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Fishing in the middle of nowhere


GT or giant trevally is one of the sought-after species at Pulau Perak. Some of the fish caught here weigh as heavy as 30kg.

GT or giant trevally is one of the sought-after species at Pulau Perak. Some of the fish caught here weigh as heavy as 30kg.

PULAU Perak, an island located near the boundary between Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, is an angler’s paradise.

Since the north-east monsoon season started in October, the sea around this little rocky island had been teeming with fish.

During this season, which would last until the end of March, those who go for fishing at this island would return with a good catch of various type of fishes.

Pulau Perak, a remote outpost guarded by our Royal Malaysian Navy special operations force, has always been used by fishermen as shelter during storms.

There are several fishing operators from Penang, Kedah and Perlis that take anglers to this island. The popular trip to Pulau Perak is normally a three-day-two-night outing.

One of the operators providing this service is KKN Sea Hunt, which operates from Penang.

KKN Sea Hunt owner Pak Ku (centre) with two others anglers showing off their catch from Pulau Perak recently.
KKN Sea Hunt owner Pak Ku (centre) with two others anglers showing off their catch from Pulau Perak recently.

It is not cheap to go to this island. A charter boat can cost anything between RM7,000 to RM8,500, depending on the size of the boat and number of people it could accommodate.

The maximum number of people that can be fitted into a boat is normally 10.

The journey from Penang island to Pulau Perak takes approximately 10 hours while the travelling time from Kuala Perlis to Pulau Perak is eight hours.

The island is teeming with fish because of its geographical features.

The meeting of the two currents – from the Straits of Malacca and the Andaman Sea – and the rocky terrain around the island attracts pelagic and smaller fish.

With the presence of these small fish, as part of the fish food chain, larger ones such as amberjack, Spanish mackerel, tuna, cobia, mangrove jack, golden snapper, jobfish, dogtooth, wahoo and giant trevally also congregate around the island.

Kkn Sea Hunt is one of the few boats that takes anglers to Pulau Perak.
KKN Sea Hunt is one of the few boats that takes anglers to Pulau Perak.

For hardcore and big game anglers, the giant trevally would be at the top of the list followed by wahoo, tuna and Spanish mackerel.

These types are considered to be tough fighters and could provide a good run and fight, especially the bigger ones.

There are a few methods to catch these fish. One can jig, do bottom fishing or use the casting method.

But the two most popular ways are jigging and casting. These methods provide plenty of excitement and challenges for the anglers.

For jigging, metal jigs and spoons are normally used while casting sees anglers on lures and poppers.

While bait fish such as kembong, sardine and selar could be used to catch the fish using the bottom or drifting methods, these styles are normally preferred at night or when fishing in the coral reef areas.

Expensive coral trout, one of the most sought-after table fish, can also be found in Pulau Perak.
Expensive coral trout, one of the most sought-after table fish, can also be found in Pulau Perak.

Knowing the tide timing is also very important when going out to Pulau Perak as it determines the size of the fish that would be available and the equipment needed.

The trip to Pulau Perak requires heavy gear as the currents around the island are generally strong and swift.

Fishing at this place is between 50m and 100m deep. It is always recommended that one fits the reel with at least between 200m and 300m of line to fight with the many bigger species found here.

This would minimise any chance of the line snapping when the fish makes its run.

I would recommend a lightweight graphite seven-foot rod with a PE 6-10 rating for those who are using the casting or jigging method to catch fish.

The giant trevally can put up a strong fight and outrun the line spooled to the reel.
The giant trevally can put up a strong fight and outrun the line spooled to the reel.

A 4,500 series-spinning reel loaded with 50lb to 70lb line would be ideal to complement the set-up.

Live bait would be good for those who preferred bottom fishing. It can be easily obtained by jigging for the school of smaller fish found around the island.

Pulau Perak is a must-visit fishing spot for any angler. It is not just the excitement, preparation and anticipation to get to the destination but also the unknown challenges that await anglers there.

Happy fishing!

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