Planning for this trip started way back in May 2007, thru one of the postings in the Malaysian Fishing Network (MFN). After many moons of e-mailing, smsing, phone calls and instant messaging, the trip finally materialized on 31 August 2007.
On 30th August, all the team members who would be traveling from KL met up at Ktang's place. We were supposed to meet up at 8.00 pm, and leave by 8.30 pm. Being typical Malaysians, we left KL at 10.30 pm.
Since it would be a long weekend, we decided to use the coastal road to Teluk Intan. The journey was uneventful. Traffic was not too heavy but there were about 5 police roadblocks.
We arrived at Teluk Intan at about 2.00 am. We made our way to the hostel that we would be putting the night. Kevin, who was from Penang was already at the hostel, sleeping. I think the amount of noise we made upon arriving woke him up. After a quick hello and introducing ourselves, we proceeded to a mamak which was across the road for out midnight teh tarik and talk cock sing song session.
After supper, we got back to the hostel and some of us did some last minute check on the tackle and did some quick knot tying.
The next day (31 August 2007) we all woke up at about 7.30 am. After having our shower, we left the hostel for breakfast. After breakfast, we then proceeded to the jetty in Hutan Melintang. Upon reaching the jetty, we quickly unloaded our stuff and boarded the boat.
The first impression that I got when I was on the boat was that it was quite spacious. There walking space is not to narrow and there is adequate place for you to hold on while walking on the boat. There is a toilet on board and a small kitchen as well. There are two sleeping area on the boat. One in front, which can take 4 people and one at the back which can take 5 people.
As we were heading out to the sea, we noticed that the waves were quite high and the winds were quite strong. We all thought that this was normal. How wrong we were. As we were headed to the first spot, we saw some floating debris in the sea. It was a tree trunk. Usually, this kind of debris is a favorite hangout for Tripletail fish also known as Pecah Periuk in malay. Ktang started to cast towards the debris with his Halco lure. I tried to cast a slice of kembung towards the debris. After a few cast, Ktang got a hit on his Halco. After a brief fight, a handsome 3.2 kg tripletail was gaffed and landed.
Once the debris was too far away for casting, we headed out to our first spot. Along the way, we all prepared our jigging setup. The current was quite strong, and the jig that we used ranged from 250 gram to 350 gram. When we arrived at the spot, we wasted no time and started to jig. The rocking motion of the boat, compounded with the heavy jigs that we were using, made it quite a challenge for us to jig. We didn't last long at that place. The sea was very unfriendly. We had difficulties to stand.
Since jigging was nearly impossible, we proceeded to a different spot to do some bottom fishing. We were using size 24 - 32 sinker. Even with such large weights, the bait took sometime before hitting bottom. The current was very very strong. We started doing bottom fishing at about 3.00 pm and we were fishing till about 6.00 pm. Around that time, the boatman decided to move. The next spot would take quite sometime to reach, so we had our dinner at that time.
When we reached the new spot, Ah Lek, who was on standby at the front of the boat, wasted no time quickly dropped his bait into the sea. After a short time. He got a strike.. Maybe our luck has started to change. This could be the moment that we were all waiting for. Ah Lek was having a ball of a time fighting the fish and bringing the fish up. Suddenly, the most dreaded thing happened. His leader broke. Disappointment was clearly written on his face.
After seeing Ah Lek's brief fight with his fish, we were all pumped up. All of us quickly rigged our bottom setup and started to anticipate for any bite that would come. About 1 hour later, I got a strike. The fish gave very little resistance. As I was reeling my line in, the strain of pulling in a heavy sinker was starting to show... It was bloody heavy. When the fish surfaced, I couldn't help laughing. The weight of the fish was much lighter than the weight of the sinker. The fish that I caught is what the locals call yu bodoh. Not sure what they call it in english.
The sea was getting a bit rougher at that time. So of us had already retired for the night. I was still fishing from the front of the boat. I had just rigged my bait and placed it in the water. As I was watching my rod, the tiredness from all the traveling and fishing started to get the better of me. With my bait still in the water, I took a short nap in front of the boat. The clicker on my reel was on, so that I could hear if any fish was taking my bait. I think I must have dozed off for about 1 hour. When I woke up, no one else was fishing. They had all gone to sleep. Kenny, Adrian, Kevin and Alex was at the back of the boat, playing with a deck of cards while waiting for the fish to bite. I then decided to reel in my line and to check on the bait. I was feeling kinda sleepy as well. So I decided to call it a day. As I was reeling in my line, I felt something heavy on the other end of my line. It did give some resistance as it was coming up. I was thinking that I had another yu bodoh on my line. Imagine my surprise when the fish surfaced, it was a Golden Snapper (Jenahak in malay or Ang Cho in chinese). Must be my lucky day. I quickly called the guys from the back of the boat to show my fish. I was a happy man that night. This was my first Golden Snapper. I weight it, and it weighed 2 kg.
After that, the guys who were initially sleeping at the back, decided to change their bait and hope for something to bite. Sadly, no action was registered from any of them. It was around this time that I decided to take a nap to replenish the energy lost. Hopefully the next day would be a more fruitful day for all of us.
The second day (1 September 2007) of fishing was not any better from the first. I woke up at about 7.00 am and was told by Ktang that they only had 1 fish while I was asleep. Kevin had a Golden Snapper, around 6.00am. The fish weighed in at approximately 1.5 kg.
The whole day was spent moving around from one spot to another. We tried to do various kind of fishing with no positive result. The trip was starting to turn into a nightmare. The water condition was getting choppier, with higher waves and stronger winds. Fishing was becoming more difficult.
Despite all this, KK Ho got a strike on his rod. As he was reeling in his line, she felt something heavy. KK Ho thought that he had gotten stuck onto something. He finally managed to gain some line, and when the leader surfaced, he was surprised to see a small Golden Snapper on the other end of the line. It was a small Golden Snapper, weighing about 800 grams.
We moved spot quite a number of time. All the spot gave us nothing. We did ask the boatman to take us to the GT spot and he obliged. About 15 minutes into the journey, the boatman stopped and told us that he would not be going to the GT spot. The sea was getting rougher and the winds were picking up. We had no choice but to turn back and go to other spots.
In the evening, while we were at a spot known for its Gelama, we had a short discussion among us. We were contemplating going back to shore as the catch was very bad. We all decided to head back to shore and made our decision known to the boatman. The boatman said that he still had another spot to take us. It was a Grouper spot. We all figured out we had nothing to lose, and decided to go ahead with the the boatman's recommendation.
When we reached the Grouper spot, we wasted no time and quickly placed our bait in the water. Sadly, the same thing happened. No bites whatsoever. That night, the winds picked up again, and in the middle of the night, we were hit by a thunderstorm. The waves were like crazy and the boat was rocking madly. Thank God nothing bad happen.
The next day (2 September 2007) nothing much happened. We left the spot at about 7.30am and headed back to shore. Along the way, the boatman received reports on his radio that the waves was now at 3m height. Luckily we were on out way back.
Upon reaching shore, we went for some breakfast and reflected on the trip. I personally feel that the trip was a good trip. I got the chance to meet up with many people that I had known only thru e-mails and MFN. There were a good company to be with. I will definitely fish with them again in the near future. As for the catch, we did everything in our mean to have a great time, but the weather was not on our side. Weather and sea conditions are beyond the control of us mere mortals.
To the Merdeka Fishing Team, it was great fishing with you guys. If I had knowingly or unknowingly said or did anything to harm your feeling, please accept my sincere apologies.