Despite going to Desaru at the start of April for a work related trip and catching my biggest Spanish Mackerel to date at 10kg, i have been looking forward to this trip more than any other trip. The reason was that this trip was planned while we were out fishing in Linggiu last year. And it consisted of some of my good friends. :)
We set off at 5.30am and reached Desaru without any delays. The group was made up of Kenneth, Lala, Morgan and Myself. This was Morgan's Maiden Trip to Desaru.We were to meet Capt Zam straight at the beach at 8.30am, so we had a quick breakfast and hung out at the beach while waiting for him to come back from his night trip.
Zam returned to the beach at about a quarter to 8. He went for a quick shower and breakfast, while we loaded our stuff onto the boat and set up our gear. As Capt Badol was away, Zam brought along a young deckie to help him out. Once the deckie had re-fuelled the boat we set off. The game plan was to catch some bait fish nearby a tanker and head over to the fishing location. The water was clear and as we pulled up to tanker we were greeted by Selar and a bunch of Remoras. We started jigging for them with Sabiki and had a difficult time catching them. Different sabikis were used with the same poor catch rate. Morgan, who had taken up position in the front of the boat, single handedly caught half our baitfish on Micro Jig. The rest were caught by the deckie and Lala.
As we drifted along the Tanker, Kenneth had a good hit on jig. It was a pelagic but not a Spanish Mackerel. Up came a Jemuduk or Orange-Spot Trevally (some call it Gold Spot Trevally too.) Once it got up to the surface, i grabbed it by it's tail. It wasn't a monster but it was the first fish and it was a good sign. No further hits on Jig and once we had enough baitfish we headed of to our fishing location.
Capt Zam, told us we would be jigging while drifting. The target species, was the Jemuduk. We were warned that Spanish Mackerel hitting the jig as it dropped was a possibility. The jigs went down and everyone was jigging. I was using a slightly different method than the rest. Once the jig hit the bottom, i used two long strokes followed by two short strokes. By the second repetition, i felt a thud. I set the hook and Fish On! The way it fought, i was pretty confident that i had hit the target species. I took my time to bring the fish up on my Zerek Tamer and Sustain 2500 combo. Zam grabbed it for me and Hi 5s all around. I was using a 60g Surecatch Flasher Jig in Chrome colour. We were interrupted by Kenneth's screaming reel. He was using the fast jigging method. But it was over as soon as it began. He was cut off by a Spanish Mackerel.
Such Nice Colors
Ain't She A Beauty?
That was the cue for Zam. He grabbed my new ATC Mackeral Aggressor Custom rod paired with a Twinpower SW4000PG, tied on a wire rig and sent a live bait out. He had barely put the rod down when it bent into a wicked curve with the reel screaming. Fish On!!! He was all smiles as the fight ensued. He told me he liked the action and the way the rod loaded. I told him that if the fish was above 10kg that he could keep the rod. Morgan and Lala gave him some stick by claiming the fish was 9.9kg. It took Zam a good 8 minutes to subdue the fish. The fish headed straight to the anchor rope as it came boat side. With some quick work from the deckie, they managed to get the fish up and Morgan gaffed it. It was big. Time for the weight test. It weighed a hefty 14lbs but way below the 10kg mark. He smirked and said the next one would beat the 10kg mark. Talk about motivation. He must have really liked the rod.
Captain's 14lb Brute
He re-baited and sent the live bait to entice the next victim. I decided to take a break as i needed to change the battery for my Go-Pro. Morgan had missed a couple on Pintail at the front. While Lala had landed a small Grouper on Jig. The sun was scorching. As i took a drink, i noticed the live bait rod bend ever so slightly and shoot up. The bait fish was panicking. I put down my drink and walked over to the rod with the anticipation that it was going to bend into a curve anytime. I was right. The reel screamed as the line shot out. I grabbed the rod and set the hook. Fish On! This fish was different. It was going down. After a couple of minutes it was under the boat. Still no colour. We were fishing a depth of 40m. It was a strong fish whatever it was. The guessing game began as everyone tried to identify the fish. Cobia, Ebek, Shark were some of the suggestions. But as i saw colour, i was surprised to see a forked tail and as it surfaced, it was a huge male Jemuduk. Why male? Cos big male's have the black markings on them. No one believed me when i told them. Oh Well. It must have weighed a good 5-6kg. It went into the cooler with the other fishes.
Good Action on the ATC M.A.C (Mackeral Aggressor Custom)
Zam re-baited and sent another baitfish out again. But by this time the current had almost come to a standstill. This was bad news as Pelagics are more active when there is a current. With less resistance from the current, the bait fish was able to swim down to the wreck which we were fishing. The rod bent into a gentle curve and then stopped. Zam, took the rod out of the holder and gave it a tug. Whatever was on the other end shot into the wreck and cut the line off.
We tried again. And this time when the rod bent into a gentle curve. I picked the rod up and waited. Slowly i reeled in the slack, i felt the fainted of tugs on the other end and i set the hook. Fish on! I was coming up without much of a fight, so i assumed that it was a small grouper. He put up very little resistance as i reeled him up. Perhaps he was resigned to his fate. He was table sized and off he went into the cooler.
Hong Kong Steam!!!
We switched spots to the unjam (F.A.D) but there was no action there. Even the Todaks, and Barracudas were missing. Zam decided to take us to Tukun Reef to see if we could get any Ebeks. Couple of minutes in, Morgan was on. I went to the front of the boat to help him. The water wasn't too deep so it was not long before we saw colour. It looked like a Chermin. I helped him grab it. We were shocked to see some bite marks on him. He had been bitten by something bigger and survived. End of the line for him i guess. Into the cooler he went. It was almost 5.30pm so we just hung out for a bit and kept our stuff before we headed back. Zam kindly gutted and cut the fish for us. And i was right, the big Jemuduk was indeed a big male. How did we know? Cos Zam showed us the Sperm Sac.
It wasn't a fantastic trip. The bite was affected by the slow and almost non-existent current. I am going up next week for a work trip. I hope we nail a spanish mackerel above 10kg cos the bet still stands between Zam and Me. I don't care if i lose, i just want to see a big fish landed on my rod. :D
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