Rompin Re-visited April 2013

First of all, i would like to apologize for taking so long to blog. I gotten numerous messages on facebook, fishingkaki and emails asking what happened. I had an injury to my right arm. I also developed tendonitis on the same elbow. I was advised to rest my arm before this upcoming jigging trip in Rompin. Thats why i have only been fishing short 1-2 hour luring sessions. Thanks for the concern guys, i really appreciate you guys texting and messaging me to find out how i was.

This trip was planned way in advance. In fact we had already firmed the date down in December. As the trip got closer, we got all the tackle we needed. (Please check out http://tacklewhore.blogspot.sg/ for some good fishing gear at affordable prices) Couple of day before we set out to Rompin, we received news about a collision between a fishing boat and a trawler. 3 Singaporean anglers were killed and 5 others injured. This tragedy sent shockwaves through the local fishing community. We would like to express our deepest condolences to the families of the fallen anglers. Remember to take the right precautions when you are out to sea and leave nothing to chance.

Day 1:

After an uneventful drive up, Jith, Kenneth, my wife and i, reached Rompin River Chalet at 6.30am. We were greeted by this cute little pup and were kept entertained by her antics till the Boss, James showed up. We were shown to out rooms and soon set up the gear and went for breakfast. Our little friend kept us company all the way. Jith, named her Ruscato for some reason. As we were there on a Thursday, there were not much people around. Our Captain, Ah Ping, showed up at half past seven. He told us that we'd be fishing with him for two days instead of 3 as another group of regulars were coming to fish on Fri, Sat and Sun. So we'd fish with him on Thurs and Fri and they'd fish with him on Sat and Sun. They were to fish with another boatman on Fri and we would fish with another boatman on Sat.

After filling up some form and putting on our PFDs, we set off at 8am. After a long journey stopped for some baitfish. (Jith was the designated bait catcher! haha!) The Captain's new boat was spacious and the rest of us found a spot for a quick snooze. Bait was caught and we moved off to Jig. First spot, Jith hooked on to a screamer on his 2nd try! It was quite funny as i was facing the other side and i saw a Sailfish jump infront of another boat 10 meters away. And i turned around to Jith bent over on the other side of the boat with his Shimano Sustain 4000 screaming! The boatman was laughing at his dilema, as Jith was using a Majorcraft Crostage PE 0.6-1.2 rod. ( In fact Kenneth and myself had also brought along the same rod paired with similar sized reels. Turned out to be super fun and but tiring.) We had to chase the fish in reverse to get some line back. After 20 minutes, the fish was finally subdued. A quick photo and the fish was released. Nothing happened after that so Captain moved off. As we were going to the second spot, the Captain spotted a huge ball of baitfish being attacked by birds and fish. He headed straight to the action and began jigging but no takes. The bait ball passed under the front of the boat where i was standing and i noticed that they were very tiny fish. The bait ball stayed under the boat for a few minutes and they were safe. I quickly changed to a small eupro jig as the rest continued jigging. As soon as the bait ball left the shelter of the boat and swam 10 meters, they were attacked again. We even saw a shark. They were being attacked on all sides. Everyone was casting and jiggging hoping to get a hook up. My first cast fell just short of the ball. No takes as i jigged back. On the second cast, i managed to cast just beyond the bait ball. I left the jig sink a little longer before i started jigging. Three strokes into jigging i was on!!!! The fish sped away from me in the first run. Almost reminding me of a GT. Then it began to shake it's head like a Cobia. Still no sign of it and the tug of war continued for another couple of minutes. Finally, the Captain spotted it and patted me on the back. Rainbow Runner on a jig!!! He told me i was probably the first one to land it on a jig. (i am not sure of if this is a fact, but i'll take it as a compliment.) Boat was buzzing with excitement as the fish began tiring. Everyone was looking out for that shark we spotted earlier. Captain on the other hand told me, 'you can ask James to cook curry! This fish tastes great!) Fish was landed and a quick photo later off it went to the cooler.

Nothing happened till noon. And we had lunch as we headed to another spot. Captain told us, we can jig or fish the bottom. Jith had a hit, but failed to set the hook. This spot was deeper and the current was stronger so i had to use an 80g jig. I switched to my Zerek Tamer and Twinpower SW4000PG set up and dropped my jig to the bottom. 20 minutes in still nothing. Captain was bewildered cos there were fish and big ones at that showing in the fish finder. As i sent my jig down to bounce it of the bottom, i felt a little thud. I thought i had hit rock or coral and quickly tugged it upwards sharply to prevent the jig from getting snagged. Imagine my surprise, when the line began peeling out of the screaming reel! Fish on!!! Captain told me, 'Ebek.' The fish brought me round the back of the boat. I had never caught an Ebek before, so i was pretty excited. The fish was putting up a good fight. Captain estimated that it was probably above 3kg. Once the fish was landed, it was weighed before a quick photo. 5kg, not bad for my first Ebek! At this point my arm was very sore from the jigging and the tendonitis was working up so i took a break while everyone began bottom fishing. The deckie got busted off 2 times. Captain said they were Ebeks. 3rd time was lucky for him as he landed a table sized parrot. Captain landed a Barracuda after that.

Couple of hours later the clouds were beginning to gather and the current picked up quite a bit. Strong winds meant the waves were big. Captain said we would be heading back soon. As everyone was doing bottom fishing, i went to the back of the boat to jig. ( I was trying for Spanish Mackerel ) After 30 minutes of jigging, i took a little water break and told myself i would jig another 10 times and stop.
As i released the jig for the 6th round, suddenly the line went out faster than usual. It took me about 3 seconds to realize that the jig was taken on the drop. I closed the bail arm and set the hook. FISH ON!!!

The fish shot off, after a 15 minute tug of war it surfaced about 5 meters away from the boat. A huge Cobia! I got the fish along side the boat and the Captain warned me that the fish still seemed green. He told me to get out of the fishes way once he gaffed it into the boat. I braced myself and slowly brought the fish in. The Captain, got ready to gaff the fish but he missed! The fish dived straight down. We were fishing at a depthof  80 or so feet of water. Round two!!! This time the fish put up a strong fight. He was holding deep and had the current in his favor. Every time i manage to get a fair bit of line back, he would shoot down below the boat. I went left to right countless times. The fish fought hard and fought dirty. 30 minutes in, my arm was killing me. The waves were getting bigger and i had dropped on my knees quite a few times as the fish shot off under the boat and across to the other side. Everytime i would get him up he would shoot down to the bottom. All the other boats had left and we were the only ones left there. We were at a standstill and my fingers were going numb. Shortly after i handed the rod over to Jith. He brought the fish up in the next 10 minutes. It was just dead weight by then. Captain gaffed it and it was landed. A huge sigh of relief from everyone. Captain smiled and said, ' ok lets go back.' I knew in my heart that my arm was done for this trip. The Cobia maxed out the boga.

We got back to the jetty and proceeded to fillet the Cobia and gut the other fishes. A familiar face arrived later with a similar sized Cobia. I guess these guys are common in Rompin waters. We had quite a few admirers of the Rainbow Runner. It was the smallest of the 3 i landed, weighing just below 4kg. Took our shower and had a nice dinner. Knocked back some beers and called it a night. I was out in 5 minutes.

Cute little pup Jith named Ruscato

Jith on his Sail

Sailfish on jig

Bye Bye Beautiful

Rainbow runner on jig

Eupro 24g jig

My 1st Ebek

Asari Cast Fighter 80g jig Silver

Asari Cast Fighter 80g Silver

More than a meter long

Landed on Zerek Tamer pe0.8-1 and Twinpower sw4000pg

Day 1 catches

Day 1 dinner


Day 2:

I woke up with a super sore arm. My wife told me not to jig today. I nodded my head and we went for breakfast. Jith and Kenneth were already outside playing with little Ruscato. We headed off at 8am. Captain told us we were going to try for Tenggiri today. The journey to the spot would take us more than an hour. Nothing at the first spot. It was raining where we were and the waves were big. Second spot was next to some bubu. I tried to jig but i felt a sharp pain in my arm. I tried to change my handle to the left side but some how the twinpower's handle would not screw in properly on the other side. Everyone on the boat had a go at it and gave up. Oh well, i fished for bait fish. As the waves got bigger , the Captain took us to fish near some islands. The weather was much better there. Within 5 minutes at the first spot, Kenneth was on. We were drifting and the Jig was taken on the drop. It was his first fish of the trip. 15 minutes later a 4kg Jemundok was landed. Jith who had a bottom rod out got a nice table sized grouper. As the weather cleared we headed back to the Tengirri spot. I was trying to show my wife how to jig slowly when i got a fish on. Fortunately, it was just a baby Barracuda. Greedy fish, took a jig 1/3 it's size. Kenneth hit another baby Barracuda later in the day. We had two live bait out on Mackeral Rigs. We had 3 takes from the tooth fish, none of them were hooked up. Captain said they might be juveniles. We had to head back early as the waves at the entrance of the river were huge. Captain apologized for the lousy catch. We told him it was ok. We took a gamble for the Tengirris and it didn't pay off. Part and parcel of fishing. He introduced us to our Captain for the next day at the jetty. After a quick shower and a hearty dinner, Jith, my wife and i kicked back with some beer and rock music courtesy of Astro, while Kenneth watched 'The Priest' in the next room.

Mr Cool

Jemondok on Surecatch Flasher jig 80g Green

Dinner Day 2


Day 3:

We woke up to the sound of cars arriving. It was the weekend and our fellow Singaporean anglers had arrived for a weekend of fishing. The place was bustling with activity. There was a shortage of prawns so we were one of the last boats to leave the jetty. This Captain's boat was way smaller than Ah Ping's boat. I couldn't stand without knocking my head! Today's plan was to try for some Ebek in the morning and get some Sailfish for Kenneth and my wife later in the day ( They did not land any sails on our last trip.) As we moved off the jetty another boat came straight towards us from the side. We yelled and the Captain looked up in time to steer his boat away. Even though the boats were moving slowly, it was still dangerous of him to text and drive his boat. He apologized as the rest of the Captains present chided him.

Finally we set off. The Captain and deckie hardly said a word to us during the trip. There was nervousness from both camps. Once we got to the spot. Kenneth was on! 'Big Ebek' the Captain said. This fish went round the boat before getting tangled in the anchor rope! Fortunately, the Captain pulled off an AMAZING maneuver to free the fish. And the deckie gaffed the fish. 7kg on the boga! Good start. Jith was on next on his bottom rig. Time time a smaller Ebek about 3kg was landed. I was bottom fishing and had no bite. The deckie lost 2 fishes due to poor hook set as the fish got free mid way through the fight. The Captain showed him how it was done with a Whooper! 10kg on the boga ( i am not sure if this is accurate as the boga seemed quite old. I also read that big Ebeks have yellowish mouths at the 10kg range.) He let my wife fight the fish for awhile before taking over to end the battle. My wife was trying to jig and i was teaching her. As she let out the jig, i noticed the line shooting out from the reel. I instinctively shut the bail arm, and the rod bent into a beautiful curve. Big Ebek the Captain shouted as line peeled out from the reel. 10 minutes in, still no sign of the fish. We were fishing in 40 feet of water and the current was not very strong. The fish headed under the boat, with a few minor adjustments i got her to get the fish out from under the boat. As it began to come up it shot out towards the surface. I saw the dorsal fin and i knew. Cobia! Remembering my fight from the first day i told her to pace herself. 20 mins had gone and the fish was still fighting. My wife passed me the rod and i got the fish boat side. It was huge! Captain gaffed the fish, but the fish peeled off. I guess it was hurt as it was bleeding badly. Tightened the drag and pumped the fish up. This time the Captain made no mistake. The fish was landed! High fives all around. The fish maxed out my boga. This fish was definitely bigger than my cobia. I saw the look on my wife's face. Sheer, excitement. If she could have screamed she would. It was 11am and we had 4 fish in the boat that filled the boat's cooler to the bream.

We had lunch on the way to the Sailfish spot. Here it was a waiting game. The Captain let out two baitfish at the the back of the boat. Jith and i were jigging for bait fish. We had Kerisi, Tamban, Kembong and Selar to keep us company. Kenneth and my wife waited patiently for the sails. Suddenly Jith and I were hooking something heavy and then loosing it. Turns out some squid had come to visit. Unfortunately we didn't hook any up with the squid jigs so it was back to sabiki and baitfish. Almost 2 hours passed. No sigh of the sails. After a quick check with Kenneth and my wife, i told the Captain to go back to catching Ebek. The words barely passed my lips and one of the reels drags went off. It was my wife's reel. Captain made sure the hook was set and the fight was on. With a little guidance, my wife landed her first sail. Quick photo and the fish was released. Kenneth, wanted to go back to the Ebeks.

Got to another Ebek spot. No bites. Captain suggested we pop by a Tenggiri zone nearby for 30 minutes. 4 Jackson Pintails in the water no bites. We moved on to the next Ebek spot. This was the last spot of the day. Jith hooked up on a live prawn here, but the fish dropped the hook. Almost immediately, Kenneth was on! Another Ebek was landed without incident. I tried jigging and got a Todak foul hooked. Pretty fun fish. Let him go after a photo. Last fish of the day was another Ebek, I don't remember who landed it but i saw Jith posing with it. ( i was napping :D) We headed back early. Cut and packed the fishes into the coolers. We had to get a styrofoam box cos the fish wouldn't fit. Had a shower, packed up our stuff and went for an early dinner. While we had dinner the other boats arrived. Seemed like a good day all round. Two huge Tenggiris were landed by one boat 7kg and 8kg.
Lots of Ebeks. Our Captain's Ebek was the biggest. Ah Ping came over and chatted with us before we left. We 'll be back soon. But right now, I can't wait to get on Captain Badol's boat and get them Tengirris on Saturday. Stay Tuned!

Going under the boat!

Kenneth's 1st Ebek

Not her fish but happy to oblige with a pose

Look at his spastic pose

Smallest Ebek of the trip 3kg

Fish on!

Finally boatside

Surecatch Flasher Jig 60g Silver/Black. Boga Maxed!


the catch at 11am

 Jith's Ebek on Prawn

Clear waters of Rompin!

Boo!

Sail On!

Color!

First Sail!

Todak or 'Singapore Marlin' as the rompin boatman call them

Small Spanish Flag

Fish On!

Surecatch Flasher jig 80g Green

Deckie cutting up the fish

Dinner Day 3

Comments

  1. each time i visit your blog, i am entertained by the informative and descriptive CRs !

    good job on landing the cobias with light tackle!

    excellent rainbow runners on jigs and kudos to ur wife for landing her 1st sail as well .



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  2. Thanks for Reading Lawrence!

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