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Thursday January 12, 2012

Lure of the Sebarau

THE rainy season has brought much chaos and misery to most parts of the country but it has been a delight to hardcore anglers who were fishing for the Sebarau.

The Sebarau, which can grow up to more than 12kg, is one of the most popular local fresh water carps that brings much thrill and excitement to anglers who love the kick they get in wrestling to land the fish.

But the sizes of today’s catches mainly averages between 500g to slightly under 2kg.

The number of Sebarau caught in an outing over the years has dwindled.

Anything beyond 2kg would be rare these days and a bonus to the angler.

Perfect casting: Fishing at Air Ganda, Perak, one of the popular Sebarau fishing spots. —Picture by Dr Kelvin Khaw

Sebarau is a great sportsfish. In general, it is aggressive and hunts in schools.

Popularly referred to as Malaysian Jungle Perch, this carnivore specie is attracted to lures.

The best way to catch the fish is by using fast retrieve lures and fight them on a light tackle.

My recommended choice is either a medium or fast action rod, between 4lb and 6lb, and fitted to a small reel (the 2000 series) for spinning, and with 10 or 15lb line.

I prefer to use the breaded line, compared with monofilament as it gives me the strength on a lighter poundage and more line in the spool into the reel.

With its darting speed, power and fighting prowess, the Sebarau gives a good adrenaline rush for those who seek a good fight.

It is interesting to note that Sebarau has powerful jaw.

It also has a tough and leathery mouth that covers most part of its jaws. However, this species is toothless and swallows its food.

Over the years, I have seen many big Sebarau crush the hooks and lures on a single strike. The experience in getting this kind of strike on a lure, which is not an every day affair, can be an awesome experience to remember for a long time.

As such, the angler is always recommended to use stronger tackle like snaps, swivel and split ring to secure their lures.

I prefer to use a stronger, soft but flexible fluorocarbon fishing line is that is transparent to give the added advantage to secure my lure on such outings. Fluorocarbon boasts excellent knot strength and abrasion resistance.

To get a distance in casting the lures out, especially when a fisho is in the open or on a boat in the middle of nowhere, a longer rod, anything more than six feet, will come in handy.

The best time to fish Sebarau is at dawn and dusk.

Prized catch: Cikgu Dollah and the 2.8kg Sebarau landed at Air Ganda in Perak. —Picture by Dr Kelvin Khaw

This is the time when they come out to hunt for food. They are active and would normally play near submerged logs, overhanging trees and weedy banks.

The splashing sound of Sebarau catching the fish would give an angler the sight and rough estimation on where to cast for the fish.

While Sebarau can be found all year round, the best time to fish them is during the monsoon and wet season, from November to the end of March.

This period has also been known to be Sebarau spawning time.

With the abundance of food being washed by the rain from the upper stream, it is crucial time for the Sebarau to mate.

This species can be found in many places in the country but the popular destinations are Pergau Dam, Kenyir Lake, Temenggor Dam, Cenderoh Lake, Bukit Merah Lake, Air Ganda Lake, Belum Forest, Kuala Tahan and the Endau-Rompin National Park.

I have a fair share of the excitements over the years in fighting Sebarau with my buddies at these places. Personally, Kenyir, Temenggor, Air Ganda and Belum are top of my list when fishing for Sebarau.

I found that my chances of hooking up these fish are much higher and productive in these areas. And perhaps, luck, too play a big role in this.

In one of my outings with Cikgu Dollah and Dr Kelvin Khaw a.k.a Firetiger to Air Ganda, we were surprised by the catch.

Using the six-feet 4-6lb rod, which was handmade by the doctor in his free time, Dollah managed to pull out a 2.8kg of Sebarau with a 7.5g lure.

You should see the excitement on Dollah’s face after he flipped his lure for the second time on the 10lb breaded line when the tiny reel baitcaster attached to his rod screamed as the fish makes a dash with the artificial lure.

Using the well balanced rod that was fitted with nine guides, it left Dollah in a frantic mood and took 15 minutes to fight the big fish out.

But I guess, to a certain extent, luck too play a big role in Dollah’s success. It was Firetiger who spotted the Sebarau some 12m from the boat and casted twice. On both occasions, the fish just refused to attack the lure.

Then came Dollah’s turn and on the second throw, as the lure landed on the water, the Sebarau snapped the artificial bait to make a quick dash.

After posing with his trophy, the Sebarau was released back into the water and we hope the next angler who succeeds in catching the fish the next time would do the same.

It is important to practice the catch and release method, especially on the bigger species and during their spawning period, to ensure the fish continues to breed or otherwise it would guarantee to disappear from our waters.

Happy fishing!

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