My First Sailfish in Pekan Pahang Rickey Boat 2009

I was on a boat trip with Clarence in August and the talk of sailfish suddenly came up. I had not caught a sailfish before and listened eagerly. Later upon knowing that i had not have a taste of Sailfish before, Clarence made my day when he told me he will organise a Sailfish trip so i can get a taste of the amazing gamefish...

The days came fast and furious with each passing day being more tormenting than the previous. The itch in my body was building up fast and it waited for nobody. I survived the days leading up to the trip by buying junk jigs and watching sailfish youtube videos.

16 October 2009 - The Drive Up
After chilling out with Alan and the gang, i went on to meet Clarence, Terence and Lenni. We were to drive up to Pekan with Clarence being our driver. Thankfully, there wasn't a big jam at the customs and we sped on to Pekan with speed. We finally arrived at Ricky's place at around 0430 hrs. We setup our gear and hit the sack for 2 hours of sleep.

Front Entrance

17 October 2009 - Day 1: Sailfish Mission

Breakfast and Loading up!
I couldn't really sleep during the 2 hours although i did not sleep on the long drive up. I was awake in my bed and i got up the moment my alarm rang. I went down to make sure my stuff were ready and waited patiently. The adrenaline was already building in me.

After waking Ricky up, we went off to get our breakfast at a nearby stall. I had some very unique nasi lemak wrapped in a banana leaf. The serving was unusually small but the chilli and rice tasted heavenly! They had Chicken, fish, squid and prawn flavour! I had the fried chicken flavour! I wanted additional servings but i reminded myself of Alan's warning of Pekan waters so i stopped at my first serving and popped a seasick pill after my meal.

We made a short drive to the boat berthing area and we loaded our gear up to the boat ourselves. I'm actually so used to having being waited on by deckies that loading the stuff up the boat actually seemed like a chore to me!

It was there that we saw Ah Boy, Ricky's brother and he told us that the yesterday they caught a total of 30 over big Cobias on jigs. He said that he will be bringing his group to Tie Ding Dao (Nail Island) today and try for the Cobias again.

Anyhows, i was pleasantly surprised by the spacious boat. There was enough space for our barang barang while the sides of the boat were extremely wide. This meant we could move around the boat with ease. It was going to be a breeze with only the 4 of us to the boat.

Loading up.

Our first destination was to be the Unjams for baitfish jigging since we are targetting Sailfish. I was keen to try for squids but baitfish jigging was our priority. We were all working hard because there weren't many suitable baitfish around. We threw away the miss wongs but we kept the Kembongs, Seklar and Tua Baks in the live bait well.

Unable to resist it anymore, i clipped on a size 3.5 Squid Jig to my Sabiki instead of the sinker and let sink! I was astonished when the moment my squid jig hit the bottom, there was a familiar tugging... I gave a big lift and the usual suspect came knocking! I had hooked up a squid! It was fairly fun on a light rod and the squid came up soon after. It was the biggest Reef Squid i have ever caught!

Without delay, i released the squid from my jig and tried again. I got another 3 - 4 squids in the similar fashion. By then, the whole crew were imitating me and attaching squid jigs instead of sinkers on their Sabiki. All of us were getting squids in quick succession but the action soon died down. The moment the squids stopped coming up, we noticed that the baitfish returned and we filled up our live bait well with ease.

We had a live bait well full of live fish and we went on to the Sailfish playing grounds...

Feeding Frenzy! Boiling Sighted!
It took forever to get to the Sailfish spot and i was getting nervous. I was using a Decoy Circle Light Gauge 7/0 hook. I have always loved using Decoy hooks as they are strong and have not failed me so far.

Ricky spotted some baitfish action in the distance and we drove ahead of it so that our boat will drift across the boils. There were numerous boils around us and we could even see the sailfish sails cutting through the water. Clarence started his popping while the rest of us lowered our live baits into the water. We were doing it the "Free Willy" style(i.e not using balloons). In the Free Willy style, you must drift the bait out at the right time and length so that there will be little crossing of lines between everyone.

Double Whammy!
Around 20 minutes passed, but there was still no takes on our rods. I began to procrastinate and ask myself whether i would even land one Sailfish... Getting restless, i took out my jigging setup and just jigged to cure myself of the procrastination. Little did i know that after jigging awhile, i was shocked beyong my imagination. On the third jig up, i saw a series of flashes and 2(YES 2!) Sailfishes racing to get to my jig! I was stunned on the spot and continue reeling until my jig was out of the water! Seeing this, the 2 fishes jumped out of the water in an attempt to get my jig. But they missed and went back into the water... Leaving a still astounded me pretty shocked and flabbergasted. I recovered from my shock but i couldnt get the sails to come anymore... After that, there was some action at the back and Lenni was the first to hook up the sail...

First Blood!
By the time i got to the back, there was already a double hookup. Lenni and Terence were both fighting their sails. I was a tad jealous but i cheered them on. Unfortunately, Lenni lost his hookup due to the Sailfish throwing hook but Terence landed his and up came the first sail of the trip!

Meanwhile, Clarence had a few misses at the front of the boat by popping and gave up. He came to the back and baited too. After a few minutes of letting his baitfish go in the water, he had a hookup too and i was the only one without a Sailfish yet! He fought up the fish without any mercy and by now, only me and Lenni were deprived of a photo with the sails.

My First Sail!
After Clarence's Sail, we were now having lots of takes and misses but i finally had my Sail on! The fish took my line out without any thought for me and all i could do for the first few runs was just to hold on to my rod. After some coaxing though, a small Sail was brought of the water and into my lap. The closest words do describe my feeling then - ULTIMATE EUPHORIA! The culmination of weeks of preparation, years of admiration and pangs of jealousy! Although the fish was a little small, i was proud of my achievement and took a momentary rest to relax myself.

Ungam AGAIN!
After that, the guys landed more sails but the sun was coming up fast and very soon, the action died down. Having our fair share of sails, we moved on to the Unjams to get more baitfish for the evening bash. At the Unjam, there were the usual squid but most significantly were the small bulats. I had many small bulats on Sabiki and they are good fun.

Terence used my rod and he wanted to aim Tengerri to he baited out a live fish on steel wire. We all continue with our baitfish jigging but we were dumbfounded when line was speeding out of my overhead setup. Terence took the rod gave a good strike before fighting it in. We were all thinking that Terence finally got his Tengerri dream when the fish started to slow down...

Guess what after 20 minutes we are still fighting the fish. After we passed the rod to Ricky, he confirmed... We had hooked up a Stingray on live bait drifted out meant to target Tengerri! That was amazing for me as i always thought Stingray were bottom feeders. Noone wanted to take over fighting the Stingray and thankfully after sometime, the mainline burst and the fish was lost... All of us got our fair share of sails earlier in the day and a Stingray fight wasn't appealing...Hehe...

After filling up our live well, we headed back to the Sailfish grounds during the late afternoon.

The Best EVENING ever!
As usual, we fished just beside a feeding frenzy which consisted of seagulls. That was we are caught by the sheer amount of Sailfish around us. They were almost everywhere and we had a few takes in quick succession. All of us managed to fight more sailfishes.

I managed to burst one very big sailfish when it decided to take me out for a ride in its first run. It made a series of leaps and jumps after its first run and my leader snapped!

After some more trying, i landed my first big Sailfish. A big bad blue brown daddy... This one took me for a ride out and did not even jump once. It would have spooled me if not for its sudden turn of direction towards the boat. Pity that the picture doesn't do justice. The fish was just too long and the could not take the fishe's tail! It was definitely heavier this one...

I only managed to land one more Sail after that and it was time for us to head back to land as the rain clouds were gathering.

I was already grinning from ear to ear when we arrived back at the jetty and i smiled at everyone i saw! How a good fishing trip improves my mood! We went back to our rooms and had a good warm bath before making our way to the famous Sri Pekan Restaurant for our dinner. On the menu was the Nonya Style Leatherjackets and Calamari...Courtesy of our catches!

Awesome food!

We opened a few bottles of beer and had a good laugh over our catches that day. It was Clarence with 3 sails, Terence with 3, Lenni with 4 and myself with 3. We all agreed that the next day we would be targetting parrotfish instead of Sails as we had already cured the itch within us.

18 October 2009 - Day 2: Parrots N Squids
Wanton Mee
After a very relaxing sleep, all of us managed to wake up in the morning without a hiccup. For breakfast, we made our way to the wanton mee stall. I was skeptical of the wanton mee at first but everything went away when i had my first try of it. The traditional garlic green chilli paste that went with the wanton mee was simply wonderful! We even saw that Kozo guy from AO having breakfast there. He is going fishing too.

We met with Ricky at his boat. He had bought for us some dead prawns for parrot hunting today as there's not enough time to get crabs.

I tried jigging at the Unjam and jigged up a few barracudas... As a result, i lost a few jigs to the toothy predators. There didn't seem to be many fish when the cudas around. I managed to jig up one leather jacket as well. That was amusing because we all thought i had jigged onto a sizable grouper but up came a leather jacket foul hooked on the body!


At most of the spots, we brought up some table sizes groupers, snappers and squids but at one of the spot, Ricky managed to bring up a good sized parrot. I saw him fight the fish i also scared... He moment he hooked up the fish the way he "Zhang" up the fish i have nothing to say. The parrot didnt have much chance. Hehehe...

Moments after that, Clarence got bullied by a parrot when he had just parked his bait at the bottom and was putting the rod in the holder, his Jigging master rod bent and he couldnt react in time. Line peeled from his Stella and after a few seconds... "PIAK". The leader was cut off by some abrasion from the rocks. The way the parrot ran after it got hooked, i also have nothing to say... Clarence didn't have much chance.

We tried for parrots awhile more but they were not around anymore and Ricky brought us to the squid spot near a very big Unjam. There were many bait fish there and we had fun playing the baitfish but when the baitfish suddenly got little, we got our squid jigs and lo and beold... It was one drop one kill for the squids i even got my giant arrowhead there! Some of them got double hooksup of big reef squid on apollo style rigs.


Sad catches..


Halfway through the day at around 1pm, Lenni realised that his light tackle was not with him so Ricky called his kakis at the boat berthing area to check if Lenni's tackle was still there. After some worrying moments, we finally got an answer and an even bigger suprise... Lenni's Certate reel and Xzoga rod were indeed there BUT there was another set of rod and reel which the people there thought was an Avet reel... That was when Clarence gave an "OH!"... Upon checking the rods at the rod rack on the top of the boat, everyone realised that Clarence had left his Accurate reel and Lamiglass rod at the boating area too!

Thankfully, Ricky's kaki collected the rods that were left there for us. We are surprised that nobody went to tapao our rods home...

We got back to the berthing area and said thanks to the kakis who kept the rods for us and had a nice drink there. After that we headed back to the restaurant to have our steamed parrot fish... Yummy!

After having our satisfying baths and packing up, we left Pekan and as we drove back to Singapore, the memories of such a memorable trip flooded the car. The pain, the laughs and the excitement... As far is I'm concerned, this memory will stay forever with me.

The End!


Niclair Yap said…
Very nice CR on the Pekan trip. I was there twice in the last 3 months. Share the same euphuria with you on the first trip (sailfish galores) but not the second. Maybe I should try Ricky's boat next time!
Nigel said…
Thanks Niclair. Yup Ricky is a nice chap and i quite like his boat. I find the seat placings extremely comfortable whether fighting a fish or leaning against the boat when jigging! :D Cheers!

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