26 May 2008

Yan Kedah Tenggiri Hunting

Report by Takin

On the 15th of May, some intrepid LKGers decided to test the waters of Yan for tenggiri. This motley group was made up of the infamous Two-Lans (Lannun, Lansi), Dolah, Jackpot and yours truly. This time of the year is the back end of the tenggiri season, but of late there was news of certain trips out of Dulang registering catches of 10 specimens or more. This is a strong indication that the fish are still around in big numbers; maybe their extended stay is a result of the of the quirky weather conditions. If I remember correctly, the beginning of the tenggiri season this year started late, so an extended tail end of the season is good news for anglers born and bred on the tuas action.

We went in two cars, Lan’s and mine. An early start which is the norm brought us to the Dulang jetty by 6.30pm. After having a leisurely breakfast, we boarded the boat with our supplies (I really like the nasi lemak bungkus and the bihun goreng at the jetty stall). On weekends, it is quite often for the food at the nearby stall to be finished. Latecomers would have to travel out of Dulang for their food, but today was a weekday, so there were not that many boats headed out to sea. As before, we were on Kri’s boat and this time Pak Ayub was joined by another boathand called Razak. These two are a regular crew on the boat.

The seas were rather rough as we headed out, this certainly caused concern especially for Dolah. On a previous trip, he had been beset by mal-de-mer and that was enough to make him vow not to make another Tuas trip (until now – let’s see – that vow lasted about a few months !) But as the morning wore on, the waters calmed. There was some ominous looking storm clouds on the horizon, but the boatman determined that they were going to miss our boat by moving north. And so it did. The clouds dumped their prodigious cargo on the seas around Pulau Bunting and left us with wonderful weather and calm seas. This is more like it, now to see if the fish would play ball !

Unlike the previous trip when I left my sabiki jigs at home, there was enough to use for a few trips! But then we found that boreks (Rastrelliger Kanagurta) were hard to come by. Only selars were coming up on the jigs, and this was not good. We did keep some bait sized selar as livebaits while the bigger ones ended up on ice. They would make good tauchu dishes and Lansi was already salivating. We had some dead baits, termenung (Rastrelliger Brachysoma) bought from the Pulau Betong jetty but unfortunately, on that day I bought them, there were so many termenung that the boatmen simply did not bother with proper icing of their catches. The fish were most probably going to end up processed or as feed rather than sold for food, and they dispensed with the ice. That made them soft and unsuitable for tenggiri casting.

We headed out to Kri’s tuas and everyone began doing their thing. The water was deep blue and crystal clear, and I had some concerns that the fish would be spooky and difficult to deceive. Dolah wanted to try casting lures and we all joined him; when the water is crystal clear, the low light conditions would normally be the only time the fish could be fooled into taking artificials. We saw many willing takers but no solid hookups. Many were banangs (longtoms – Tylosorus Crocodilus) and were considered pests in moe ways than one. Consider yourself lucky if they do not take home your precious lure! A few specimens even contrived to hit our live baits meant for tenggiri, and made short work of our limited live bait supply. Dolah did stay attached to a big fish that we suspected to be a sizable GT on a Rattlin Rap in Chrome Blue (this seems to be a favourite colour for sea fishing wherever it may be), but the fish got entangled in a handline and was soon lost. Unfortunately for me, a banang took home my battle scarred Abu Hammer spoon which had been so productive in Pulau Sembilan, while Dolah lost the abovementioned Rattlin Rap. Both lures are discontinued, and are hard to find!

The boatman did manage to land a few talang (Queenfish – Scomberoides Commersonianus) around the kilo mark which was fooled by “bulu” – white colured duck’s feather or hackles rigged with a hook and retrieved erratically. They told us that the day before had yielded them many talangs on this method. Today, there seemed to be fewer around, but they certainly made up for their lack in number with much bigger sizes.

We also had some talang take our live baits, and these acrobatic pelagics were a welcome adversary on our light tackle. Using a 30lb set meant for light trolling and bottom bouncing, I let out a live selar on a dropper rig tied to 1 metre leader and was hit almost immediately. But the brute force of the take was such that the 50lb leader broke instantly! The boatman saw this and advised me to set an even lighter drag and let the fish take the line. I rigged another leader, hooked another selar and set the bait at depth I was hit earlier. As I was asking him to see if my drag was set lightly enough, a fish hit the selar and I was on ! The fish was definitely a talang and after a few anxious moments, was safely landed via a landing net. The handsome specimen was approximately 2.5kg and would have been a great adversary on lighter gear. Another live bait set then attracted the attention of a 2 foot long barracuda; the take was soft and the fish simply remained stationary. When I set the hook, the fish ran to the surface within visual distance. I could see the line and not the hook and sure enough the line was sliced right in front of my eyes give the fish its freedom. A short while later, there was a double hook up, my live bait setup was hit at the same time a talang hit the “bulu” that the tekong was retrieving. Both were sizable specimens, and my 50lb leader was broken again. The tekong lost his fish as the hooks pulled mid water. There seemed to be a lot of large talangs in this tuas ! Hmmmmm…. I wonder what flies could do; after all talangs are suckers for bilis patterns! Maybe some of the keen fly-fishers might want to take up the challenge next time.

At this tuas, the boatman began deploying some handlines rigged with fresh squid for kerapu (Epinephelus Coioides) – greasy grouper or estuary cod. They used large handlines and ratan rods of about a feet in length. One end was stuck into rudimentary rod holders on the gunwale and the baited line was tied to the other end. A small fishing bell rounded out the gear. For this trip, we had 3 strikes, and only 1 fish of about 1 kg was landed. The kerapu simply took the bait and went straight into its lair, snagging us up. This fish was forcefully manhandled by the boatmen and dragged out of its hiding place unceremoniously to later grace our get together dinner. We suspected the other specimens that got away to be bigger, as the take was more violent than the one landed. They snagged us up pretty good, and that was that. A bell going off was certainly the perfect adrenaline rush, and it was interesting to see the boatmen drop everything they are doing and scramble for the set lines. They have to be quick in order to try to keep the fish from snagging up the line too badly. This kerapu season, the biggest they had landed so far was an 18kg specimen; their all time record was a respectable 27kg! Oh well, maybe next time we will get to land the bigger ones…..

At this time there were several of us already at the back casting lures or termenung for tenggiri. Suddenly there was a commotion at the back; it was Jackpot hooked up to a tenggiri on his Cherrywood ! We were cheering him on, but with some concern, the last time we saw him in this situation, he lost his fish boatside. The fish was safely landed after a short fight, and Jackpot had finally managed to get the tenggiri monkey off his back ! Well done ! The size was nothing to shout about but we have a tenggiri on the scoreboard.

The tenggiri and GTs were feeding just outside the tuas, and schools of nervous baitfish were exploding on the surface every now and then. Lannun then had a take on his dead termenung and after a spirited fight, this biiger tenggiri was landed as well. After a lull of a few minutes, it was the turn of Razak to register a hit on his termenung. This was a better sized specimen and the fight lasted a bit longer. In a span of about 30 minutes, we had had 3 tenggiri landed. Things were looking up !

A short while later, a handline baited with a live selar was hit mid water. After a short but savage fight, a handsome, thick set GT (Caranx Ignobilis) was landed. During our lure casting session, we could see GTs milling around and chasing our lures but they were spooky and refused to take our offerings. The water was clear enough for us to make out schools of talang cruising in midwater and a host of other tuas species. We also spotted a huge school of termenung (R. Brachysoma) feeding; in this mood they simply ignored sabiki rigs.

By late afternoon there was little action; we decided to drop some baited sabiki jigs over the side and see what came up. We were pleasantly surprised when we pulled up some kedarang – fusiliers (Caesio spp) and berangan (Pinjalo pinjalo). The whole group got in on the act and before long we had a sizable number of these delectable fishes on ice. We also landed some pelata bali (Pseudocaranx dentex) , and I was once again surprised by a frisky talang that just did not know when to give up….. A few exhilirating runs later, Jackpot slid a net under a well-conditioned carangid!

The bite lasted a few hours and after landing a mixed bag we decided to call it a day. Although the tenggiri action was limited, this tuas provided us with alternative quarry that we always had something to target. All in all we had a relatively productive outing. A surprise was in store for us at the Dulang jetty though when we discovered that a boat had landed 30 plus tenggiri from another tuas! Another trip is in the offing then…… wait for the story !

19 May 2008

Pulau 9 1st Mei 2008

Teks by: Takin

The 1 st May was not simply a day off, it has and always been an opportunity to fish.! Akashah, his wife Rina and Defender had made arrangements to go to Pulau Sembilan and required two more participants to make up the quorum. So Dolah and I made up the numbers and arrangements were quickly made.

We left Dolah’s place the night before the day of the trip to Lumut, meeting Akashah and his better half at the air-conditioned steel cabins the operators have prepared for their clients. After giving our tackle a serious going thorough we turned in at around 2am after supper. Changing of split rings, trebles, retying of FGs took us almost 2 hours as we brought quite a number of sets just in case. Tidal conditions and the location of their jetty which is quite far inland conspired to create a situation where we had to leave the jetty at 4-5am as the tide receded or wait for the incoming tide at 9am to make our way out to sea. This was further compounded by the fact that the boatman told us that we would have to be back by 4pm or risk being stranded by the outgoing tide. This shortened our fishing window considerably, and we consoled ourselves by sympathising with those who actually had to work that day, while we went fishing ! As we needed the rest, we reluctantly decided on a 9am start despite the shrotfalls of such an arrangement.

At the jetty the next morning, we encountered some commercial fishermen bringing back some of their catches. Some had used the normal gill nets and brought back a whole host of typical fare. But the ones who caught our attention were a bunch who fished for quality fish on rods and hand lines! We were stunned by the size of jenahak they caught. We saw at least 10 specimens weighing from 1.5kg to 6kg+ that was weighed and sold near our cabins. It seemed that when the tide is right and the weather good, fishermen would go out at night using live squid specifically to target these fish. There were also some big sting-rays, a medium one weighed for sale was about 8kg. And there were several specimens much bigger than that! I t certainly made us think about the type of fishing available in these waters apart from lurecasting for pelagics.

After buying the requisite supplies from nearby breakfast stalls, we pushed off for the islands. Defender had arrived in the morning, and had quickly stowed his gear on the boat. I was quite surprised to find out that he had never been on a casting trip to Pulau Sembilan. After all, he was a hardcore caster who hails from the area. To attest to his prowess, just the week before he had landed a 2.9kg siakap putih in Trong while fishing alone ! This type of dedication is something that is hard to find let alone fathom. How many of us would fish alone on trips like that?

We were blessed with fine weather and calm seas, although we expected the day to be hot. The water was blue enough to do justice to the term “the deep blue sea”. We reached the islands at about 10am, and started the day casting for cencaru at Pulau Batu Putih. There were several boats already there, with the attendant birds broadcasting the presence of baitfish on the surface. We saw longtoms and cencarus attacking them on the surface, but unlike the previous trip we could not entice them to strike. Our failure to hookup any were mirrored by the other boats. According to the boatman, the erratic movement of the fish made it difficult us to approach them. In our previous trip, the schools were gathering further away from Batu Putih, and were more predictable in their movement. This made it a real option for us to use light spoons and feathers. All we had to do was move up current and slowly drifted towards their position.

After about an hour, we decided to go in search of more amenable species. The water current was medium, which made it very pleasant for any type of fishing. The first few stops only produced the dreaded longtoms. They were willing takers of lures and were entertaining at first, but only if they did not take back any of our precious lures. Rina landed a decent sized longtom on Rapala Vibrax and marked that specimen as her first Pulau Sembilan fish. Similar results followed for everyone; while I managed to up the ante a bit by hooking and a losing a smallish queenfish (talang). The fish hit the silver 14g Altima and raced back towards the boat. I frantically reeled in the line but as soon as the line was taut, it jumped and performed a perfect aerial cartwheel to throw the hooks. A well done was a deserved reaction to the antics of that fish !

Between the absence of sizable quarry and the abundance of longtoms, I was not sure which sapped our strength more. At around 10.30am, we neared another one of those fishy looking bays that characterises so many of these islands’ shores. I think the fishy appearance of these locations is the reason we found the strength to carry on casting! This bay was calmer as compared to some of the others we had fished. Immediately Dolah was hooked up on a Rattlin Fat Rap RFR-5 CHB (Chrome Blue) … and in a blink of an eye, I felt a take on my trusty Altima. Double hook up! But there was no blistering run that we have come to expect from a GT! And judging from the bend of the rods, these were not small ones either.

Initially I was horrified to see my line being pulled downwards and towards the boat. I reeled as quickly as I could and as soon as the line came taut, the unmistakable power of a heads-down GT and the rythmic tail beats began chorusing through the line. Incidentally I was equipped with a Daiwa Exist 3012 spooled with 20lb Stren braid in green tipped with 40lb Vanish fluoro. My rod was a 6-15 lb Techna AV 1 pc and the power of the GT was beautifully translated into a full fighting curve which brought out the best in the rod. I think I am beginning to like the 1 pc rod characteristics despite the obvious inconvenience associated with it. Dolah was using a Daiwa Caldia Kix 2500 similarly loaded with 20lb Stren braid in green and 40lb Vanish fluoro. The matching Eagle GT rod was similarly tested as both fish fought on doggedly underneath the boat. As both fish had adopted the same posture in the fight, for a while it looked like we were fighting the same fish. But I knew there were 2 fish as during the initial take my line was pulled in a different direction than Dolah’s.

The fish had actually managed to cross our lines as we were not able to keep them apart; fortunately for us this happened well into the fight and both specimens had nothing left in to take advantage of the situation. Both fish were duly netted (both at once!) the compulsory photos followed. Both were healthy specimens of tackle busting, heart stopping package of piscatorial terror! My fish weighed 5.5lbs while Dolah’s had another half a pound on it. A quick release followed and we were on the scoreboard.

Later decided to take a rest as the rest of the day unfolded. Instead I simply tied FGs, ate, drank and made merry as the pressure was off. I had also wanted the foredeck to be clear for others to break their duck. Dolah continued casting, as he was very enamoured of his setup and the RFR-5. There were many instances where we could see fish racing after the lures but turned at the last moment to derive the bunch of us hopping mad. Once, a barracuda about a metre long followed a lure right up to the boat before disappearing underneath it. Not before favouring us with a view of its’ huge chevron marked flanks !

A few half hearted follows by GTs and many full blooded strikes from longtoms later, Dolah had another follow by a smallish GT which did the now familiar about turn in full view of the boat. No one took it seriously as it had happened too many times before. The only difference this time was that on his next cast to that spot, the RFR-5 was monstered big time by a good specimen. A few good runs later, and with his tackle holding together, I slid the landing net under the GT (a tight fit!) and brought aboard the largest GT that I had personally ever seen landed on a typical Pulau Sembilan trip. At 8lbs on the boga, it translated to a shade under 3.7kgs. The fish had swallowed the lure whole, but somehow the hooks had missed the vital parts and was removed after some effort. The fish was very weak due to handling pressure and time out of the water, but after some determined effort to revive it, this fish swam off to fight another day.

I continued on the light and easy mode, while the rest kept up their effort – Rina then landed a good sized talang pandan which was well over 600g, her second specie in the waters of Pulau Sembilan. She was proving able to withstand the heat and showed no sign of seasickness and was showing someone how to fish !

Dolah then changed to a Surecatch popper which I must say did not pop very well. It must have been the heavier hooks that we had used; but it turned into a very attractive pencil bait when constantly retrieved. Te heavier hooks also improved the casting distance. On one such cast, the popper was taken right after landing by another GT. By this time, Akashah and Defender were gnashing their teeth as their non-stop efforts had still come up to naught while Dolah was hooking them up one after another. Actually, from a spectator’s point of view, I could not see anything that they could have done to improve their chances. This GT was also safely landed, a handsome specimen of about 5.5lbs. This fish also lived to fight another day. By this time the tide was already full and was about to turn. This usually brought a decline in fishing activity and so it proved.

My rest period was beginning to bore me so I decided to do some sabiki jigging. My position enabled me to keep an eye on the sonar, and I was excited by the amount of corals and fishes showing up on the sounder. My jigs were constantly taken by small fishes, from coral ooglies to small groupers. I made it a point to try this method next time and to come better prepared. I didn’t have a heavy enough sinker and a correspondingly heavy gear. It seemed there was a myriad of fish stacked under the boat at any given time. At this time Rina had hooked and landed another talang pandan.

The only species I had hooked of any size was a talang pandan, a cencaru which managed to throw the jig near the boat and a grouper of about 200g which took an Altima spoon which I had dropped mid-water. A school of medium sized fish had showed up on the sonar at 20+ feet and out of curiosity, I dropped it to that depth. The take was immediate; I was wondering what the grouper was doing there as the seabed was at 40 feet !

At this time we were fishing at the small rocky islands which happened to be on our way back to the jetty. The place looked fishy but the only action we encountered was when Defender had a hookup to a GT which hit, swam non-stop and was rewarded with his 15g Halco twister. Still it was quite an experience for the first timer. In fact, he has pencilled himself in for our next trip !

A while later it was time to go back, and we reached the jetty at about 4.20pm. it was an early end to our trip as we typically return at 6-7pm.


1) Plan your trip carefully to maximise fishing time. Tides may dictate departure and return times so be aware to avoid disappointment!

2) We observed that most of our takes occurred during the incoming tide. The outgoing tide was more quiet although not quite devoid of any action

3) Arriving early and sleeping over is recommended, it would give anglers much needed rest and an early fishing start. If necessary, anglers can also sleep after the trip and drive home the NEXT morning. Safer that way.

05 May 2008

LKG latest playground

If you are interested in sport fishing, a pond stocked with lots of Barramundi, Mangrove Jack and few other saltwater fishes then head over to Kakilai Fishing Centre in Sungai Petani, Kedah.

Kakilai Fishing Centre is the newest playground for every sport fishing anglers to wet their lines and make the most out of your fishing lures. This pond is strictly a catch and release pond where anglers are only allowed to fish with artificial lures and no bait fishing is allowed. The actions here is lure and fly fishing and you are guaranteed lots of spectacular action throughout your day.

This pond offers plenty of good-sized fish to catch plus a good clean environment for you to fish. The surrounding area is well kept and cleanliness is always at its best.

Besides using the normal spinning or casting fishing method, anglers can also fly fish at this pond. Ample space is available if you are into fly fishing. Fly fishing is a very effective technique at Kakilai and certainly the most fun that can be had at the end of a fishing rod.

Good fishing well worth a day's pay!

Open only on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays from 9.00am till 6.00pm
Venue: Semeling Town, Sungai Petani North, Kedah Darul Aman.
Cost: RM30 per person

Location Map
- From SP north toll, go straight pass the 1st and 2nd traffic lights (Bandar Laguna Merbok).
- Look out for a driving school on your right.
- At the 3rd traffic light(Semeling), make a u-turn and head back. It's the red soil (tanah merah) trail right before the driving school.

04 May 2008

Tiger2my in Chonburi, Thailand

Knowing that while he is away in Thailand and most of us LKG's were fishing happily at the new found playground, our Siamese Tiger also counter combat us with his fishing catches in one of the pond in the King's land. His catches alone makes most of us drool back home here in Penang.