Control, Puchong Prima – 27 April 2019
An unexpected day off turns into an unexpected day on the water. Got my off-day changed from Saturday to Sunday I decided to use this opportunity to catch up with my friend and guide, Fahmi and what better way to talk about fish than being on the water and cranking ‘em from the depths of Prima Lake.
Upon meeting up at the docks, Fahmi told me that he hasn’t been on the lake for 3 weeks, and with recent rains, water levels have risen and clarity has dropped. Whether this was a good thing or a bad thing, there’s only one way to find out. One thing that was painfully obvious about Prima Lake is the blistering heat that can bring even the most hard-core anglers to their knees. Fortunately, being a man from the future, Fahmi is always prepared.
The conditions that day were sunny in the middle of the day then partially cloudy afterwards with a rather strong breeze blowing, threatening to blow away Fahmi’s umbrella hat. Recent heavy rains have raised the water level significantly and has made it slightly murky. The rains have also triggered a spawning response in the Peacocks of Prima, causing them to move up to the shallows in preparation for spawning.
Fahmi’s signature technique for targeting Peacock Bass in Prima Lake. This basically means using a Carolina Rig with a small Chinu hook about a meter from the sinker, and a tiny, and I mean tiny soft plastic. What that soft plastic is doesn’t matter. Whether it’s a grub, minnow, swimbait, or even pieces of plastic cut from larger baits, the fish will eat it. Plastic worms on jigheads may also be used. Now for the floor control itself, the key is to maintain bottom contact. Cast out to your targeted area, let your bait sink all the way to the bottom, lift your rod tip slightly and reel in a little bit of line, let it sink to the bottom again, do this until your bait gets all the way to the boat. Repeat until you get a bite, voila! Although tempo can be adjusted based on the conditions. If you aren’t getting bites after a while, change it up by speeding it up or slowing it down. Keep in mind that this is not the only way to catch fish in Prima, although it’s the technique that works best for me and Fahmi. It also covers a lot of water compared to let’s say, a dropshot rig.
Enough of tutorials, let’s get fishing! We got on Fahmi’s boat and headed out to our first point, a bank with a soft bottom, ideal spawning grounds. I cast my line out and applied floor control. A sensitive rod is ideal for this style of fishing as you can easily feel the structure on the bottom. In this case, I felt and indentation in the mud not too far from the bank. Suspecting this indentation to be a Peacock Bass nest, I slowed down my retrieve so my bait would stay in the area longer. Sure enough I felt a light peck followed by an erratic thumping, the fight was on and the fish was caught. I only wanted a selfie with it.
We decided to drift with the wind after my first fish. One thing about higher than usual water levels, structure that would normally be high and dry on the bank is now submerged, making for ideal structure for fish to lurk in ambush. I noticed a lone stump sticking out of the water and took a cast next to it before Fahmi noticed. As expected, a fish was waiting there and bit my lure as soon as it hit the bottom. I has to play a bit rougher to drag this fish to the boat to avoid losing it to the snags.
We drift further out at the mercy of the wind. We anchored at a point where water dumps into the lake and the bottom is rocky and full of snags; a haven for fish, a nightmare for anglers. I snag the bottom again and again to the amusement of Fahmi. On what seems to be my fourth snag, Fahmi hooks onto his first sizable fish of the day. He uses his rod to guide the fighting fish away from my snagged line, making sure he doesn’t lose this fish. I suggested we move to another spot because I kept getting snagged, but Fahmi thinks we should stay because he has a hunch that this spot holds more fish. Luckily we went with Fahmi’s plan because once I retied my rig for what seemed like the 10th time, we doubled up on a pair of nice sized lake lunkers. Fahmi fought his fish at the back end of the boat while I was up front to make sure our lines don’t cross and so that the fish don’t tie knots under the boat.
The bite started to die down after our double hookup as the sun started to dip behind the clouds. Fahmi always said that Prima Peacock Bass are at their most active during the hottest time of the day, much to the dismay of anglers. As the temperature cooled and the light faded, we decided to move back to our first spot to look for nesting bass that have come to the shallows. At that point in time I was starting to get distracted by the many Giant Snakeheads rising all over the place. It is known that Prima Giant Snakeheads are difficult to coax into taking a lure, so I put down my Toman set for later. I didn’t have much luck with Peacocks after that as well but Fahmi caught another decent sized one that put up quite a good fight. While myself on the other hand, managed to catch a little fun-sized one.
It was nearing sunset and I have officially put down my Peacock rod and opted to hunt for Giant Snakeheads instead, despite Fahmi telling me that it was a lost cause. Fahmi however stuck to looking for Peacocks, this time along grass lines. While I was distracted by a nearby Toman rise, a group of Peacocks frenzied in the distance. I scrambled to reel in my line and change rods while Fahmi had already took a cast into the group. A few twitches of his rod and he was on to a good fish, as I sat back down, pulled out my camera and became a reluctant cameraman. He landed his fish and we saw it was a solid bass. Lesson here, listen to the guide!
After the fish was released back to the depths, we decided to end the day and headed back to the docks before the sun fully set. All in all it was a fantastic day out fishing. I learned a lot from Fahmi about different rigs and lures to use for Peacock Bass, but I still prefer the Carolina Rig because I find it’s really effective in getting fish into the boat. A lot of factors were at work to make our day out on the water a great one; the water was high and slightly murky, the sun was hot at noon, and recent rainfall triggered the fish to come to the shallows. I end this article with a piece of advice, when hunting for the Peacock Bass of Prima Lake, please ignore the snakeheads!