Man vs fish: Fishing for tenggiri can be fun and challenging


There are many fishing boats to take anglers out to sea to fish for tenggiri in the northern states.

Local fishing enthusiasts are irresistibly drawn to the thrilling pursuit of Spanish mackerel, also known as tenggiri, especially along the west coast during this season.

This exhilarating fishing experience has evolved into a dedicated sport, casting anglers against the remarkable might of this pelagic species.

The quest for tenggiri encapsulates the thrill of the catch, the challenge it presents, and the profound connection with the sea.

The coastal waters off Kedah and Perlis offer an abundance of idyllic locales for this sport, transforming it into a treasured pastime cherished by the local angling community.

With the waves slightly rippling, the seas create a perfect milieu for anglers pursuing the heart-pounding tug-of-war characterising tenggiri fishing.

At the core of this endeavour lies the ingeniously designed tukun and unjam – fish-aggregating mechanisms that take centrestage in the chase.

Spanish mackerel or tenggiri can also be caught using live bait, aside from lures and trolling methods.Spanish mackerel or tenggiri can also be caught using live bait, aside from lures and trolling methods.

The tukun consists of artificial reefs anchored with coconut leaves tethered to bamboo poles, enticing smaller fish species to serve as prime prey.

As apex predators, the tenggiri trail these fish schools, establishing a captivating interplay between predator and prey.

These conditions lay the foundation for an adrenaline-infused encounter.

Tenggiri found near the tukun and unjam range between 1.5kg and 12kg each.

Other pelagic fish like tambun, kembong, selar, cencaru (torpedo scad), dorado, giant trevally, talang (queen fish), jenahak (golden snapper), grouper, and gerut-gerut (silver grunter) also thrive in abundance at these sites to find food.

The locally made duck feather jig commonly used by fishermen in the northern states.The locally made duck feather jig commonly used by fishermen in the northern states.

While angling for tenggiri promises exhilaration, it requires a dash of finesse.

Various techniques lend themselves to this endeavour, each presenting its own unique challenges.

Take trolling, a favourite method, where lures or bait are trailed behind a moving vessel.

The lures’ vivid hues and intricate designs artfully replicate the appearance of smaller fish, luring the Spanish mackerel with precision.

On the flip side, jigging requires using a metal jig that’s swiftly moved up and down to imitate the movement of wounded baitfish.

This technique shines around underwater structures and drop-offs, favouring lurking spots for tenggiri.

The encounter between an angler and a tenggiri is a true duel.

The fish’s sheer speed and power, and the angler’s finesse and fishing techniques create a riveting contest.

The battle often proves relentless as the tenggiri deploys its full might to elude capture. Triumph demands precise technique, unyielding stamina, and unwavering patience.

The slightly rough sea would be good for tenggiri fishing.The slightly rough sea would be good for tenggiri fishing.

For those aiming to catch tenggiri in these northern states, the locally produced duck feather jig tied to a small torpedo-shaped sinker and hook is recommended.

This distinctive jig boasts an effective swimming action, but it requires skilful retrieval in an intermittent fast-stop motion to imitate fish movement.

A medium-action rod with a lightweight setup proves optimal, paired with a 2000 or 3000 series reel and a 25- or 30-pound monofilament line.

Given tenggiri’s razor-edged teeth, capable of shearing fishing lines, using a short-wire leader becomes indispensable.

The angling experience in Malaysia’s northern states offers a stimulating and rewarding sport to engage in.

Fishing for tenggiri can be fun and challenging.Fishing for tenggiri can be fun and challenging.

For adventurers seeking a blend of skill, nature, and pure exhilaration, the sea here promises an unforgettable angling journey.

Crucially, responsible angling during such trips is paramount.

Just as in any fishing activity, conservation plays a pivotal role.

Adhering to fishing regulations and respecting catch limits are imperative. Embracing catch-and-release practices, especially for larger tenggiri, contributes to preserving fish populations.

Tight lines and happy fishing!

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